This Day In History 11 Av/August 3

In 5024/1264, anti-Jewish riots erupted in Arnstadt, Germany.

In 5120/1360, anti-Jewish riots erupted in Breslau (now Wroclaw), Poland; many were killed, Hy”d, and the rest were expelled.

In 5493/1733, commemorating the defeat of the Persian army, the Jews of Baghdad established a Purim.

In 5508/1748, Empress Maria Theresa revoked the Edict of Expulsion of Bohemian Jews.

In 5556/1796, the Common Council of New York City revoked the license of a non-Jewish butcher for affixing kashrus seals to non-kosher meat.

In 5708/1948, Arab forces blew up the Latrun pumping station, cutting off Yerushalayim’s water supply.


5624/1864, Harav Hillel of Paritch, zt”l, mechaber of Pelach Harimon

5702/1942, Harav Aharon Perlow, zy”a, the Stoliner-Warsaw Rebbe, Hy”d

5667/1907, Harav Yitzchak Blazer (Peterburger), zt”l

Harav Yitzchak Blazer was born in Shnipshok, near Vilna, on Rosh Chodesh Adar 5597/1837. His father was Harav Shlomo. When he was just 14, his father published the child prodigy’s kuntres of chiddushim.

After his marriage at 15, Reb Yitzchak moved to Kovno. He learned in the beis medrash of Harav Yisrael Salanter.

At 25, by the order of Reb Yisrael, Reb Itzele, as he was fondly known, was appointed Rav of Petersburg, a position he held for 16 years. He is known by the name of that city.

Subsequently, he returned to Kovno. Reb Yisrael Salanter had established a kollel there in 5636/1876 to produce Rabbanim and Dayanim by supporting and guiding exceptional talmidei chachamim. The project received the blessing and support of Harav Yitzchak Elchanan Spector, Rav of Kovno. It was joined by such luminaries as Harav Naftali Hertz (later Chief Rabbi of Yaffo), Harav Naftali Amsterdam, Harav Chaim (Telzer) Rabinowitz, and Harav Yosef Yoizel Horwitz, the “Alter of Novardok,” among others.

The kollel was eventually named Kollel Knesses Bais Yitzchak, in memory of Rav Yitzchak Elchanan.

The true glory of the kollel was realized under the leadership of Reb Yitzchak Blazer, whose rousing lectures were the kollel’s life-force.

As one of the leading and most famous talmidim of Reb Yisrael Salanter, founder of the Mussar movement, it was to be expected that, after Reb Yisrael’s petirah, Reb Yitzchak became his successor.

Reb Yitzchak spent the last few years of his life in Yerushalayim, where Harav Shmuel Salant requested his help with community affairs.

Reb Yitzchak was niftar on 11 Av 5667/1907 at 70 and was buried on Har Hazeisim.

Harav Chaim Berlin related that Reb Yitzchak left a request that no hespeidim be delivered for him. Rav Chaim Berlin asked Harav Shmuel Salant if they were required to abide by the humble last wishes of Reb Yitzchak Blazer, since it would be meritorious to be maspid a person of his stature. Rav Shmuel Salant ruled that indeed they were obligated to heed his final wishes. A few days after his petirah, Rav Chaim Berlin related that Reb Itzele came to him in a dream and thanked him for honoring his request.

Rav Chaim then asked Reb Itzele what issues of Halachah the Beis Din shel Maalah is stringent about. Reb Itzele told him that a human being cannot fathom the depth and detail of the Heavenly judgment. They were particularly exacting on the purity of a person’s speech. This, coming from a person who had mastered the art of silence!

Zecher tzaddik livrachah.

August 3

In 1492, Christopher Columbus set sail from Palos, Spain, on a voyage that took him to the present-day Americas.

In 1958, the nuclear-powered submarine USS Nautilus became the first vessel to cross the North Pole underwater.

In 1972, the U.S. Senate ratified the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty between the United States and the Soviet Union. (The U.S. unilaterally withdrew from the treaty in 2002.)

In 1981, U.S. air traffic controllers went on strike, despite a warning from President Reagan they would be fired, which they were.