This Day in History – 11 Cheshvan/November 4

In 5046/1285, 180 Jews were killed in Munich Germany. Hy”d.


2317/1445 B.C.E., Binyamin, son of Yaakov Avinu

5453/1692, Harav Moshe, zt”l, Rav of Kratishin, son of the Shach

5558/1787, Harav Menachem Nachum Twersky, zy”a, the Meor Einayim of Chernobyl

5644/1883, Harav Avraham Weinberg of Slonim, zt”l, the Yesod Haavodah

5696/1935, Harav Yehudah Leib Chasman, zt”l, Mashgiach of Slabodka and Chevron Yeshivos


5700/1939, Harav Pesach Pruskin, zt”l, Rav and Rosh Yeshivah in Kobrin

Harav Pesach Pruskin was born in 5639/1879 and named after his father, who had passed away several months earlier.

A chain of Providential events kept young Pesach in a Torah environment. When he was born, his mother was without any means of support. She took her five children to the home of her grandfather, Rav Pinchas Michael, Rav in Antipole, where they lived in abject poverty.

Young Pesach continued learning, despite hunger and poverty. In his teens he joined the Chofetz Chaim’s yeshivah in Radin, and from there he went to Slabodka, where he was inspired by the mussar of the Alter, Harav Nosson Tzvi Finkel.

A group of Slabodka talmidim once decided to visit the famed yeshivah in Kelm for Elul. No one was ever accepted to Kelm without prior permission, and so these boys were ordered to go back to Slabodka. But not Pesach Kobriner! With tears in his eyes, he begged the Alter of Kelm, Harav Simchah Zissel Ziv, “I’m asking permission now. Please allow me to stay!” He alone remained — for over a year.

The Alter of Slabodka, constantly searching for suitable cities in which to establish yeshivos, selected Slutsk, a large city in White Russia, for his next undertaking. He dispatched Harav Isser Zalman Meltzer to be Rosh Yeshivah and 14 talmidim — among them Pesach Kobriner.

After his marriage to Tziporah Lipschutz, Reb Pesach earned his living as a night watchman in an orchard. The job afforded him opportunity for study and solitude, and he used it to complete Rambam’s Moreh Nevuchim.

During this period, Reb Isser Zalman invited him to return to Slutsk as Mashgiach of the yeshivah. At first, he refused. Then one of his children became critically ill. Reb Pesach made a vow that if the child would live, he would take the post and dedicate his life to Torah. The child recovered and he kept his vow, accepting the position.

In Slutsk, Reb Pesach experienced a breakthrough in his Torah study. He began to expound on difficulties in Shas with new depth and clarity. As time went on, he amassed a great amount of knowledge.

Eventually, a group of talmidim from Slutsk went, at the behest of the Alter of Slobadka, to found a yeshivah in Shklov, among them Reb Pesach and the son of the Rav of Strobin, Moshe Strobiner, Harav Moshe Feinstein, zt”l.

In 1939, the Red Army marched into Poland. Upon occupying Kobrin, they closed the yeshivah and the Bais Yaakov. Reb Pesach could not bear the pain of this twin tragedy, and on 11 Cheshvan, 5700/1939, at the age of 60, his heart stopped beating.

His son, Rav Avraham Pruskin, escaped to America with some of his father’s written shiurim, which were later published by Reb Pesach’s grandson, Rabbi Nosson Zuchovski of Bnei Brak, as Shiurei Maran Rav Pesach MiKobrin.

Zecher tzaddik livrachah.


Nov. 4

In 1924, Nellie T. Ross of Wyoming was elected the nation’s first female governor to serve out the remaining term of her late husband, William B. Ross.

In 1939, the United States modified its neutrality stance in World War II, allowing “cash and carry” purchases of arms by belligerents, a policy favoring Britain and France.

In 1942, during World War II, Axis forces retreated from El Alamein in North Africa in a major victory for British forces commanded by Lt. Gen. Bernard Montgomery.

In 1952, The highly secretive National Security Agency came into existence.

In 1979, the Iran hostage crisis began, as terrorists stormed the United States Embassy in Tehran, seizing its occupants; for some, it was the start of 444 days of captivity.

In 1980, Republican Ronald Reagan won the White House as he defeated President Jimmy Carter.

In 2008, Democrat Barack Obama was elected the first black president of the United States, defeating Republican John McCain.