This Day in History – 11 Elul/August 22

Knesses Yisrael, containing divrei Torah of Harav Avraham Yaakov of Sadigura, zt”l.

In 5302/1542, Harav Yosef Karo finished his Beis Yosef on the Tur in the city of Tzfas.


Yahrtzeiten

5500/1740, Harav Aharon Zelig of Zolkova, zt”l, author of Amudei Sheish

5611/1851 Harav Shalom Yosef Friedman, zy”a, son of Harav Yisrael of Ruzhin

5651/1891, Harav Zev Wolf Landau, Rebbe of Strikov, zy”a.


5643/1883, Harav Avraham Yaakov Friedman, Rebbe of Sadigura, Zy”a

Harav Avraham Yaakov was born on 20 Cheshvan 5580/1820 to Harav Yisrael, zy”a, the holy tzaddik of Ruzhin.

When Harav Avraham Yaakov became bar mitzvah, he married Rebbetzin Miriam, the daughter of Harav Aharon, zy”a, the Beis Aharon of Karlin.

Harav Yisrael of Ruzhin was niftar in Potok on 3 Cheshvan 5611/1851, and his six sons, including Harav Avraham Yaakov, continued leading their father’s myriad Chassidim together. That year, on 11 Elul (today), the oldest son of the Ruzhiner, Harav Shalom Yosef, passed away.

Harav Avraham Yaakov was then called to lead a flock in Sadigura, where his father, Harav Yisrael, had previously resided. In Sadigura he established a beis medrash to which thousands flocked. Rav Avraham Yaakov exercised immense influence on all aspects of Jewish life throughout Russia, Galicia and Poland. The town of Sadigura became the unofficial capital of European Jewry, where hundreds of thousands turned for their every need.

Not long after he became Rebbe, Rav Avraham Yaakov was imprisoned by the Austrian authorities in the notorious dungeons of Chernovitz. When the Ruzhiner was niftar the Russians had been confident that they had seen the end of Beis Ruzhin. Thus, when they realized that the Ruzhiner’s successor was proving himself both competent and beloved, they were furious and ready to do anything to get rid of him. So when the opportunity presented itself they grabbed it with both hands.

A Jewish forger of Russian banknotes was apprehended by the police. In his possession they found a letter from the Rebbe blessing him in all his endeavors. Grasping this “golden opportunity,” the local maskilim got involved and testified that the Rebbe was the forger’s partner.

The Rebbe spent 15 excruciating months in a cell, some of them in solitary confinement, and was finally released with the help of many shtadlanim, among them Sir Moshe Montefiore.

After the Rebbe’s release he was ill for a while, but b’rachamei Shamayim he regained his strength and the Chassidus continued thriving under his stellar leadership.

During the last year of his life, 5643/1883, he often hinted that his petirah was drawing near. He became ill during Shabbos Nachamu, but remained clear-headed until the last night of his life, when he davened his last Maariv. He was niftar at midnight on 11 Elul.

Harav Avraham Yaakov’s divrei Torah are scattered in many places, among them Knesses Yisrael, Irin Kaddishin and others. They were collected and printed in Ner Yisrael.

Zechuso yagen aleinu.


August 22

In 1775, Britain’s King George III proclaimed the American colonies in a state of open rebellion.

In 1787, inventor John Fitch demonstrated his steamboat on the Delaware River to delegates from the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia.

In 1846, the United States annexed New Mexico.

In 1902, President Theodore Roosevelt became the first U.S. chief executive to ride in an automobile, in Hartford, Conn.

In 1910, Japan annexed Korea, which remained under Japanese control until the end of World War II.