This Day in History – 11 Iyar/April 26

The shaar blatt of Ayala Shelucha.

11 Iyar

In 5270/1510, 1,500 sefarim and manuscripts were seized in Frankfort, Germany.

In 5708/1948, the Syrian army, which had advanced to Deganya, was miraculously halted and repulsed.

Yahrtzeiten

5592/1832, Harav Yitzchak, Rebbe of Radvill, zy”a, son of Harav Yechiel Mechel, the Zlotochover Maggid

5604/1844, Harav Yehuda Tzvi Brandwein, Rebbe of Stretin, zt”l


5587/1827

Harav Naftali Tzvi Horowitz, Rebbe of Ropshitz, Zy”a

On the day that the Baal Shem Tov was nistalek, the first day of Shavuos 5520/1760, a son was born to Reb Menachem Mendel of Linsk and Rebbetzin Baila, daughter of Harav Yitzchok Horowitz, known as Reb Itzikel Hamburger, zt”l. He was named Naftali Tzvi. Reb Naftali studied in the yeshivah of his uncle, Reb Meshulam Igra, zt”l.

For his initial donning of tefillin his father took him to Harav Yechiel Mechel of Zlotchov, zy”a. Later, Reb Naftali would relate that as Rav Yechiel Mechel fitted the tefillin, he connected him to a higher spiritual world from which he never detached himself.

Rav Naftali married the daughter of Harav Velvel Stoker, a prominent nagid in Brod.

When Rav Naftali was about 20 years old he traveled to Lizhensk to visit the Rebbe Harav Elimelech, zy”a. Rav Elimelech, however, would not receive him, stating that he was not interested in talmidim with yichus; he relented only after intense pleading by Rav Naftali, who quickly became Rav Elimelech’s dedicated disciple.

After the latter’s petirah he followed the Chozeh of Lublin, the Maggid of Kozhnitz and Harav Menachem Mendel of Rimanov, zechusam yagein aleinu.

Eventually, Rav Naftali became the Rav of Ropshitz in Galicia. After the petirah of his father, he succeeded him as Rav in Linsk. The kehillah of Ropshitz insisted that he return, however, which he did while remaining the Rav of Linsk. Eventually his son, Harav Avraham Chaim, zt”l, became Rav in Linsk.

After the petirah of his Rebbes, many Chassidim chose Rav Naftali as their Rebbe. Ropshitz turned into a focal point for thousands of Chassidim of the entire Galician countryside (then under Austrian rule).

The Rebbe was known for his profound wisdom and humility.

Ropshitz Chassidus was known for its meticulous adherence to minhagim, heartfelt tefillos and captivating niggunim.

During the Napoleonic wars many tzaddikim, including Rav Mendel of Rimanov, strongly supported Napoleon. But Rav Naftali, as well as the Baal Hatanya, zy”a, were strongly opposed to him, sensing that victory for Napoleon would introduce changes which would threaten the Jewish way of life.

Rav Naftali was niftar on 11 Iyar 5587/1827. He was buried in Lancut, Galicia.

His sons were Harav Avraham Chaim of Linsk, Harav Yaakov of Melitz and Harav Eliezer of Dzikov, and his son-in-law was Harav Asher Yeshaya of Ropshitz, zechusam yagein aleinu. His sefarim are Zera Kodesh, Ayala Shelucha and Imrei Shefer. Ohel Naftali discusses the genealogy of this great tzaddik.


April 26

In 1607, English colonists went ashore at present-day Cape Henry, Virginia, on an expedition to establish the first permanent English settlement in the Western Hemisphere.

In 1921, weather reports were broadcast for the first time in St. Louis, Missouri.

In 1945, Marshal Henri Philippe Petain, the head of France’s Vichy government during World War II, was arrested.

In 1986, an explosion and fire at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine caused radioactive fallout to begin spewing into the atmosphere. (Dozens of people were killed in the immediate aftermath of the disaster while the long-term death toll from radiation poisoning is believed to number in the thousands.)