This Day in History – 12 Av/July 23

The kever of Harav Yeshaya Weltfried of Kalisch, zt”l.

12 Av

In 5023/1263, by order of King James I of Aragon (Spain), the Ramban was forced to participate in a public debate, held in the presence of the king, against the Jewish apostate Pablo Christiani. The Ramban brilliantly defended Judaism and refuted the apostate’s claims.

Because his victory was an insult to the king’s religion, the Ramban was forced to flee Spain. When he arrived in Yerushalayim he found just a handful of Jewish families, all living in abject poverty, and did everything in his power to revive the floundering Jewish community.

In 5270/1510, 36 Jews were burned at the stake in Berlin, Hy”d.

In 5704/1944, the Russian army liberated the city of Kovno, Lithuania.


5589/1829, Harav Binyamin Wolf Lev, zt”l, mechaber of Shaarei Torah

5597/1837, Harav Aryeh Leib Katzenelenbogen, zt”l, Rav of Brisk


Harav Yeshaya Weltfried of Kalisch, Zt”l

Harav Yeshaya was a son of Harav Avraham Moshe of Rosphsha, zt”l, a descendant of Harav Yeshaya of Pshedborzh, zt”l. On his mother’s side he was a descendant of Harav Yaakov Yitzchak, the Chozeh of Lublin, zy”a.

Their forebear Rav Yeshaya of Pshedborzh, became a Chassid under the influence of Harav Dovid of Lelov, zy”a, who traveled with him to the Chozeh of Lublin. The Chozeh would refer to Rav Yeshaya as “my sefarim shrank,” and Rebbe and talmid maintained a strong bond. Rav Yeshaya became Rav in Pshedborzh, one of the ancient kehillos in Poland, and after the petirah of the Chozeh, Rav Yeshaya became a Rebbe as well as Chassidim began flocking to him.

Rav Yeshaya, carrying the illustrious name of his great-grandfather and emulating the holy ways of his forbears, was from his youth a kadosh v’tahor and a fervent eved Hashem.

He married the daughter of Harav Yechiel Danziger, zy”a, the first Alexander Rebbe, and resided in Dzunska-Walya, where he was commonly referred to as Rav Yeshaya of Walya.

Eventually he moved to Kalisch. The Rebbe was well-loved by his followers, stirring their souls and bringing them ever closer to Hashem with his moving tefillos. In addition to his own Chassidim, he was revered by many Alexander Chassidim, since he was the son-in-law of Harav Yechiel.

The Rebbe would say that when a Yid came to his court thinking that he could be helped by the Rebbe, and even
spent money for that purpose, then the Rebbe had to do all in his power to help him.

He was niftar about a month before the outbreak of World War II. A large number of his descendants were murdered al kiddush Hashem, although one son, Reb Yechiel, had moved to Eretz Yisrael before the war, while another, Reb Chaim, survived the Holocaust and was niftar in 5757/1997 in Eretz Yisrael.

Zechuso yagen aleinu.

July 24

In 1847, Richard M. Hoe patented the rotary-type printing press.

In 1866, Tennessee became the first state to be readmitted to the Union after the Civil War.

In 1923, the Treaty of Lausanne, which settled the boundaries of modern Turkey, was concluded in Switzerland.

In 1959, during a visit to Moscow, Vice President Richard Nixon engaged in his famous “Kitchen Debate” with Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev.