This Day In History 12 Elul/September 15

The recently built ohel in Kozhnitz.
The recently built ohel in Kozhnitz.

13 Elul

In 5455/1695, Jews of New York petitioned the governor for permission to exercise their religion in public. Permission was denied, because freedom of religion applied only to Christians.


Yahrtzeiten

5652/1892, Harav Avraham Yissachar Dov Rabinowitz, the Chessed L’Avraham of Radomsk, zt”l

5666/1906, Harav Yehoshua Tzvi Michel Shapiro, zt”l, author of Tzitz Hakodesh

5669/1909, Harav Yosef Chaim of Baghdad, the Ben Ish Chai, zt”l


5669/1909

Harav Yerachmiel Moshe of Kozhnitz, zt”l

Harav Yerachmiel Moshe Hopstein of Kozhnitz was born on 10 Elul 5620/1860 in Grodzhisk. Six years later, in 5626/1866, his father, Harav Yechiel Yaakov, was niftar. Initially, the young orphan was raised in the home of his grandfather, Harav Elimelech of Grodzhisk. Later, his mother married Harav Asher (the second) of Stolin. As a result, Reb Yerachmiel Moshe was brought up by the Beis Aharon of Karlin.

Reb Yerachmiel Moshe was engaged to be married at the age of 12, but the Beis Aharon and his son Reb Asher were niftar that year, so the wedding was pushed off. Two years later he married Rebbetzin Brachah Tzipporah Mirel Twersky, the daughter of Harav Mordechai of Loyev, a descendant of the Chernobyl dynasty.

The following year, 5635/1875, Reb Yerachmiel Moshe returned to Kozhnitz and began to lead his flock. He guided Kozhnitz for 34 years.

Reb Yerachmiel Moshe’s middas ha’emes was so strong that he could not bear to use silver-plated objects. He would use brass, copper, steel, or any other pure metal, including solid silver.

He was renowned for his ahavas Yisrael; all money he received was given away to tzedakah. He also obligated all his Chassidim to donate to a dedicated fund on behalf of aniyei Eretz Yisrael.

Reb Yerachmiel Moshe used to retell sippurei tzaddikim, and the sefer Sifran shel Tzaddikim is based mainly on his talks and stories.

Reb Yerachmiel Moshe would play the violin every Motzoei Shabbos; later, he would play the oboe for the zemer of Eliyahu Hanavi. He also composed his own niggunim.

Reb Yerachmiel Moshe suffered from a debilitating kidney disease and was taken to the health spas in Krenitz, but seeing that there was no improvement, he asked to return to Kozhnitz.

In Kshanov, en route to Kozhnitz, Reb Yerachmiel Moshe was niftar on 13 Elul 5669/1909 at the age of 49. He was fully conscious until his petirah. He asked that his body be washed. When that was done, he asked if he was totally clean. After he received an affirmative answer, his neshamah left his body.

With much trouble, his mittah was transferred to Kozhnitz, a good part of the way by foot. He was buried in Kozhnitz, in the ohel of his holy forefathers the Kozhnitzer Rebbes.

Zechuso yagen aleinu.


Sept. 16

In 1893, more than 100,000 settlers swarmed onto a section of land in Oklahoma known as the “Cherokee Strip.”

In 1908, General Motors was founded in Flint, Michigan, by William C. Durant.

In 1919, the American Legion received a national charter from Congress.

In 1940, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Selective Training and Service Act.