This Day in History – 12 Kislev/December 4


5334/1573, Harav Shlomo Luria, zt”l, the Maharshal of Lublin

5517/1756, Harav Yitzchak Shmuel Lampronti, zt”l, mechaber of Pachad Yitzchak

5657/1896, Harav Naftali Schwartz of Mahd, zt”l

5665/1904, Harav Chaim Leibush Horowitz of Cracow, zt”l

5754/1993, Harav Yehoshua Moshe Aaronson, zt”l, Rav in Petach Tikva and mechaber of Yeshuas Moshe and Alei Meroros


5601/1840, Harav Avraham Dov Auerbach of Avritch, the Bas Ayin, zt”l

Harav Avraham Dov Auerbach was born in 5525/1765 in the Ukrainian town of Chmielnik Rav.

Avraham Dov became a talmid of Rav Nachum of Chernobyl, whom he considered the main influence in his life.

He was the son-in-law of Harav Nassan Nota, the Rav of Avritch. After his father-in-law’s petirah he became the Rav of Avritch, and he served in that capacity for 40 years.

Finally, in either the year 5590/1830 or 5591/1831, at the advanced age of 70, Rav Avraham Dov decided that the best way to further his spiritual advancement was to begin life anew in Eretz Yisrael. After his arrival he became the leader of the Chassidim in Tzfas. Rav Avraham Dov was revered by the local Arabs as a holy man.

On 24 Teves 5597/1837, an earthquake struck between Minchah and Maariv when Rav Avraham Dov was in his beis medrash. He shouted to everyone present to stand close to the aron hakodesh, promising that if they did so they would be saved. A moment later the ceiling fell in — except for the place where Rav Avraham Dov had warned everyone to take shelter. In gratitude, a seudas hodaah took place at that spot every year.

A year later, on the earthquake’s first anniversary, Rav Avraham Dov announced that no earthquake would ever shake Tzfas again.

In 5601/1840 a terrible plague broke out in Tzfas. When Rav Avraham Dov fell ill, he announced that his petirah would be atonement for the town; he would be the plague’s last victim.

Rav Avraham Dov was niftar on 12 Kislev 5601/1840, and as he had predicted, the plague stopped immediately.

Although Rav Avraham Dov wrote his famous sefer, Bas Ayin, while he was still in Europe, he refused to print it until it was exposed to and refined by the air of the Holy Land. This sefer is built on the tenets of Chassidus as taught by the Chernobyl dynasty, and is considered a basic chassidic work.

Zechuso yagen aleinu.


Dec. 4

In 1214, Alexander II became King of Scots at age 16 upon the death of his father, William the Lion.

In 1783, Gen. George Washington bade farewell to his Continental Army officers at Fraunces Tavern in New York.

In 1816, James Monroe of Virginia was elected the fifth president of the United States.

In 1918, President Woodrow Wilson left Washington on a trip to France to attend the Versailles Peace Conference.

In 1945, the Senate approved U.S. participation in the United Nations by a vote of 65–7.

In 1965, the United States launched Gemini 7 with Air Force Lt. Col. Frank Borman and Navy Cmdr. James A. Lovell aboard.

In 1978, San Francisco got its first female mayor as City Supervisor Dianne Feinstein  was named to replace the assassinated George Moscone.

In 1984, a five-day hijack drama began as four armed men seized a Kuwaiti airliner en route to Pakistan and forced it to land in Tehran, where the hijackers killed American passenger Charles Hegna. (A second American, William Stanford, also was killed during the siege before Iranian security seized control of the plane.)

In 1991, Associated Press correspondent Terry Anderson, the longest held of the Western hostages in Lebanon, was released after nearly seven years in captivity.

In 1996, the Mars Pathfinder lifted off from Cape Canaveral and began speeding toward the red planet on a 310 million-mile odyssey. (It arrived on Mars in July 1997.)