This Day In History 15 Elul/September 6

In 5445/1685, the Jews of New York were denied the right to worship publicly.

In 5587/1827, Russia decreed the draft of Jewish boys from the age of 12; these youngsters were subsequently known as the Cantonists. During this period, thousands of young boys were snatched away from their parents and forever lost to our people.


5302/1542 (or 5295/1535), Harav Moshe Alshakar, zt”l, author of Maharam Alshakar and Gaon Yakov.

5618/1858, Harav Akiva Eiger (the first), zt”l, author of Mishnas Reb Akiva.

5701/1941, Harav Chanoch Henach Eiges of Vilna, zt”l, author of Marcheshes.

5702/1942, Harav Avraham Yakov Horowitz of Provizna, zt”l, author of Tzur Yaakov.

5547/1787, Harav Yaakov Koppel Chassid, Zy”a

Harav Yaakov Kopel was a son of Harav Nechemia Feivel of Kolomaya, a descendant of Rabbeinu Ovadia of Bartenura. When he married his cousin, the daughter of his father’s brother, Harav Zalman, he became attached to the Baal Shem Tov.

His was commonly known as “Chassid,” derived from the fact that he was a follower of the Baal Shem Tov.

Even before he drew close to Chassidus, Reb Yaakov Koppel, as he was known, was recognized for his intense hislahavus. He would welcome Shabbos with remarkable dveikus, singing and dancing in honor of the day. According to chassidic lore, when the Baal Shem Tov was once in Kolomaya he sensed a great spiritual light in the city. Discovering that this was Reb Yaakov Koppel’s essence, the Baal Shem Tov drew him close to his circle.

After becoming one of the Besht’s close disciples, he was chosen as the baal tefillah in the Baal Shem Tov’s beis medrash. His unique, soul-stirring and inspiring nusach remains the mesorah in Vizhnitz Chassidus to this day.

Reb Yaakov Kopel was commonly called “Shivisinik,” attributed to the fact that he constantly recited the words “Shivisi Hashem l’negdi tamid.”

He lived in Kolomaya, where he built a beis medrash and mikveh with his own money. He earned a living through various trades. Later, he moved to Mezhibuzh, where he served as baal tefillah.

Eventually, he moved to Stiminitz for many years until he was niftar.

Reb Yaakov Kopel continued as a baal tefillah even after the Baal Shem Tov’s histalkus, and whenever he was in Mezhibuzh he would daven before the amud, inspiring the mispallelim to increased closeness to Hashem.

According to the mesorah, the Baal Shem Tov “granted” the area of Marmorosh (Romania) to Reb Yaakov Kopel and his descendants. Indeed, the flourishing Chassidus of Kossov-Vizhnitz was based in Marmorosh and had tremendous influence on Torah Jewry.

When the government mandated that every household adopt a last name, Reb Yaakov Kopel chose the name Hager, based on the passukGer anochi ba’aretz.”

Harav Menachem Mendel Hager of Kossov was a son of Harav Yaakov Kopel, whose grandson, Harav Menachem Mendel of Vizhnitz, founded the esteemed Vizhnitz dynasty. His son-in-law was Harav Uri of Strelisk, zy”a.

Zechuso yagen aleinu.

September 6

In 1939, the Union of South Africa declared war on Germany.

In 1941, Jews in German-occupied areas were ordered to wear the Star of David with the word “Jew” inscribed. At that time, the order applied to Jews over the age of 6.

In 1954, groundbreaking took place for the Shippingport Atomic Power Station in western Pennsylvania.

In 2002, meeting outside Washington, D.C., for only the second time since 1800 that Congress convened in New York to pay homage to the victims and heroes of September 11.