This Day in History – 15 Teves/January 6

In 5248/1487, the first printed edition of Sefer Mitzvos Gadol was printed in Soncino, Italy.


5495/1734, Harav Mordechai, zt”l, Rosh Mesivta of Lvov

5587/1827, Harav Rafael of Bershad, zt”l

5683/1923, Harav Shmaya Noach of Bobroisk, zt”l

5747/1987, Harav Bentzion Moshe Meir Mandelbaum, zt”l, mechaber of Ohr Moshe


5738/1977, Harav Chaim Mordechai Of Nadvorna, zt”l

On 24 Iyar 5663/1903, Harav Chaim Mordechai was born in the town of Chernowitz. His illustrious father, Harav Issamar Rosenbaum, zt”l, was the son of Harav Meir of Kretchenif, who in turn was the son of Reb Mordechai of Nadvorna, and a descendant of Reb Meir (Hagadol) of Premishlan, the Be’er Mayim Chaim and Reb Naftali of Ropshitz. He was named after his great-grandfather, Harav Mordechai of Nadvorna.

Reb Chaim Mordechai married his first cousin, the daughter of his uncle Reb Eliezer Ze’ev of Kretchenif, at the age of 18, and his father-in-law supported him for six years. At the time of his chasunah, he was already a noted talmid chacham; in fact, he made a siyum haShas b’iyun at his chasunah, and was fluent in many works of Rishonim and Acharonim at a very young age. He also compiled chiddushim on various subjects, some of which still remain unprinted. One of the works from his youth, written on Maseches Kesubos, was lost in the Second World War.

When he was a yungerman of 25, his father and father-in-law sent him to the town of Seret to serve as Rebbe for the Nadvorna Chassidim there. There he revived the town’s ruchniyus and led the people with great dignity and fervor.

During World War II, Reb Chaim Mordechai fled from the town, but eventually ended up in the concentration camp at Z’urin, Transnistria. Although he suffered greatly, he did not give up any of the various chumros and minhagim he had previously undertaken.

After undergoing various hardships and nisyonos, Reb Chaim Mordechai survived the war and settled in Chernowitz. In 5708/1948 he immigrated to Eretz Yisrael and settled temporarily in Yerushalayim. He would have liked to remain there, but due to the political unrest that was a result of Israel’s War of Independence of 1948, he moved to Yaffo.

In Yaffo, Reb Chaim Mordechai established the Nadvorna court, and in 5710/1950 he established Yeshivas Maamar Mordechai. The Rebbe’s mesirus nefesh for his yeshivah was astounding. Once, when some talmidim arose at a very early hour to learn, they were surprised to see the Rebbe walking in with hot tea, which he had prepared especially for them!

In 5720/1960, when the yeshivah building in Yaffo had become much too small, the foundation for the new yeshivah was laid in Bnei Brak, where the yeshivah and mosdos of Nadvorna expanded and prospered greatly. People from all sects would come to hear the Rebbe’s heartfelt tefillos, in which he would pour out his heart to Hashem with a fiery hislahavus.

For 17 years, the Rebbe lived in Bnei Brak. A week before his petirah he fell ill. He asked for Kohanim to recite Birkas Kohanim for him a few days before he was niftar at the age of 74. He was buried on Har Hazeisim.

His only son, Harav Yaakov Yissocher, zt”l, succeeded him. He also had three daughters.

Zechuso yagen aleinu.


Jan. 6

In 1838, Samuel Morse and Alfred Vail gave the first successful public demonstration of their telegraph in Morristown, New Jersey.

In 1912, New Mexico became the 47th state.

In 1919, the 26th president of the United States, Theodore Roosevelt, died in Oyster Bay, New York, at age 60.

In 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, in his State of the Union address, outlined a goal of “Four Freedoms”: Freedom of speech and expression; the freedom of people to worship G-d in their own way; freedom from want; freedom from fear.

In 1950, Britain recognized the Communist government of China.

In 1974, year-round daylight saving time began in the United States on a trial basis as a fuel-saving measure in response to the OPEC oil embargo.

In 1987, the U.S. Senate voted 88–4 to establish an 11-member panel to hold public hearings on the Iran-Contra affair.