This Day in History – 16 Cheshvan/November 14

16 Cheshvan

In 5702/1941, 15,000 Jews were massacred in Rowno, Poland. Hy”d.

In 5710/1949, Operation Magic Carpet, to bring Yemenite Jews to Israel, began. Most were forced to abandon their parents’ mesorah and were brainwashed into living a secular lifestyle.


5392/1631, Harav Shimon Zev Auerbach, zt”l, Rav of Prague

5590/1829, Harav Amram Chassida, zt”l

5762/2001, Harav Elazar Menachem Man Shach, zt”l, Rosh Yeshivah of Ponevez Yeshivah


Harav Reuven Katz, Zt”l, Mechaber of Degel Reuven

Harav Reuven Hakohen Katz was born in Olshany, in the Vilna region, on Rosh Chodesh Iyar 5640/1880. His father was Rav Shimon. At about age 11, he was already fluent in masechtos Shabbos and Bava Kamma, and was known as the iluy of Olshany. His bar mitzvah drashah, delivered when he was a talmid at the yeshivah of Ivye, astounded the local talmidei chachamim.

From Ivye he moved on to Mir, and when he was 15, he was accepted into the yeshivah of the Chofetz Chaim in Radin. After about a year, he transferred to Yeshivas Knesses Yisrael in Slabodka.

In 5657/1897, he was among the initial 14 bachurim of the yeshivah of Slutsk, founded by Harav Isser Zalman Meltzer, zt”l.

In 5663/1903, Rav Reuven moved to Vilna, where Harav Avraham Yitzchak, zt”l, the Rav of Gicialaukia, chose him as a son-in-law. While living in his father-in-law’s house, he became thoroughly fluent in halachah, and was given semichah by the leading Gedolim of the generation.

His first rabbanus was in the town of Sulevo in the Minsk region; in 5669/1909, he was appointed Rav of Amdur (Indura) where he remained for 14 years.

In 5682/1922, Rav Reuven published his first sefer, She’eilos U’teshuvos Degel Reuven, in which he demonstrated his expertise in all areas of halachah. A short while later he was invited to serve as Rav in Stawiski in the Lomza region.

Wherever he lived, he established yeshivos for the bachurim and shiurim in the batei medrash. He was active in the Vaad Hayeshivos, founded by Harav Chaim Ozer Grodzensky, zt”l, of Vilna.

In 5685/1925, his second sefer was published. It was called Duda’ei Reuven, and contained his chiddushim on Bereishis and Shemos.

When Rav Reuven received a request in 5692/1932 to serve as Rav in Petach Tikvah, he moved to Eretz Yisrael, fulfilling a lifelong dream.

Rav Reuven disseminated Torah to talmidim all his years. He toiled to raise the level and character of his talmidim.

In 5700/1940, he published the second volume of Degel Reuven, which includes several teshuvos regarding halachos that relate to Eretz Yisrael, such as the application of orlah, leket, shich’chah and pe’ah in modern times. He published the third volume of this work nine years later.

In 5714/1954, he published the second volume of Duda’ei Reuven, with chiddushim and drashos on Vayikra, Bamidbar and Devarim.

Rav Reuven was niftar on 16 Cheshvan 5725/1964.

Zecher tzaddik livrachah.

Nov. 14

In 1862, during the Civil War, President Lincoln gave the go-ahead for the Union army plan to capture the Confederate capital of Richmond; the resulting Battle of Fredericksburg proved a disaster for the Union.

In 1965, the U.S. Army’s first major military operation of the Vietnam War began with the start of the five-day Battle of Ia Drang.

In 1972, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed above the 1,000 level for the first time, ending the day at 1,003.16.

In 2004, Mahmoud Abbas, successor to Yasser Arafat, escaped unharmed when terrorists firing assault rifles burst into a mourning tent for the deceased Palestinian leader in Gaza, killing two security guards.