This Day in History – 16 Kislev/December 8

In 5564/1803, the Chayei Adam, though injured, was saved from a blast. He established the date as a Yom Tov for himself and his descendants.

In 5653/1892, Hermann Ahlwardt was elected to the German Reichstag, marking the beginning of political anti-Semitism in Germany.



5404/1643, Harav Yaakov of Lublin, zt”l, father of Reb Herschel of Cracow

5678/1917, Harav Menachem of Amshinov, zt”l

5760/1999, Harav Dovid Leib Schwartz, zt”l, of Bnei Brak


5708/1947, Harav Shaul Yedidyah Elazar Taub of Modzhitz, zt”l, the Imrei Shaul

Harav Shaul Yedidyah Elazar Taub was born on Hoshana Rabbah, 21 Tishrei 5647/1886, in Osherov (in the Radom district of Poland). His father was Harav Yisrael, the Divrei Yisrael of Modzhitz.

Great in Torah, he was also talented in music like the rest of the Modzhitzer dynasty. As a composer, his niggunim were not the folk-style melodies of many of his predecessors but intricate, musically structured and quite lengthy. He thought in terms of instruments, and often suggested an accompaniment of strings, winds and horns to enhance his niggunim.

Reb Shaul Yedidyah married the daughter of Harav Avraham Eiger of Lublin. He married again following her passing.

All his life his soul was drawn to Eretz Yisrael. He visited three times, and always planned to settle there.

After the petirah of his father on 13 Kislev 5681/1920, Reb Shaul Yedidyah was appointed Rebbe. He led his Chassidim in Otwock, Poland, where he built his beis medrash.

With the outbreak of World War II, the Rebbe was one of those who fled to the Russian border. For Rosh Hashanah 5700/1939 the Rebbe was in Chelm, but later he escaped to Vilna, Lithuania. From there he rode through Russia to Japan. Eventually, with the help of some Modzhitzer Chassidim, he and some family members reached San Francisco, California, moving to Brooklyn, New York, in 1940.

There Reb Shaul Yedidyah Elazar helped rebuild Modzhitzer Chassidus.

His fourth and last trip to Eretz Yisrael was from the United States in 5708/1947; he went fully intending to settle there, but Hashem had other plans. He became very ill and was niftar on Shabbos Parashas Vayishlach, 16 Kislev 5708/1947. (This was the very day that the U.N. passed its partition plan for “Palestine.”)

The Rebbe was the last person buried on Har Hazeisim until after the Six-Day War. A matzeivah was first erected on his kever in 1967, 20 years later.

His divrei Torah have been collected and published as Imrei Shaul and Yisa Brachah.

He was succeeded by his oldest son, Harav Shmuel Eliyahu Taub. His other sons were Harav Yechezkel, Harav Yitzchak, Harav Yisrael and Harav Dovid. He also had two daughters.

Zechuso yagen aleinu.

Dec. 8

In 1776, during the Revolutionary War, Gen. George Washington’s retreating army crossed the Delaware River from New Jersey into Pennsylvania.

In 1886, the American Federation of Labor was founded in Columbus, Ohio.

In 1941, the U.S. entered World War II as Congress declared war against Imperial Japan, a day after the attack on Pearl Harbor.

In 1987, President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev signed a treaty calling for destruction of intermediate-range nuclear missiles.

In 2004, the Senate completed congressional approval of the biggest overhaul of U.S. intelligence in a half-century, voting 89–2 to send the measure to President George W. Bush, who signed it nine days later.

In 2004, disgruntled U.S. soldiers complained to Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld during a question-and-answer session in Kuwait about long deployments and a lack of armored vehicles and other equipment.

In 2009, a wave of bomb attacks targeting high-profile symbols of Iraqi authority killed at least 127 people.

In 2013, hundreds of thousands of protesters poured into the streets of the Ukrainian capital of Kiev, toppling the statue of former Soviet leader Vladimir Lenin and blocking key government buildings in an escalating stand-off with the president on the future of the country.