This Day in History – 17 Cheshvan/November 15

17 Cheshvan

Yahrtzeiten

5357/1596, Harav Avraham Rappaport, zt”l, mechaber of Minchah Belulah

5584/1823, Harav Yaakov Kopel of Tismenitz, zt”l

5597/1836, Harav Mordechai Zev Orenstein, zt”l, Rav of Lvov

5664/1903, Harav Yehoshua Rosenfeld, zt”l, of Kaminka

5748/1987, Harav Meshulam Zishe Twersky, zt”l, the Chernobyler Rebbe of Bnei Brak


5586/1825

Harav Menachem Mendel of Kosov, Zt”l, the Ahavas Shalom

Harav Menachem Mendel was born c. 5529/1769 in Kolomaya. His father, Harav Yaakov Koppel Chassid, zt”l, was one of the closest Chassidim of the Baal Shem Tov and was the baal tefillah in his beis medrash. His mother was Rebbetzin Chaya, a”h, daughter of Harav Zalman of Kolomaya.

He married the daughter of his uncle, Harav Shmuel Simcha Zimmel of Kosov.

Initially, Reb Menachem Mendel learned and developed under his distinguished father. Later, he traveled to other leading tzaddikim of the generation, including Harav Ze’ev Wolf of Tcharni-Ostroha, zy”a, who, before leaving for Eretz Yisrael in 5558/1798, appointed Rav Menachem Mendel to serve in his stead as Rebbe.

Rav Menachem Mendel was a close Chassid of Harav Tzvi Hirsch of Nadvorna, zy”a, mechaber of Tzvi Hashem Latzaddik, and he journeyed to him for 12 years.

Rav Menachem Mendel was an outstanding talmid chacham. His Torah learning took priority despite living in abject poverty for most of his life. He was known as a baki in the entire Torah, but most notable was his knowledge of Choshen Mishpat.

The avodas Hashem of Rav Menachem Mendel was intense and full of hislahavus. This was especially noticeable on Shabbos Kodesh, both during davening — particularly the tefillah of Kabbalas Shabbos — and during the tischen, where he spoke divrei Torah with fervor.

Rav Menachem Mendel was famous for his gemilus chassadim. He helped any Yid, most notably the needy of Eretz Yisrael. He took many orphans under his wing to marry them off at his own expense.

Among his leading talmidim were many who later served as Rebbes: Harav Tzvi Elimelech of Dinov (the Bnei Yissaschar), Harav Eliezer of Dzikov, Harav Naftali of Lizhensk, Harav Shraga Feivish of Bradshein, Harav Meshulam Nosson of Berdichev, Harav Menachem Mendel (mechaber of Derech Emunah), Harav Shmuel of Shinev (mechaber of Ramasayim Tzofim on Tanna d’Vei Eliyahu) and many more, zechusam yagen aleinu.

Rav Menachem Mendel had two sons, Harav Chaim of Kosov, zy”a, who wrote Toras Chaim, and Harav Dovid of Zablatov, zy”a, who was the son-in-law of Harav Moshe Leib of Sassov, zy”a. Rav Dovid was the mechaber of Tzemach Dovid.

Rav Menachem Mendel had an only daughter as well; her zivug sheini, Harav Gershon Ashkenazi of Kolomaya, zt”l, mechaber of Avodas Hagershuni, put together and arranged his father-in-law’s sefer, Ahavas Shalom.

Rav Menachem Mendel was niftar on 17 Cheshvan 5586/1825 in Kosov and was buried there.

Zechuso yagen aleinu.


Nov. 15

In 1777, the Second Continental Congress approved the Articles of Confederation.

In 1806, explorer Zebulon Pike sighted the mountaintop now known as Pikes Peak in present-day Colorado.

In 1864, during the Civil War, Union forces led by Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman began their “March to the Sea” from Atlanta; the campaign ended with the capture of Savannah on Dec. 21.

In 1935, the Commonwealth of the Philippines was established as its new president, Manuel L. Quezon, took office.

In 1937, at the U.S. Capitol, members of the House and Senate met in air-conditioned chambers for the first time.