This Day in History – 18 Av/August 19

Shul desecrated during the 1929 Arab riots in Chevron.

18 Av

In 5689/1929, Arabs rampaged in Eretz Yisrael, killing 133 Jews and injuring and maiming hundreds of others, most of them in a massacre in Yeshivas Chevron. Hy”d. The attackers also burned down many homes and burned and damaged sifrei Torah and tashmishei kedushah. The remaining Jews fled to Yerushalayim. The Kaf Hachaim records that without rachamei Shamayim the Arabs would have killed all the Jews in Eretz Yisrael.

Yahrtzeiten

5532/1772, Harav Chaim Rephael Asher, zt”l, the Rishon LeTzion of Yerushalayim and Rosh Yeshivas Yefaer Anavim

5645/1885, Harav Avraham Korkidi, zt”l, mechaber of Vayikach Avraham

5702/1942, Harav Shlomo Chanoch Rabinowitz, the Radomsker Rebbe, Hy”d, and his son-in-law, Harav Dovid Moshe Rabinowitz, Hy”d

5757/1997, Harav Dov Ber Eliezrov, zt”l, Rav of Katamon, Yerushalayim


5689/1929

Harav Chanoch Chasson, Hy”d, Rav of Chevron

Harav Chanoch Chasson was born on 17 Iyar 5627/1867 in Chevron. His father, Reb Mordechai, was a successful businessman and one of the prominent residents of the city.

As a young boy, Chanoch was educated in the local Talmud Torah of the Sephardim, and at the age of 15 he was already known for his excellence in learning.

In 5647/1887, at the age of 20, Rav Chanoch married Klarah, the daughter of Harav Rachamim Yosef Franko, zt”l, of Yerushalayim. The family later moved to Chevron, where Harav Rachamim was appointed Rav.

For a number of years, Harav Chanoch was a melamed in the Sephardic Talmud Torah. In 5660/1900, he was sent overseas to collect funds for the mosdos.

In the meantime, Harav Chanoch’s father-in-law passed away and Harav Chaim Chizkiyah Medini, the Sdei Chemed, who had recently arrived in Eretz Yisrael, became Rav of the Sephardic community. Harav Chanoch was appointed to the beis din, becoming the right-hand man of the Sdei Chemed. He also edited the last volumes of his work, Sdei Chemed.

After the petirah of the Sdei Chemed, Harav Chanoch was appointed Rav of the Sephardic kehillah. Harav Chanoch did much to help strengthen and fortify the community in Chevron materially and spiritually.

In his later years, Harav Chanoch’s children tried to persuade him to come live in Yerushalayim but he refused, saying it would weaken the yishuv in Chevron.

During the summer of 5689/1929, his wife spent much time in Yerushalayim. Sensing the tension when she returned to Chevron in Tammuz, she implored her husband to come back with her to Yerushalayim. But he remained adamant in his refusal to desert the city.

On Shabbos Parashas Eikev, 18 Av, the infamous day of the Arab massacre in the Chevron yeshivah, Harav Chanoch and his wife were among those who were mercilessly killed. In the fire that raged after the brutal murders, many of his chiddushei Torah were burned.

Hashem yinkom damo.


August 19

In 1856, Gail Borden received a patent for his process of condensing milk by vacuum.

In 1848, the New York Herald reported the discovery of gold in California.

In 1934, a plebiscite in Germany approved the vesting of sole executive power in Adolf Hitler.

In 1940, the new Civil Aeronautics Administration awarded Honorary License No. 1 to Orville Wright.