This Day in History – 19 Adar II/March 29

In 5700/1940, the Arab restriction of the sale of land to Jews in Eretz Yisrael took effect.

In 5709/1949, the Jewish army captured Ein Gedi and the war of 1948 ended.


 

Yahrtzeiten

5634/1874, Harav Dovid of Dinov, zt”l, mechaber of Divrei Dovid

5640/1880, Harav Yaakov Shamshon of Kossov, zt”l

5680/1920, Harav Yehudah Greenwald of Satmar, zt”l

5688/1928, Harav Meir Yechiel of Ostrovtze, zt”l


 

5692/1932, Harav Yosef Chaim Sonnenfeld, zt”l

Harav Yosef Chaim was born on 6 Kislev 5609/1848 in Verboi, Slovakia. His parents were Harav Avraham Shlomo and Rebbetzin Zelda Sonnenfeld. He was named Chaim; the name Yosef was added later.

Chaim was a child prodigy. Tragically, Reb Avraham Shlomo was niftar when the child was six.

Rebbetzin Zelda struggled to raise him and his two siblings herself. After two years she remarried and moved to Samnitz.

In Slovakia, cheder boys were forced to attend public school; limudei kodesh were relegated to afternoons and evenings. Young Chaim excelled at both. By age 11, he had completed the school’s entire curriculum. Meanwhile, his melamdim had exhausted their capacity to teach him, and he was studying at the local yeshivah under Harav Leib Loefler. Reb Chaim’s parents were divided. His mother was determined that he advance in Torah; his stepfather was charmed by his teachers’ reports of his aptitude for science.

Reb Chaim sought a brachah from Harav Yehudah Assad. With his mother’s encouragement, he left Samnitz, returned to Verboi, and joined the yeshivah of Harav Chaim Tzvi Mannheimer, an old friend of his father.

He went on to the Ksav Sofer’s yeshivah in Pressburg. The 15-year-old was admitted immediately. When he entered the beis medrash, the Ksav Sofer would stand up for him. Within three years the Ksav Sofer granted him the title Moreinu.

A few years later Reb Chaim became engaged to the daughter of Reb Shlomo Seltzer, the shochet of Kobersdorf. The wedding was set to take place Rosh Chodesh Nisan, 5630/1870, after which Reb Chaim would live in Kobersdorf, supported by his father-in-law. When he took leave of his Rosh Yeshivah, the Ksav Sofer granted him the highest title of all: Moreinu Harav — a title conferred upon distinguished elder Rabbanim — and this before he was even married!

Reb Chaim became the talmid of the Rav of Kobersdorf, Harav Avraham Shag, the Ohel Avraham. For six months, supported by his father-in-law, he learned peacefully under Harav Avraham, but when his shver was offered a better position as shochet in a different town, Reb Chaim chose not to follow him. He had become so attached to Harav Avraham Shag that he preferred to manage on his own rather than leave him.

Harav Avraham Shag decided to move to Eretz Yisrael. Reb Chaim joined him on his journey.

On 21 Iyar 5633/1873, he and his family reached Eretz Yisrael. He joined the Torah community in Yerushalayim anonymously.

Three years after their arrival, on Shabbos Rosh Chodesh Nisan 5636/1876, Harav Avraham Shag was niftar. Reb Chaim could not remain silent; he gave his rebbi a hesped that a Gadol baTorah deserves. That is how he was revealed to the chachamim of Yerushalayim.

At this time Reb Chaim was given his second name, Yosef. The Brisker Rav instructed him to add the name during an illness, and he was granted a new lease on life.

Harav Yosef Chaim was niftar on 19 Adar II 5692/1932 and was buried on Har Hazeisim with no hespedim, per his request.

Yehi zichro baruch.


 

March 29

In 1638, Swedish colonists settled in present-day Delaware.

In 1936, German Chancellor Adolf Hitler claimed overwhelming victory in a plebiscite on his policies.

In 1943, World War II rationing of meat, fats and cheese began.

In 1973, the last U.S. combat troops left South Vietnam, ending America’s direct military involvement in the Vietnam War.