This Day In History 19 Cheshvan/November 8

In 2/3760 B.C.E. Hevel lived for 49 days, according to the Arizal, meaning that his brother Kayin killed him on this day. (According to the Midrash Rabbah, he was killed the next day. Other opinions in Chazal are that he was killed on Erev Pesach, and that he was killed at the age of 40.)

In 5767/1906, the Chofetz Chaim completed his monumental work, the Mishnah Berurah.


5316/1555, Harav Naftali Yitzchok Segal, zt”l, mechaber of Naftali Seva Ratzon

5536/1775, Harav Yitzchok Avraham Wallerstein, zt”l, of Minsk, brother of the Shaagas Aryeh

5610/1849, Harav Eliyahu Rogler, zt”l, Rav of Slobodka and Kalisch

5665/1904, Harav Sa’asa Hakohen, Rav of Djerba, zt”l

5702/1941, Harav Avraham Tzvi Hirsch Kamai, Hy”d, Rosh Yeshivah and Rav of Mir

Harav Avraham Tzvi Hirsch Kamai was born in 5620/1860 in the Lithuanian town of Szkod.

Harav Eliyahu Baruch, Rav Avraham Tzvi’s father, was Rav of Szkod, Karelitz and Czechnovtza, following which he served as Rav of Mir and as head of the town’s yeshivah.

As a youth, Rav Tzvi Hirsch was known to be extraordinarily gifted. Because of his delicate health, his father did not send him away to learn. Rav Tzvi Hirsch was both son and talmid to his father.

At a very young age, Rav Tzvi Hirsch married Sarah Baila, the daughter of Harav Moshe Gordanski of Keidan. His father-in-law undertook to support him so he could devote all his time to learning.

When Rav Tzvi Hirsch left his father-in-law’s support, he resolved not to use his Torah as a livelihood. His wife, who was a wise and educated woman, opened a pharmacy.

Following the petirah of the Rav of Keidan, the community offered him the position. Rav Tzvi Hirsch turned it down to avoid using his Torah as a means of support.

In the end, the requests of both the townspeople and his family swayed him, and he accepted, on one condition: his livelihood would not be from the rabbanus. He was only prepared to serve as Rav if there were no remuneration.

When Harav Eliyahu Boruch Kamai was niftar after WWI, Rav Tzvi Hirsch took his father’s place as Rosh Yeshivah for the next 25 years.

At the outbreak of World War II, the Mirrer Yeshivah fled to Vilna. Rav Tzvi Hirsch wouldn’t abandon his flock, and stayed on in Mir.

On 19 Cheshvan 5702/1941, Rav Tzvi Hirsch, together with over 2,000 local Jews, were led to their death in a communal grave in the forest adjacent to the town.

Nearly all of Rav Tzvi Hirsch’s chiddushim were burned together with all of Mir’s batei medrash, but some were recovered by his surviving son-in-law, Harav Dov Sokolovsky; several were published as Kuntres Zchor L’Avraham in the sefer Divrei Eliezer by his brother-in-law Harav Eliezer Yehuda Finkel.

Nov. 8

In 1889, Montana became the 41st state.

In 1895, Wilhelm Roentgen, while experimenting with electricity, discovered the scientific principle for taking X-ray pictures and took the first set.

In 1923, Adolf Hitler launched his first attempt at seizing power in Germany with a failed coup in Munich that came to be known as the “Beer-Hall Putsch.”

In 1994, midterm elections resulted in Republicans winning a majority in the Senate while at the same time gaining control of the House for the first time in 40 years.