This Day in History – 2 Elul/August 13

The matzeivah of Harav Yisrael Elazar Hopstein of Kozhnitz, Zy”a

2 Elul

In 5081/1321, 160 Jews in France were burned to death on charges of well-poisoning, Hy”d.

In 5207/1447, the Jews of Poland and Lithuania were granted a Charter of Rights.

In 5313/1553, the pope ordered the confiscation and burning of all copies of the Talmud.

In 5315/1555, the first printing of the Shulchan Aruch took place near Tzfas in Eretz Yisrael.

In 5556/1796, the Jews of Bologna, Italy, were granted equal civil rights.

Yahrtzeiten

5168/1408, Rabbeinu Yitzchok Bar Sheises, the Rivash, zt”l

5604/1844, Harav Yosef, Rebbe of Ostilla, zy”a, son of Harav Mordechai of Neshchiz

5702/1942, Harav Avraham Yaakov Friedman, Rebbe of Boyan-Lvov, Hy”d

5706/1946, Harav Eliezer Hager, zy”a, the ‘Damesek Eliezer’ of Vizhnitz

5754/1994, Harav Meir Yisroel Isser HaKohen Friedman, the Krenitzer Rav, zy”a, mechaber of Shai Lamorah and Imrei Yisrael


5726/1966

Harav Yisrael Elazar Hopstein of Kozhnitz, Zy”a

Harav Yisrael Elazar Hopstein was born in Elul 5658/1898. The son of Harav Yerachmiel Moshe of Kozhnitz, zy”a, he was a sixth-generation descendant of the Maggid of Kozhnitz, zy”a, and in fact named Yisrael after the Maggid.

Rav Yisrael Elazar learned under Rav Meir Yechiel of Ostrovtza, zy”a, receiving semichah from him. He married the daughter of Harav Mordechai Yosef Twersky of Zlatipola, zy”a. After the petirah of his father on 13 Elul 5669/1909, Rav Yisrael Elazar was appointed Rebbe.

In 5684/1924, wishing to help settle Eretz Yisrael, Rav Yisrael Elazar headed a group of Chassidim who bought property there. Rav Yisrael Elazar himself traveled to Eretz Yisrael with the group, where they founded the city of Kfar Chassidim.

Due to ill-health, Rav Yisrael Elazar was forced to leave Eretz Yisrael. He was appointed Rav of the community in Paris; when the Nazis conquered Paris, Rav Yisrael Elazar was captured as he tried to flee, but he was transferred to Nice and from there he managed to escape to America in 5701/1941.

In America, Rav Yisrael Elazar rebuilt Kozhnitzer Chassidus. Unfortunately, all the sefarim and heirlooms he had inherited from his forbears were lost during the War.

In 5726/1966, he decided to return to Eretz Yisrael, and even to found a beis medrash for the Kozhnitzer Chassidim there. (Until then they davened in someone’s apartment.)

Returning to America to take care of some last details, Rav Yisrael Elazar was suddenly niftar on 2 Elul 5726/1966. His mittah was flown to Eretz Yisrael, where he was buried in the Sanhedria beis olam in Yerushalayim.

Rav Yisrael Elazar’s divrei Torah were published in the sefer Avodas Elazar.

Zecher tzaddik livrachah.


August 13

In 1521, Spanish conqueror Hernando Cortez captured Tenochtitlan (teh-natch-teet-LAHN’), present-day Mexico City, from the Aztecs.

In 1792, French revolutionaries imprisoned the royal family.

In 1846, the American flag was raised for the first time in Los Angeles.

In 1932, Adolf Hitler rejected the post of vice chancellor of Germany, saying he was prepared to hold out “for all or nothing.”

In 1960, the first two-way telephone conversation by satellite took place with the help of Echo 1.