This Day In History 2 Kislev/November 20

Yosher Divrei Emes

2 Kislev

In 5488/1727, Jews of New York were allowed to take an official oath without reference to Christianity.

In 5704/1943, Hitler’s soldiers were chased out of Casablanca, prompting the celebration of “Purim of Casablanca.”


Yahrtzeiten

5536/1775, Harav Shmaryahu Varchovker, zt”l, talmid of the Baal Shem Tov

5618/1857, Harav Yisrael Yitzchok, Rebbe of Radoshitz, zt”l

5646/1885, Harav Avraham Hakohen of Saloniki, zt”l, mechaber of Taharas Mayim

5700/1939, Harav Nachum Weidenfeld, Rav of Dombrova, Hy”d, mechaber of Chazon Nachum

5720/1959, Harav Akiva Sofer, zt”l, the Daas Sofer, Rav of Pressburg

5723/1962, Harav Aharon Kotler, zt”l, founder and Rosh Yeshivah of Beis Medrash Govoha of Lakewood

5759/1998, Harav Nosson Meir Wachtfogel, zt”l, longtime Mashgiach of Beis Medrash Govoha of Lakewood


5555/1894

Harav Meshulam Feivish Halevi Heller of Zhabrizh, the Yosher Divrei Emes, Zt”l

Harav Meshulam Feivish Heller was the son of Harav Aharon Moshe of Sniatin, zt”l, a fifth-generation ben achar ben of the Tosfos Yom Tov.

He learned Torah and chassidus under the Maggid of Mezeritch, Harav Menachem Mendel of Premishlan and Harav Yechiel Michel of Zlotchov, zechusam yagein aleinu, all of whom he quotes in his sefer.

Rav Meshulam Feivish is best known for his classic Chassidic work, Yosher Divrei Emes. It consists of two kuntreisim, the first written in 5537/1777 and the second, Kuntres Derech Emes, written after 5541/1781. (We know this because the Zlotchover Maggid was niftar on 25 Elul 5541/1781, and the kuntres mentions that he was already deceased.) Some of his drashos were also published in the sefer Likutim Yekarim.

A Rebbe and Chassidic leader, Rav Meshulam Feivish was also renowned for his knowledge of Shas and Poskim. Unfortunately, not many of his halachic rulings have survived. Rav Meshulam Feivish had a unique mehudar sefer Torah that is quoted by the sefer Mishnas Avraham on hilchos Stam as a source and proof for certain halachos in tzuras ha’osiyos, the forms and shapes of the letters.

Rav Meshulam Feivish had many talmidim. Some of the more famous include Harav Dovid Shlomo Eibshitz, the Arvei Nachal; Harav Yosef Dovid Hakohen, Rav in Zhvaliv and Yassi and mechaber of Derech Emunah; Harav Menachem Mendel of Kossov-Vizhnitz; and Harav Chaim of Tchernowitz, the Be’er Mayim Chaim, who is considered a talmid chaver, zechusam yagein aleinu.

Rav Meshulam Feivish was niftar on 2 Kislev 5555/1894 and buried in Zhabrizh. (Some give the day of his petirah as 20 Kislev.)

His sons were Harav Moshe Aharon, Harav Baruch Yitzchak, and Harav Shimshon of Ozhiran, zecher tzaddikim livrachah.

After Rav Meshulam Feivish’s petirah, most of his followers flocked to the court of his close talmid, Harav Menachem Mendel of Kossov, founder of the Vizhnitz dynasty.

Zechuso yagen aleinu.


Nov. 20

In 1789, New Jersey became the first state to ratify the Bill of Rights.

In 1910, the Mexican Revolution of 1910 had its beginnings under the Plan of San Luis Potosi issued by Francisco I. Madero.

In 1945, 22 former Nazi officials went on trial before an international war crimes tribunal in Nuremberg, Germany.

In 1959, the United Nations issued its Declaration of the Rights of the Child.

In 1967, the U.S. Census Bureau’s Population Clock at the Commerce Department ticked past 200 million.

In 1969, the Nixon administration announced a halt to residential use of the pesticide DDT as part of a total phase-out.

In 1969, a group of American Indian activists began a 19-month occupation of Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay.