This Day in History – 2 Shevat/January 22

In 3688/73 B.C.E., Yannai Hamelech died. This date was celebrated as a Yom Tov, as mentioned in Megillas Taanis, because of his cruelty and the ruthlessness with which he had persecuted the Chachamim and their loyal followers. On his deathbed, he ordered the imprisonment of 70 Chachamim, and instructed that upon his death they too should be killed. His plan never materialized because his pious wife refused to execute his will.

After his passing, his wife, Shlomtziyon Hamalkah, ruled. A sister of Rabi Shimon ben Shetach, she was kind to the Chachamim, restored their honor and fought the Tzedokim.


 

Yahrtzeiten

5667/1907, Harav Simchah Bunim of Otvotzk, zt”l

5670/1910, Harav Tzvi Hersh Rabinowitz, zt”l

5758/1998, Harav Mansour Ben Shimon, zt”l, mechaber of Shemen Hamaor


 

5560/1800, Harav Meshulam Zusha of Anipoli, zy”a, the Rebbe Reb Zusha

The Rebbe Reb Zusha, as he was commonly known, was born in the village of Lapachi, near the city of Tiktin. His parents were Reb Eliezer and Mirel Lipman.

According to chassidic tradition, the following story led to his birth. One day, a group of paupers were invited into the humble home of Reb Lipman and his wife. One of the paupers was severely infected with sores, but Reb Lipman’s wife, Mirel the tzaddekes, cared for him with great kindness. The sick pauper blessed her: “May it be Hashem’s will that you bear children like me,” and then, before she had a chance to respond to his disturbing blessing, vanished.

In due time, the couple bore a distinguished family of tzaddikim and tzidkaniyos, of whom the best known were the Rebbe Reb Zusha of Anipoli and the Rebbe Reb Elimelech of Lizhensk.

From childhood on, Reb Zusha was outstanding in his search for the truth, and never stopped inquiring how he could serve Hashem better. In his youth he served as a shamash in the town of Ostroha, and would often fast two or three days before requesting any food from the locals.

At one point, he heard of the Baal Shem Tov and set out to meet him, but on the way he turned back. A year or two later he reconsidered, wishing to learn from the Baal Shem Tov, but before he could set out, he heard that the Baal Shem Tov had already been niftar.

Instead, Reb Zusha became familiar with Chassidus through the Maggid of Mezhritch, Reb Dov Ber. Reb Zusha came to be one of Reb Dov Ber’s greatest disciples.

Reb Zusha brought his younger brother, Reb Elimelech, to the Maggid, and together the two brothers became leaders of Chassidus.

The “galus journeys” undertaken by Reb Zusha and Reb Elimelech are well known. During their travels, they brought many a straying soul back to Yiddishkeit and saved thousands of Yidden from sin. Their sole mission was to bring Jews closer to Hashem.

Reb Zusha lived to the age of 77 and was niftar on 2 Shevat 5560/1800, which was 13 years after the petirah of his brother, the Rebbe Reb Elimelech. He is buried in Anipoli near his Rebbe, the Maggid.

His Torah thoughts are printed in Menoras Hazahav and Toras HaRebbe Reb Zusha.

Zechuso yagen aleinu.


 

Jan. 22

In 1498, during his third voyage to the Western Hemisphere, Christopher Columbus arrived at the present-day Caribbean island of St. Vincent.

In 1917, President Woodrow Wilson pleaded for an end to war in Europe, calling for “peace without victory.” (By April, however, America also was at war.)

In 1944, during World War II, Allied forces began landing at Anzio, Italy.

In 1957, suspected “Mad Bomber” George P. Metesky was arrested in Waterbury, Connecticut. (He was later found mentally ill and  was committed until 1973; he died in 1994.)

In 1970, the first regularly scheduled commercial flight of the Boeing 747 began in New York and ended in London some 6 1/2 hours later.

In 1973, former President Lyndon B. Johnson died at his Texas ranch at age 64.

In 1995, Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy died at the Kennedy compound at Hyannis Port, Massachusetts, at age 104.