This Day in History 20 Kislev/November 28

In 5557/1796, the first edition of the Tanya was printed.


5535/1774, Harav Feivish of Kremenitz, zt”l, mechaber of Mishnas Chachamim

5598/1837, Harav Dov Beirish of Ushpitzin, zt”l, mechaber of Divrei Tzaddikim

5681/1920, Harav Prag’i Alush of Djerba, zt”l, mechaber of Ohev Mishpat

5741/1980, Harav Yitzchak Hutner, zt”l, Rosh Yeshivah of Yeshivas Rabbeinu Chaim Berlin and mechaber of Pachad Yitzchak

5653/1892, Harav Baruch Hager, Zt”l, the Imrei Baruch of Vizhnitz

Harav Baruch of Vizhnitz was born in 5605/1845 to Harav Menachem Mendel of Vizhnitz, zy”a, the Tzemach Tzaddik, and his Rebbetzin, the daughter of Harav Yisrael of Ruzhin.

He was named after Harav Baruch of Mezibuzh, zy”a, at the request of his grandfather, the Ruzhiner.

Rav Baruch succeeded his father as Rebbe on Erev Rosh Chodesh Cheshvan 5645/1884 and served for eight years.

At first he refused to become Rebbe, but eventually conceded. Despite being a great talmid chacham and gaon, Rav Baruch would not say Torah at his tischen.

On one occasion, the Imrei Baruch visited Stroznitz, where Harav Simcha Ginzburg, zt”l, was Rav. As the crowd was joyfully greeting the Rebbe with torches and other displays of honor, the Rebbe invited Rav Simcha to join him in his carriage. “Do you know how I feel right now?” the Rebbe asked Rav Simcha. “I’ll describe it for you with a story.

“There is a widow in Vizhnitz with a sick daughter whom my father, zt”l, used to support. When I succeeded my father, I undertook to continue supporting them.

“One day, I heard a carriage clattering into my courtyard. I couldn’t figure out who it could be. Chassidim don’t come into the Rebbe’s courtyard with their carriages, and family members and other Rebbes usually send word in advance that they are coming.

“I sent my gabbai to see who it was, and he came back saying that it was the widow, coming to get her stipend. I was quite astonished that a poor widow would permit herself the luxury of a carriage, but my gabbai explained that she was very ill and could not walk. That was why she had hired a carriage.

“Imagine how that widow felt riding in that carriage. Did she feel proud in any way? So it is with me. I spend Shabbos in various towns because I have a large family, kein ayin hara, and many expenses. My riding in a carriage is just like that widow’s — out of necessity, not for honor or pleasure.”

One year, when Rosh Hashanah began on a Thursday, the Rebbe entered Shabbos thoroughly exhausted. Those close to him suggested that he not hold a tisch on Shabbos evening but make Kiddush privately instead.

The Rebbe replied, “Any Rebbe for whom it makes a difference whether he makes Kiddush for three people or for three thousand people is not worth traveling to.”

The Imrei Baruch passed away on Leil Shabbos, 20 Kislev 5653/1892.

Zechuso yagen aleinu.

Nov. 28

In 1520, Portuguese navigator Ferdinand Magellan reached the Pacific Ocean after sailing through the South American strait that now bears his name.

In 1861, the Confederate Congress admitted Missouri as the 12th state of the Confederacy after Missouri’s disputed secession from the Union.

In 1964, the United States launched the space probe Mariner 4 on a course toward Mars, which it flew past in July 1965, sending back pictures of the planet.

In 1990, Margaret Thatcher resigned as British prime minister during an audience with Queen Elizabeth II, who then conferred the premiership on John Major.

In 2001, Enron Corp., once the world’s largest energy trader, collapsed after would-be rescuer Dynegy Inc. backed out of an $8.4 billion takeover deal. (Enron filed for bankruptcy protection four days later.)