This Day In History 21 Kislev/December 21

In 5505/1744, Austrian forces massacred many Jews in Prague, Hy”d.

5705/1944, The Satmar Rebbe Harav Yoel Teitelbaum, zy”a, was rescued from the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. The Satmar kehillah celebrates this day as a Yom Tov.


5531/1770, Harav Binyamin Rappaport, zt”l, Rav of Kalisch

5596/1835, Harav Yaakov Kopel Charif, zt”l, Rav of Verboi

5615/1854, Harav Yaakov Meir Padwa of Brisk, zt”l, mechaber of Mekor Mayim Chaim on Yoreh Deah

5684/1923, Harav Yosef Pressburger, zt”l, Rav of Mattersdorf and mechaber of Tiferes Yosef

5701/1940, Harav Moshe Shmuel Brisk of Budapest, zt”l

5716/1955, Harav Yochanan of Stolin, zy”a

5721/1960, Harav Tzvi Pesach Frank, zt”l, Rav of Yerushalayim

5624/1863, Harav Naftali Halberstam of Cherkass, zy”a, mechaber of Ayalah Sheluchah

Harav Naftali Halberstam was the oldest son of Harav Yechezkel Shraga of Shinev. He was born on 14 Cheshvan 5598/1837 in Ujhel, hometown of his maternal grandfather, the Yismach Moshe. The Divrei Chaim of Sanz traveled to Hungary to attend the bris of his first grandson; he was honored with sandaka’us. The mohel was Harav Yechezkel Shraga (the father) himself. The other grandfather, the Yismach Moshe, was honored with the brachos and giving the name.

The minhag of the Yismach Moshe at a bris was to announce the child’s name without consulting the father first. Harav Yechezkel Shraga hoped that his father-in-law would give the name Naftali to the child, after Harav Naftali of Ropshitz. To the surprise of all, when he was about to give the name, the Yismach Moshe turned to his son-in-law to ask what he wanted to call the boy, to which he answered “Naftali.” After the bris, the Yismach Moshe told Harav Yechezkel Shraga that he had intended to give the name Naftali, but he wanted to honor him with saying it first.

Reb Naftali married the daughter of Harav Aharon Horowitz, the son of Harav Asher of Ropshitz. In his zivug sheini, he married the daughter of Harav Noach Shmayah, son-in-law of Harav Yaakov Yisrael of Cherkass, son of Harav Mordechai of Chernobyl. Reb Naftali settled in Cherkass near his new wife’s grandfather. There, he learned bchavrusa with his uncle, Harav Mordechai Dov of Hornisteipel.

Reb Naftali was niftar when he was just 26 years old. A day before his sudden petirah, he had finished learning a sugya with his chavrusa and was feeling weak; he wanted to go home to rest. Reb Mordechai Dov told Reb Naftali that he could leave, but tomorrow they would begin the new sugya. Reb Naftali replied, eerily prophetic, that tomorrow he will already be in Gan Eden

Reb Naftali was niftar on 21 Kislev 5624/1863, during Tachanun of Minchah. He was buried in Cherkass.

Since he was niftar childless, his brother Reb Moshe of Shinev came to Cherkass to perform chalitzah, thus enabling the almanah to remarry.

Reb Yechezkel Shraga published the chiddushim of his son under the name Ayalah Sheluchah, based on the passukNaftali ayalah sheluchah.”

Zechuso yagen aleinu.

Dec. 21

In 1620, Pilgrims aboard the Mayflower went ashore for the first time at present-day Plymouth, Massachusetts.

In 1864, during the Civil War, Union forces led by Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman concluded their “March to the Sea” as they captured Savannah, Georgia.

In 1968, Apollo 8 was launched on a mission to orbit the moon.

In 1991, 11 of the 12 former Soviet republics proclaimed the birth of the Commonwealth of Independent States and the death of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.