This Day in History – 22 Shevat/January 23

22 Shevat

In 3801/41 C.E., Gaius Caligula, Emperor of Rome, was killed, and Shimon Hatzaddik, Kohen Gadol, heard a bas kol pronouncing the termination of his intention to profane the Beis Hamikdash with idols. The day is mentioned in Megillas Taanis to be observed as a Yom Tov.

In 5701/1941, Nazis raided Amsterdam’s Jewish community and detained 429 Jews.

Yahrtzeiten

5619/1859, Harav Menachem Mendel Morgenstern, zt”l, the Kotzker Rebbe

5660/1900, Harav Yehudah Leibish Landau of Sadigura, zt”l, mechaber of Yad Yehudah

5661/1901, Harav Yitzchak Chiyus of Brod, zt”l

5753/1993, Harav Yehudah Zev Segal, zt”l, the Manchester Rosh Yeshivah


 

5648/1888

Harav Yehudah Leib Eiger of Lublin, zt”l, the Toras Emes

Harav Yehudah Leib Eiger was born in Posen in 5576/1816. His father, Harav Shlomo, son of Harav Akiva Eiger, was Rav of the city. Young Leibel grew up on the knee of his illustrious grandfather.

When the family moved to Warsaw, Reb Leibel learned in the famous yeshivah of the Chiddushei Harim (later the Rebbe of Ger), where many top lomdim gathered.

The Chiddushei Harim attracted many of them to Chassidus, among them Reb Leibel. His father, Rav Shlomo, was upset, and sent him back to Posen where Chassidus had not yet appeared. Reb Leibel learned with his grandfather, saying later that these were his best learning years, and that he regretted not making the most of them.

In 5595/1835, Reb Leibel married the daughter of the nagid Reb Ezriel Gratenstein, and settled in his wife’s home town of Lublin. Lublin at that time was a metropolis of Chassidus, still under the influence of the Chozeh (despite his petirah several years earlier), and Reb Leibel found his place among the Chassidim. He davened in the beis medrash of the Chozeh.

The Kotkzer Rebbe lived at the time in Tomashov. Reb Leibel’s friends suggested that he join them on a nesiah to their Rebbe.

With the consent of his wife, and in spite of fierce opposition from his family and his in-laws, Reb Leibel traveled to Tomashov. His father and grandfather sent messengers to convince him to leave, but Reb Leibel stood firm: there he found his place and way of avodas Hashem, and he was there to stay. With time, resistance weakened — notably his grandfather’s, who saw that his intent was solely l’shem Shamayim.

Under the watchful eye of the Rebbe, Reb Leibel became a devoted chassid. The Rebbe appointed as his madrich in Chassidus one of the lions of the chaburah — Harav Mordechai Yosef of Izhbitza. Reb Leibel soon became one of the foremost Chassidim.

In 5600/1839, when Reb Mordechai Yosef left Kotzk and founded his own court in Izhbitza, Reb Leibel joined him. In Izhbitza, Reb Leibel was considered the right hand of Reb Mordechai Yosef.

After the petirah of Reb Mordechai Yosef on 7 Teves 5614/1854, Reb Leibel considered returning to Kotzk. He discussed this with Harav Tzadok Hakohen, another of the leading Chassidim in Izhbitza. Reb Tzadok returned to him with a kvittel, thus appointing him as new Rebbe.

Reb Leibel held court in Lublin, where he taught the ways of avodas Hashem. He was known for mofsim.

Despite agreeing to become a Rebbe, Reb Leibel didn’t deliver divrei Torah as long as the Kotkzer Rebbe was alive, in deference to his Rebbe. He kept many of the Kotzker ways, like lengthy preparations before davening, which were done with much emotion.

On 22 Shevat 5648/1888, the yahrtzeit of the Kotzker Rebbe, Reb Leibel was niftar at the age of 72 and buried in Lublin. He was succeeded by his son Harav Avraham.

Reb Leibel’s manuscripts, printed after his petirah, were Toras Emes and Imrei Emes.

Zechuso yagen aleinu.


 

January 23

In 1845, Congress decided all national elections would be held on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November.

In 1849, Prussia suggested German union without Austria.

In 1920, The Netherlands refused to surrender Germany’s former Kaiser Wilhelm II to the Allies for punishment as a World War I criminal.

In 1937, 17 communist leaders confessed in Moscow that they conspired with Leon Trotsky to undermine the Soviet regime of Josef Stalin in the “Great Purge.”

In 1950, the Knesset proclaimed Yerushalayim as Israel’s capital.

In 1964, the 24th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, eliminating the poll tax in federal elections, was ratified.

In 1968, North Korea seized the U.S. Navy ship Pueblo, charging it had intruded into the communist nation’s territorial waters on a spying mission. The crew was released 11 months later.

In 1973, President Richard M. Nixon announced that an accord had been reached in the Vietnam War.

In 1991, the Angolan government accepted a peace plan to end the 15-year-old civil war with UNITA rebels.

In 1993, Iraq denied that its anti-aircraft batteries fired at U.S. warplanes and again reaffirmed a cease-fire it declared.

In 1996, Yigal Amir confessed in court to killing Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.

In 1997, France’s highest court rejected a final appeal and ordered Maurice Papon, a former Vichy official, to stand trial for deporting Jews to death camps during World War II.

In 1998, Pakistani Mir Aimal Kasi was sentenced to death in Fairfax, Virginia, for a politically motivated ambush outside the headquarters of the CIA that left two men dead. He was executed in Nov. 2002.

In 2002, terrorists kidnapped Daniel Pearl, a reporter for the Wall Street Journal, in Karachi, Pakistan. Pearl, who had been working on a story about Islamist groups in that country, was later murdered. Hy”d.