This Day In History 22 Teves/January 20

Harav Shalom Moskowitz, zy”a, the Shotzer Rebbe.

In 5558/1798, anti-Jewish riots erupted in Ancona, Italy, a day after a “local” Purim which had been celebrated since 5451/1691. Mobs attempted to set fire to the ghetto and sack it.


Yahrtzeiten

5581/1820, Harav Avraham of Tiktin, zt”l, mechaber of Pesach Habayis

5644/1884, Harav Shmuel Heller, zt”l, Rav of Tzfas

5674/1914, Harav Avraham Eiger, zt”l, the Shevet MiYehudah of Lublin


5718/1958, Harav Shalom Moskowitz, the Shotzer Rebbe, zy”a

Harav Shalom Moskowitz was born in Suceava, Romania, on 17 Kislev 5638/1877. His father was Harav Mordechai Yosef Moshe of Sulitza. Named after his mother’s great-grandfather, the Sar Shalom of Belz, he was a fifth-generation descendant of Harav Yechiel Michel of Zlotchov.

After learning in Shotz, he traveled to the famed Maharsham, Harav Shalom Schwadron of Berzhan, to learn; later, he received semichah from his Rebbe. He stayed in the home of the Maharsham for practical experience in psak halachah.

He married the daughter of his father’s brother, Rav Meir.

In 5663/1903, Reb Shalom was appointed Rav in Shotz, a position he held until 5679/1919. Among his talmidim during those years was Harav Meir Shapiro, zt”l, Rav of Lublin and founder of Yeshivas Chachmei Lublin.

During World War I, Reb Shalom moved to Cologne, Germany, where a group of Chassidim who had also settled there gathered round him. After the war, he moved to Tarnow, Galicia.

In 5687/1927, Reb Shalom arrived in England, settling in Stamford Hill, a part of London where not many chassidic Jews lived then. He established his beis medrash and became known as the Shotzer Rebbe.

Many of London’s leading talmidei chachamim visited the home of Reb Shalom to discuss Torah and present halachic queries. Reb Shalom was well known for hachnasas orchim; he would host many people at one time.

Reb Shalom was fluent in both the revealed Torah and in Kabbalah. His lifestyle was one of holiness and simplicity.

His sons were Harav Yitzchak, Harav Yaakov and Harav Yechiel Michel, all of whom were niftar in his lifetime. His sons-in-law were Harav Yoel of Shotz-Yerushalayim; Harav Yissachar Ber Rottenberg of Voidislav; and Harav Yaakov Halberstam of Tchakava.

Reb Shalom wrote several volumes of Daas Shalom, which were arranged according to the order of Perek Shirah.

He was niftar in London on 22 Teves 5718/1958, and buried in the Adath Yisrael cemetery in Enfield, where an ohel was built over his grave.

The lines that have become famous in the tzavaah of the Rebbe read: “Should a person be in need of a refuah or any other yeshuah, for himself or on behalf of another person, he should visit my kever, light candles and make his request. He must undertake an addition or improvement in his avodas Hashem. I will then beseech my heilige zeides that they intercede on his behalf before the Kisei Hakavod.”

Many people testify that their tefillos were answered. Every Erev Shabbos, as well as on the day of the Rebbe’s yahrtzeit, the ohel is full of mispallelim.

Zechuso yagen aleinu.


Jan. 20

In 1265, England’s first representative parliament met for the first time.

In 1887, the U.S. Senate approved an agreement to lease Pearl Harbor in Hawaii as a naval base.

In 1937, President Franklin D. Roosevelt became the first chief executive to be inaugurated on Jan. 20 instead of March 4.

In 1942, Nazi officials held the notorious Wannsee conference, during which they arrived at their “final solution” that called for annihilating Europe’s Jews.