This Day in History – 24 Cheshvan/November 17

This is a 1868 photograph of the construction crew of the Union Pacific Railroad. The location is unknown. (AP Photo)
This is a 1868 photograph of the construction crew of the Union Pacific Railroad. The location is unknown. (AP Photo)

In 5701/1940, the SS Patria, with 1,900 desperate immigrants aboard, blew up and sank in Haifa port. Two hundred Jews drowned.


5404/1643, Harav Avraham Azulai, zt”l, mechaber of the Chessed L’Avraham

5524/1763, Harav Gedalyah of Zalkah, zt”l

5625/1864, Harav Chaim Yosef Brukstein of Pistin, zt”l

5663/1902, Harav Dovid Twersky of Makarov, zt”l

5668/1907, Harav Hillel Moshe Meshil Gelbstein, zt”l

5748/1987, Harav Rafael Dovid Auerbach, zt”l, Rosh Yeshivah of Yeshivas Shaar Hashamayim


5710/1949, Harav Gedalyah Moshe of Zhvil, zt”l

Harav Gedalyah Moshe Goldman was the son of Harav Shlomo (Reb Shlomke) of Zhvil. Born on 26 Iyar 5647/1887, he was named Gedalyah after his maternal grandfather, Harav Gedalyah of Linitz, and Moshe after his paternal grandfather, Harav Moshe of Zhvil, founder of the dynasty.

He married the daughter of Harav Dovid Shlomo (grandson of Harav Moshe Kobriner). He lived near his father-in-law for several years, devoting himself solely to learning and receiving semichah from many of the Gedolei Hador, among them Harav Chaim of Brisk.

Like his forefathers he loved all Yidden and excelled in his devotion to the public.

In 5669/1909, when he was just 20, a delegation of the community in Zhvil asked him to be their Rav.

When the Soviets rose to power, Reb Gedalyah Moshe was sentenced to eight years in Siberia for “leading a group to undermine the government and spying on behalf of the enemy.”

Later, upon his release, he was appointed Rav in a city near Moscow.

In 5697/1937, Reb Gedalyah Moshe managed to flee to Eretz Yisrael, where he lived simply in Yerushalayim.

After his father’s petirah in 5705/1945, Reb Gedalyah Moshe accepted the mantle of leadership as Zhviller Rebbe but served for only four and a half years. Crushed by the travails of his people, he was niftar on 24 Cheshvan, 5710/1949.

Reb Gedalyah Moshe was buried in a small cemetery in Sheikh Badar. The location of his kever was not known by many for a long time, but in recent years it has become a makom tefillah.

His son Harav Mordechai succeeded him as Rebbe.

Zechuso yagen aleinu.

Nov. 17

In 1558, Elizabeth I acceded to the English throne upon the death of Queen Mary.

In 1800, Congress held its first session in Washington in the partially completed Capitol building.

In 1869, the Suez Canal opened in Egypt.

In 1889, the Union Pacific Railroad Co. began direct, daily railroad service between Chicago and Portland, Oregon, as well as Chicago and San Francisco.

In 1947, President Harry S. Truman, in an address to a special session of Congress, called for emergency aid to Austria, Italy and France. (The aid was approved the following month.)

In 1973, President Richard Nixon told Associated Press managing editors in Orlando, Florida: “People have got to know whether or not their president is a crook. Well, I’m not a crook.”

In 1979, Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini ordered the release of 13 black and/or female American hostages being held at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran.