This Day in History – 24 Elul/September 19

In 3410/351 B.C.E., Hashem awakened the spirit of Zerubavel and Yehoshua Ben Yehotzadok to begin the work of building the Second Beis Hamikdash

In 5562/1802, anti-Jewish riots erupted in two Swiss cities.


 

Yahrtzeiten

5381/1621, Harav Mordechai Yaffa, zt”l, Rav in Vienna

5462/1702, Harav Moshe Charif, zt”l, Rav of Lvov

5575/1815, Harav Yosef Moshe Shapira of Zaloshitz, zt”l, the Bris Avram

5578/1818, Harav Avraham Yosef Igra of Zeshilin-Krakow, zt”l.

5693/1933, Harav Yisrael Meir Hakohen Kagan, the Chofetz Chaim, zt”l

5713/1953, Harav Bentzion Uziel, zt”l, first Sephardic Chief Rabbi of Israel.

5753/1993, Harav Chaim Milkovski, zt”l, father of the Amshinover Rebbe, shlita, of Bayit Vegan.


 

5736/1976, Harav Yechezkel Abramsky, zt”l

Harav Yechezkel Abramsky was born in a small shtetl near Vilna. He learned in the Novardok Yeshivah, and received semichah at 18 from Harav Yechiel Mechel Epstein, the Aruch Hashulchan. Later he learned in Telshe and in the Ramailles Yeshivah in Vilna.

Later, Harav Yisrael Yehonosan Yerushalemsky, Rav of Ihman, took him as a son-in-law. In his father-in-law’s home he advanced in hora’ah while continuing to learn in depth under Harav Chaim Brisker.

For a while he served as a R”M in the Lubavitcher Yeshivah; from there he went on to become a Rav in Smuliyan, and then in Smulevitch, near Minsk, where he stayed nine years. In 5683/1923 he became Rav in the city of Slutzk.

Slutzk, in Belarus, was already under Communist control. With mesirus nefesh Reb Yechezkel openly practiced Yiddishkeit, encouraging his flock and leading the charge. The Russians, unable to swallow the “brazen acts” of the Rav, exiled him to Siberia, where he suffered for two difficult years. Only after intense hishtadlus by many Gedolim was he freed, and told to leave the country.

He traveled to London, where he became Rav of the Machzikei Hadas kehillah. Later he became Chief Rabbi of Great Britain.

In 5711/1951 he reached Eretz Yisrael and settled in Bayit Vegan, Yerushalayim. Despite his advanced age, he traveled weekly to Bnei Brak to deliver shiurim in Yeshivas Slabodka.

His widely acclaimed sefer, Chazon Yechezkel on the Tosefta, was hailed by Torah leaders as a magnificent illumination of an area of Torah that had previously been obscure because of the many difficult passages it contained. He undertook this monumental task in response to a simple comment made by Harav Chaim Brisker that the available version of the Tosefta was full of errors. He also produced Dinei Mamonos and other sefarim.

Reb Yechezkel was niftar at the age of 90 on 24 Elul 5736/1976.

Zecher tzaddik livrachah.


 

Sept. 19

In 1796, President George Washington’s farewell address was published.

In 1881, the 20th president of the United States, James A. Garfield, died 2 1/2 months after being shot by Charles Guiteau; Chester Alan Arthur became president.

In 1945, Nazi radio propagandist William Joyce, known as “Lord Haw-Haw,” was convicted of treason and sentenced to death by a British court.

In 1957, the United States conducted its first contained underground nuclear test, code-named “Rainier,” in the Nevada desert.

In 1959, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev, visiting Los Angeles, reacted angrily upon being told that, for security reasons, he wouldn’t get to visit Disneyland.

In 1960, Cuban leader Fidel Castro, in New York to visit the United Nations, angrily checked out of the Shelburne Hotel in a dispute with the management; Castro ended up staying at the Hotel Theresa in Harlem.

In 1985, the Mexico City area was struck by a devastating earthquake that killed at least 9,500 people.

In 1989, a Paris-bound DC-10 belonging to French airline UTA was destroyed by a bomb over Niger, killing all 170 people on board. (A French court later convicted six Libyans in absentia for the bombing; Libya agreed in 2004 to pay $170 million in compensation, although it stopped short of acknowledging responsibility.)