This Day in History – 24 Iyar/May 9

In 5705/1945, the Mauthausen concentration camp, where over 200,000 were killed, was liberated.


5671/1911, Harav Yitzchak Feigenbaum, Rav of Warsaw, zt”l

5704/1944, Harav Yisrael Shalom Yosef, Rebbe of Antinya, Hy”d

5739/1979, Harav Binyamin Mendelsohn, Rav of Komemiyus, zt”l

5658/1898, Harav Eliezer Tzvi, Rebbe of Komarna, Zy”a

Harav Eliezer Tzvi was born in 5590/1830 to Harav Yitzchak Yehuda Eizik Yechiel of Komarna, zy”a. Rav Eliezer Tzvi became a disciple of Harav Yitzchak Eizik of Ziditchov, zy”a, as well as of Harav Yehuda Tzvi of Razlo, zy”a. He was a son-in-law of the Divrei Chaim of Sanz, zy”a.

Rav Eliezer Tzvi succeeded his father as Rebbe in Komarna, where he remained until his petirah. He was expert in nigleh and nistar and known for his exalted middos, particularly his humility.

Rav Eliezer Tzvi was reluctant to become Rebbe. When Rosh Hashanah arrived, a large following of his father’s Chassidim came to Komarna expecting him to lead them, and so he acquiesced. A final sign of approval from Heaven came in his first kvittel, which carried the name Rivka bas Yehudis, the initial letters of which spell “Rebbe.”

About five weeks later, Rav Eliezer Tzvi decided to travel to his father-in-law, the Divrei Chaim, to receive a brachah for his new role. He arrived for Shabbos with a group of Chassidim, and was received very warmly by the Sanzer Rav. The Divrei Chaim asked him to lead Kabbalas Shabbos, a great honor in Sanz, and proposed that the new Komarna Rebbe hold a tisch of his own at his lodgings, after which he should join the Divrei Chaim’s tisch.

Rav Eliezer Tzvi did so, although some of the townspeople of Sanz disapproved of holding any other tisch in town other than their Rebbe’s. But the Sanzer Rav made his opinion clear later that evening when he seated the Komarna Rebbe beside him at his own tisch and treated him with great respect.

Rav Eliezer Tzvi wrote a number of sefarim, including Ben Beisi on Chumash, the five Megillos and Tehillim; Zaken Beisi on Pirkei Avos; Rosh Beisi on Tikkunei HaZohar; Avi Ezri and Damesek Eliezer on the Zohar and Or Einayim on Kabbalah. Not all were published; some were only partially published.

In the introduction to Or Einayim, Rav Eliezer Tzvi writes: “After the petirah of my master, father, teacher and Rebbe, zy”a, I traveled to my father-in-law, the saintly holy man Harav Hagaon Rav Chaim Halberstam, zy”a. He heard that I had written a manuscript and asked to see it. He looked it over during Sunday night of Parashas Lech Lecha 5635/1874. On Monday morning after davening, when I was taking my leave of him to return home, he told me that he had looked over my sefer and had seen some wonderful things in it that were important for holy baalei nefesh. Therefore, he urged me to publish the sefer as soon as possible, for it was needed.”

Zechuso yagen aleinu.

May 9

In 1754, a cartoon in Benjamin Franklin’s Pennsylvania Gazette showed a snake cut into sections, each part representing an American colony; the caption read, “Join or die.”

In 1913, the 17th amendment to the Constitution, providing for the election of U.S. senators by popular vote rather than selection by state legislatures, was ratified.

In 1945, with World War II in Europe at an end, Soviet forces liberated Czechoslovakia from Nazi occupation.

In 1926, Americans Richard Byrd and Floyd Bennett became the first men to fly over the North Pole.

In 1974, the House Judiciary Committee opened hearings on whether to recommend the impeachment of President Nixon.

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