This Day in History – 25 Adar II/April 1

The kever of Harav Gershon of Kitov on Har Hazeisim.

25 Adar

Today was the first day of Creation, according to Rabi Yehoshua in Rosh Hashanah 10:2; according to Rabi Eliezer, 25 Elul was the first day.

In 3365, Nevuchadnetzar the king of Bavel, died. [There are a number of opinions regarding the sequence of events of the next few days; we will adopt the Braisa of Seder Olam. See Luach D’var Yom B’Yomo for further discussion of this topic.]

In 4941/1181, the King of France ordered all Jews in Paris attending shul on Shabbos to be detained for ransom.

In 5109/1349, the Jews of Strasbourg, France, were burned in the Jewish cemetery, Hy”d.

In 5256/1496, the Jews of Corinthia, Austria, were expelled, and not readmitted until 5608/1848.

Yahrtzeiten

5722/1962, Harav Dovid Shfarber, zt”l, Rav of Brashov and mechaber of Teshuvos Afarkasta d’Anya

5730/1970, Harav Yitzchak Abuchatzeira, zt”l, known as the Baba Chaki

5733/1973, Harav Salman Chugi Avudi, zt”l, Raavad of the Sephardic kehillah in Yerushalayim

5763/2003, Harav Yisrael Yaakov Fisher, zt”l, Rav of Zichron Moshe, and Raavad of the Eidah Chareidis of Yerushalyim


5521/1761

Harav Gershon of Kitov, Zy”a

Harav Gershon Kitover was the son of Harav Efraim Kitover; it appears that he was born in Kitov. His date of birth is unknown. Later he moved to Brodi, where he became one of the members of the famous Brodi kloiz, an assemblage of lamdanim and ovdei Hashem; subsequently he also served as a Dayan. He married Rebbetzin Bluma, a”h.

Rav Gershon’s sister married the holy Baal Shem Tov, even though at that time he opposed the Baal Shem Tov strongly. After realizing the hidden ways of his saintly brother-in-law, though, he became his devoted talmid, spending time with the Baal Shem Tov in Mezhibuzh, and teaching his son, Rav Tzvi.

Rav Gershon had a prolific, on-going correspondence with many contemporary Rabbanim such as the Noda BiYehudah. The Pri Megadim in Hilchos Tishah B’Av cites a pshat in the name of Reb Gershon, and Harav Yonasan Eibeshitz wrote about him, “Harav hechassid hamuflag baTorah u’mekubal Eloki.”

Once when a person of influence wanted to marry an agunah, Rav Gershon, together with other contemporary Rabbanim, would not permit it despite threats of brutal punishment by the authorities. He managed to escape by a miracle. It is told that the Baal Shem Tov promised him that in the merit of his steadfastness he would lead a community in Eretz Yisrael.

In 5507/1747, he ascended to Eretz Yisrael and settled first in Chevron and later in Yerushalayim.

He would occasionally travel to Yerushalayim. The Ashkenazic community begged him to move to Yerushalayim and serve as their manhig; he refused, despising honor and wanting to serve Hashem in his own hidden way. Eventually, in 5513/1753, he agreed after persistent requests that he accept the position.

From Eretz Yisrael he maintained constant contact with his brother-in-law, the Baal Shem Tov

His kever, and the kevarim of other family members, were re-discovered on Har Hazeisim after the Six-Day War.

Zechuso yagen aleinu.


April 1

In 1789, the U.S. House of Representatives held its first full meeting in New York; Frederick Muhlenberg of Pennsylvania was elected the first House speaker.

In 1933, Nazi Germany staged a daylong national boycott of Jewish-owned businesses.

In 1954, the United States Air Force Academy was established by President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

In 1976, Apple Computer was founded by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne.