25 Adar II
Today was the first day of Creation, according to Rabi Yehoshua (Rosh Hashanah 10:2); according to Rabi Eliezer it was on 25 Elul.
In 3365/396 B.C.E., 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, not to be readmitted until 5608/1848.
5521/1761, Harav Gershon of Kitov, zt”l
5730/1970, Harav Yitzchak Abuchatzeira, zt”l, known as the Baba Chaki (Adar II)
5733/1973, Harav Salman Chugi Avudi, zt”l, Raavad of the Sephardic kehillah in Yerushalayim
5763/2003, Harav Yisrael Yaakov Fischer, zt”l, Rav of Zichron Moshe and Raavad of the Eidah Hachareidis of Yerushalayim
Harav Dovid Sperber, zt”l, the Brashover Rav and Mechaber of Afarkasta De’anya
Harav Dovid Sperber was born in 5637/1877 in Zablatov, Galicia. His father, Harav Baruch Klonymus, was a chassid of Harav Chaim of Kossov, the Toras Chaim.
As a young bachur, Reb Dovid left home to learn under Harav Meir Arik, the Imrei Yosher. In those years he became close with Harav Moshe of Kossov, who appointed him to oversee the editing and publication of his sefarim.
Reb Dovid also visited the courts of the leading Rebbes of Hungary.
Reb Dovid married Chayah Sarah, the daughter of Harav Moshe Stern, Rav of Polen-Riskava. Rav Moshe was a grandson of Harav Yehudah Kahana, the mechaber of Kuntres Hasfeikos and Trumas Hakri, the brother of Harav Aryeh Leib, the Ketzos Hachoshen.
Reb Dovid’s first rabbinic post was in Polen-Riskava, where he led in accordance with the dictum of Chazal: “The talmidei chachamim in the city are responsible for all its affairs.” For example, in addition to the traditional functions of a Rav, his activities included nursing cholera victims during an epidemic and organizing armed self-defense bands during a pogrom.
Reb Dovid was known as the Brashover Rav, after the Romanian city where he served beginning in 5682/1922. Known as a Gadol baTorah and one of the foremost poskim in Romania, Reb Dovid was appointed chairman of the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah in Romania.
In his great humility, Reb Dovid used to blush whenever he heard himself referred to as a gaon. In his writings he expressed regret that he was never able to establish a yeshivah, and possibly did not leave any worthy talmidim — a fear which was unfounded.
Reb Dovid was also active in communal work, especially in rescue efforts during the Holocaust, made possible by the fact that Romanian Jews were protected (though not well-treated) by their government. Reb Dovid served as the representative of the Vaad Hatzalah of America in Romania.
He later told his children that he wanted to be remembered as one who shared in the suffering of other Jews and as one who tried to attain the true meaning of Torah.
In 5710/1950, Reb Dovid moved to Eretz Yisrael, settling in Yerushalayim, where he continued to be active in public affairs. He was appointed to the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah of Agudath Israel, and was also active in the establishment of Chinuch Atzmai in Eretz Yisrael.
Reb Dovid was niftar on Shabbos afternoon, 25 Adar II, 5722/1962, at the age of 85. He was buried on Har Hamenuchos in Yerushalayim.
His sons are Rav Shmuel of London and Rav Baruch of Yerushalayim; his son-in-law was Harav Yehoshua Deutsch, famed Rav of the Katamon section of Yerushalayim.
Reb Dovid authored many sefarim, but is best-known for his four-volume responsa, She’eilos U’teshuvos Afarkasta De’anya. Other works include Michtam LeDovid on the Torah, Yamim Tovim, Pirkei Avos and Tehillim; and Shamoa Bein Acheichem.
Zecher tzaddik livrachah.
In 1513, Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon sighted present-day Florida.
In 1625, Charles I acceded to the English throne upon the death of James I.
In 1794, Congress approved “An Act to provide a Naval Armament” of six armed ships.
In 1884, the first telephone line between Boston and New York was inaugurated.
In 1912, first lady Helen Herron Taft and the wife of Japan’s ambassador to the United States, Viscountess Chinda, planted in Washington the first two of 3,000 cherry trees given as a gift by the mayor of Tokyo.
In 1933, Japan officially withdrew from the League of Nations.
In 1942, American servicemen were granted free mailing privileges.
In 1958, Nikita Khrushchev became Soviet premier in addition to First Secretary of the Communist Party.
In 1964, Alaska was hit by a magnitude 9.2 earthquake (the strongest on record in North America) and tsunamis that together claimed about 130 lives.
In 1968, Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, the first man to orbit the Earth, died in a plane crash.