This Day In History 25 Iyar/May 10

Shaar blatt of Pnei Levi

25 Iyar

In 5115/1335, 1,200 Jews of Toledo, Spain, were massacred during a Christian and Moslem mob attack on the Jewish section.

Yahrtzeiten

5545/1785, Harav Shaul Halevi, zt”l, Rav of Hag and mechaber of Binyan Shaul

5592/1832, Harav Yaakov Loberbaum, zt”l, mechaber of Chavas Daas, Nesivos Hamishpat, and other sefarim

5614/1854, Harav Chaim, Rebbe of Kossov, zt”l, mechaber of Toras Chaim

5647/1887, Harav Avraham Yosef Ash, zt”l

5702/1942, Harav Yosef Patzinovsky, zt”l, mechaber of Pardes Yosef

5717/1957, Harav Chaim Chori, zt”l, Rav of Ghaba, Tunis, and mechaber of Matzah Chaim


5693/1933

Harav Naftali Yosef Freund, Zt”l, Rav of Ruzhan, Poland

Harav Naftali Yosef was born in 5620/1860. His father was Harav Avraham Menachem Halevi, zt”l, and his grandfather was Harav Naftali Hertz, zt”l, who was a Torah giant in his own right. Despite their greatness, these giants were unassuming.

A loyal Gerrer Chassid, Reb Naftali Hertz and his children traveled to the Chiddushei Harim and later to the Sfas Emes, zechusam yagein aleinu.

Rav Naftali Yosef learned in the great yeshivos of Europe where he excelled in his studies. As a bachur he corresponded with many Gedolei Torah, among them Harav Menachem Nachum Ginzburg, zt”l, who served as Dayan in Mezritch.

Rav Menachem Nachum was a fervent misnagid, despite being an uncle of the Imrei Emes of Ger. When he received the Torah letters of this young lad, he invited him to visit him.

During that visit, the elderly Rav and the young bachur discussed topics that spanned the entire gamut of Torah. Rav Menachem Nachum was so impressed by this bachur that he suggested him as a shidduch for his granddaughter, Fraidel.

After the chasunah, Rav Naftali Yosef desired to continue learning Torah undisturbed, but it was destined otherwise. His in-laws and grandfather-in-law disapproved of his frequent travels to Gur. When they asked his young wife to divorce him due to this, she refused, so they terminated financial support to the couple. Thereupon, at the age of 25, at the behest of his revered Rebbe, Rav Naftali Yosef accepted a rabbanus.

He initially served as Rav in Kodni, where he remained for six years. In 5651/1891 he was invited to become Rav in the small town of Ruzhan, Poland, where he remained for the rest of his life.

“The Ruzhaner Rav,” as he was called, strengthened Yiddishkeit greatly. He established a cheder and a kupas gemach, and upgraded the kehillah’s existing mosdos. His hasmadah impacted the entire shtetl; every Yid attended at least one Torah shiur.

Rav Naftali Yosef was so beloved in town that when the winds of haskalah and Zionism began to blow, his authority overrode their evil schemes. He established Tiferes Bachurim, where the youth and older bachurim gathered and learned. For the girls, he established a branch of Bais Yaakov in Ruzhan, led by his son-in-law, Harav Chaim Binyamin Veyernik, zt”l.

In 5664/1904 he published Pnei Levi, which contains she’eilos u’teshuvos, and also contains kuntres Notzer Habris.

Zechuso yagen aleinu.


May 10

In 1869, a golden spike was driven in Promontory, Utah, marking the completion of the first transcontinental railroad in the United States.

In 1924, J. Edgar Hoover was named acting director of the Bureau of Investigation, later known as the Federal Bureau of Investigation, or FBI.

In 1933, the Nazis staged massive public book burnings in Germany.

In 1940, during World War II, German forces began invading the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Belgium and France. The same day, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain resigned, and Winston Churchill formed a new government.