This Day In History 25 Kislev/December 13

First day of Chanukah

In 2450/1312 B.C.E., the Mishkan was completed. It was not assembled, however, until three months later.


Yahrtzeiten

5519/1758, Harav Shlomo Zalman of Vilna, zt”l, father of the Gra

5546/1785, Harav Uziel Meisels, zt”l, mechaber of Menorah Hatehorah

5574/1813, Harav Baruch Yeitles, zt”l, mechaber of Taam Hamelech

5587/1826, Harav Avraham Shalom Mizrachi Sharabi, zt”l, mechaber of Divrei Shalom

5632/1871, Harav Yaakov Yokel Ettlinger, zt”l, the Aruch La’ner

5752/1991, Harav Avraham Mordechai Nissim Harari-Raful, zt”l, zekan rabbanei Sepharad.


5692/1931, Harav Chaim Hager of Antiniya, zt”l, mechaber of Tal Chaim

Harav Chaim Hager, son of Rav Baruch, Rebbe of Vizhnitz, zy”a, was born on 23 Iyar 5623/1863 in Vizhnitz and named after his paternal grandfather, Rav Chaim of Kossov, zy”a.

At just thirteen he was given semichah by the Gedolim of his generation: Harav Shloime Drimmer, the Beis Shlomo, Harav Yaakov Weidenfeld, and Harav Yitzchak Shmelkish, zecher tzaddikim livrachah.

He married the daughter of Harav Yitzchak Friedman of Bohush, zy”a. (After the passing of his first wife Rav Chaim married the daughter of Rav Shraga Yair of Bialobrzhig, a descendant of the Yehudi Hakadosh of Peshischa, and after her passing he married the daughter of Harav Tzvi Hirsh Horowitz of Rozvedov, zechusam yagein aleinu.)

After the petirah of his father on 20 Kislev 5653/1892, Rav Chaim was appointed Rebbe in Antiniya, near Stanislav. Many of the Vizhnitzer Chassidim in the region accepted him as their Rebbe. He built a large beis medrash with room for thousands of Chassidim.

Rav Chaim would learn day and night, with great hasmadah.

In 5655/1895, Rav Chaim was appointed Nasi of Kollel Bukovina in Eretz Yisrael.

He wrote many chiddushei Torah, and in 5672/1912, he turned over the manuscripts of his works to Reb Yosef Friedman of Gvodzhitz for printing. These included Os Chaim on the works of the Rishonim and Acharonim; Matza Chaim on Shulchan Aruch; Zecher Chaim on Shas; and Tiv Chaim, on Kabbalah. Unfortunately, these manuscripts were lost during World War I and were never published.

During that war Rav Chaim fled to Vienna, where he lived for nearly four years. Returning to Romania, he settled in Stanislav because Antiniya was totally destroyed.

At the beginning of 5692/1931, Rav Chaim became sick with a fatal disease. He traveled to doctors in Vienna, who sent him for surgery to Krakow; but the operation was not successful, and Rav Chaim was niftar the first night of Chanukah, 25 Kislev 5692/1931.

After World War II, Reb Chaim Waltzer published Nimukei Chaim, a part of Rav Chaim’s works on halachah, and Tal Chaim, his divrei Torah and chassidus.

Zechuso yagen aleinu.


Dec. 13

In 1642, Dutch navigator Abel Tasman sighted present-day New Zealand.

In 1862, Union forces led by Maj. Gen. Ambrose Burnside launched futile attacks against entrenched Confederate soldiers during the Civil War Battle of Fredericksburg; the soundly defeated Northern troops withdrew two days later.

In 1918, President Woodrow Wilson arrived in France, becoming the first chief executive to visit Europe while in office.

In 2003, Saddam Hussein was captured by U.S. forces while hiding in a hole under a farmhouse in Adwar, Iraq, near his hometown of Tikrit.