This Day in History – 26 Kislev/November 29

Richard E. Byrd's Ford Tri-Motor before the letters "Floyd Bennett" were painted on it. Edsel Ford donated a Ford Tri-Motor airplane to Byrd which would be used to attempt the first flight over the South Pole. (Naval History and Heritage Command)
Richard E. Byrd’s Ford Tri-Motor before the letters “Floyd Bennett” were painted on it. Edsel Ford donated a Ford Tri-Motor airplane to Byrd which would be used to attempt the first flight over the South Pole. (Naval History and Heritage Command)

26 Kislev

In 4856/1095, the First Crusade was proclaimed. As they trekked toward Eretz Yisrael, the crusaders killed tens of thousands of Jews all across Europe. Hy”d.


4959/1198, Harav Avraham ben David, zt”l, the Raavad

5654/1893, Harav Shlomo Zalman Spitzer of Vienna, zt”l

5674/1913, Harav Yosef of Koidinov, zt”l

5731/1970, Harav Yehoshua Zelig Diskin, zt”l, Rav of Pardes Chana



Harav Elazar Hopstein of Kozhnitz, zt”l

Harav Elazar of Kozhnitz was the son of Harav Moshe Elyakim Beriya and his second Rebbetzin, Sheina Perel. His paternal grandfather was the Maggid Harav Yisrael of Kozhnitz (the Avodas Yisrael), and his maternal grandfather was Harav Elazar (son of Harav Elimelech of Lizhensk), after whom he was named.

He married the daughter of Harav Yaakov of Melitz, son of Harav Naftali of Ropshitz, who supported him. When Harav Naftali was niftar in 5587/1827, Harav Elazar returned to his father in Kozhnitz; unfortunately, a year later his father was niftar.

Kozhnitz chassidim asked his cousin Harav Chaim Meir Yechiel, the Saraf of Moglinitza, to lead them. But Reb Elazar chose Reb Yeshayah of Pshedburz as his Rebbe, at the behest of his father, according to tradition, who came to him in a dream.

When Reb Elazar arrived in Pshedburz, the tzaddik was waiting to greet him dressed in Shabbos attire. Joyfully, Reb Yeshayah said, “Let me tell you why you were sent to me. The way of the world is that when people plant trees, they support the tender saplings by tying them to sticks until the trees grow strong enough to stand on their own. Then people take the sticks away.”

He was a chassid of Harav Yeshayah for four years, until Harav Yeshayah’s petirah in 5592, after which Reb Elazar considered the Saraf of Moglinitza his Rebbe. Only after the Saraf was niftar did Reb Elazar lead Kozhnitz Chassidus.

This he did with the Saraf’s blessing. On the last Shabbos of the Saraf’s life, he was serving as baal korei and honored Reb Elazar with the third aliyah. The parashah was Miketz, and one of the pesukim of the third aliyah is Pharaoh’s statement to Yosef, “You shall be over my house, and at your word shall all of my people be provided for.” His eyes streaming with tears, the Saraf read this verse three times, loudly and directly to Reb Elazar, before continuing with the kriah. When the Saraf was niftar later that week, the chassidim knew just whom he had chosen to succeed him.

Harav Elazar was physically weak, but this did not deter him from traveling to visit his chassidim. Once when his wife tried to hold him back, he said, “What can I do? If I have the merit that Yidden who look at me gain benefit from it, how can I withhold this benefit from them? I must go!”

His ahavas Yisrael was profound, and he always found good in all. He was famous for promoting shalom and achdus in Klal Yisrael.

Rav Elazar was niftar on 26 Kislev 5624/1863. Thirty-two years after his petirah, Likutei Mahara was published from notes of his divrei Torah.

Zechuso yagen aleinu.


November 29

In 1864, a Colorado militia killed at least 150 peaceful Cheyenne Indians in the Sand Creek Massacre.

In 1929, Navy Lt. Cmdr. Richard E. Byrd, pilot Bernt Balchen, radio operator Harold June and photographer Ashley McKinney made the first airplane flight over the South Pole.

In 1947, the U.N. General Assembly passed a resolution calling for the partitioning of Palestine between Arabs and Jews.

In 1952, President-elect Dwight D. Eisenhower secretly left on a trip to Korea, keeping his campaign promise to assess the ongoing conflict first-hand.

In 1961, Enos the chimp was launched from Cape Canaveral aboard the Mercury-Atlas 5 spacecraft, which orbited earth twice before returning.

In 1987, a Korean Air 707 jetliner en route from Abu Dhabi to Bangkok was destroyed by a bomb planted by North Korean agents with the loss of all 115 people aboard.

In 1989, in response to a growing pro-democracy movement in Czechoslovakia, the Communist-run Parliament ended the party’s 40-year monopoly on power.