This Day in History – 27 Elul/September 27

27 Elul

Fourth day of Creation; Hashem affixed the sun, moon and stars in the sky.

In 5468/1708, Peter the Great ordered 13 of his soldiers who participated in anti-Jewish riots to be hanged.

In 5609/1849, the first shul was established in South Africa.

In 5661/1901, the village of Gedera in Eretz Yisrael was attacked by Arabs.

Yahrtzeiten

2882, Shaul Hamelech and his three sons, who were killed in the war of Gilboa.

5334/1574, Harav Saadya, zt”l, the father-in-law of Harav Chaim Vital.


5714/1954

Harav Chaim Yehudah Leib
Auerbach, zt”l, Rosh Yeshivas Shaar Hashamayim

Born in 5647/1887, Harav Chaim Leib grew up in Yerushalayim. At eighteen he received semichah from Harav Chaim Berlin, zt”l, of Yerushalayim. In 5667/1907 he married the daughter of Harav Shlomo Zalman Parush, one of the foremost askanim of Yerushalayim at that time.

Rav Chaim Leib’s thirst for Torah was unquenchable. Even during his sheva brachos week he sat and learned all night with his brother-in-law, Harav Akiva Porush, zt”l. He became a devoted talmid of Harav Shimon Lider-Horowitz, from whom he learned Toras Hanistar.

One night he dreamed that the Arizal came to him and bemoaned the fact that few Yidden study his teachings, which have the power to redeem the Shechinah from galus. When he awoke he went straight to his Rebbi, Rav Shimon. It turned out that his Rebbi had had that same dream. So Rebbi and talmid immediately set out to open a yeshivah for Toras Ha’Ari, which they called Yeshivas Shaar Hashamayim.

Rav Chaim Leib stood at the helm of the yeshivah his entire life.

During World War I, when the military draft menaced young Jewish men, Rav Chaim Leib acted with mesirus nefesh to save Yidden from serving in the Turkish army. He somehow obtained the title of ambassador for the Ethiopian embassy and issued Ethiopian citizenships for many Jews.

This was a great crime and easily detected, because Ethiopians are dark-skinned, and he issued the documents to lighter-skinned Yerushalmi Jews. Officially sentenced to death as a traitor, he hid out from the authorities for months after the war.

Rav Chaim Leib was among the founders of the Chassidic beis medrash in Shaarei Chessed, and served as its Rav.

He raised money for his yeshivah with tremendous mesirus nefesh. At times he gave away every penny he had and was left with nothing for his family.

The brachah he received from Reb Yosef Chaim Sonnenfeld is well known. Reb Yosef Chaim told him, “In the merit of all you do, you will merit children who will light up Klal Yisrael with their Torah and yirah.”

Indeed, his son was none other than Harav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, zt”l, and his son-in-laws were Harav Shalom Schwadron and Harav Simchah Bunim Leizerzohn (niftar in his prime), zecher tzaddikim livrachah.

Rav Chaim Leib suffered two heart attacks. After the second one, he suffered for some time, and was niftar at the age of sixty-eight on 27 Elul 5714/1954.

Zechuso yagen aleinu.


Sept. 27

In 1779, John Adams was named by Congress to negotiate the Revolutionary War’s peace terms with Britain.

In 1825, the first locomotive to haul a passenger train was operated by George Stephenson in England.

In 1991, President George H.W. Bush announced in a nationally broadcast address that he was eliminating all U.S. battlefield nuclear weapons, and called on the Soviet Union to match the gesture.

In 1996, in Afghanistan, the Taliban, a band of former seminary students, drove the government of President Burhanuddin Rabbani out of Kabul, captured the capital and executed former leader Najibullah.

In 2009, German Chancellor Angela Merkel won a second term, along with the center-right majority that had eluded her four years earlier, nudging Europe’s biggest economic power to the right.