This Day in History – 27 Shevat/January 28

27 Shevat

In 5343/1583, Joseph Sanalbo, a ger tzedek, was burned at the stake in Rome. Hy”d.


5625/1865, Harav Emanuel Weltfried of Pshedborzh, zt”l

5631/1871, Harav Menachem Nachum of Chernobyl, zt”l

5735/1975, Harav Yitzchak Bochnik, zt”l, of Djerba, Tunisia, mechaber of Vayomer Yitzchak and Bnei Chai

5742/1982, Harav Mordechai Shulman, zt”l, Rosh Yeshivah of Slabodka



Harav Alexander of Zolkov, zt”l, The Tevuos Shor

Harav Alexander Sender Shor was born into a family with impressive yichus. His father was Harav Efraim Zalman Shor of Zalkawa, who was descended from Rabbeinu Yosef Bechor Shor, one of the Baalei Tosafos. His mother was the daughter of Harav Sender, the son of Harav Meir, Rav of Brisk, who was the son-in-law of Harav Yaakov Temerles, mechaber of Sifra D’Tzniusa, and grandson of Harav Shalom Shachna of Lublin.

Reb Sender became known as an outstanding talmid chacham and a leading posek. His first Rabbinic position was in Hibniv, but after resigning from this post he returned to his hometown, Zalkawa. Despite the many appealing offers that came his way, he refused to take any another Rabbinic position.

Reb Sender stayed in his city, Zalkawa, for the rest of his life, supporting himself by making whiskey. It is related that the Baal Shem Tov once visited Zalkawa to observe and learn from the ways of Reb Sender, and to fulfill the mitzvah of serving talmidei chachamim.

Reb Sender was most famous for his sefarim: Simlah Chadashah on hilchos shechitah; and on treifos, Tevuos Shor, where he expounds on the halachos in his Simlah Chadashah; and Bechor Shor on Shas.

Not much is known about his life and times, but some of his grandchildren went on to become leading Gedolei Torah, notable among them Harav Efraim Zalman Margulies of Brody, author of Matteh Efraim, and Harav Alexander Sender Margulis of Satnav.

A close associate of Reb Sender, despite being much younger, was Reb Yitzchak Eizik of Zalkawa. They learned together for many years. In the last year of his life the Tevuos Shor, who was ill, followed doctors’ orders and traveled to a resort area. In the same period, Reb Yitzchak Eizik also took ill; he was niftar a few months before the Tevuos Shor. They tried to withhold the sad tidings about his close associate from the Tevuos Shor.

A few days before Reb Sender’s petirah, the community leaders came to visit him. In response to his question whether Reb Yitzchak Eizik was still alive, they said that he was. Reb Sender answered them that he knew they were lying, because he had seen Reb Yitzchak Eizik next to him, and he asked to be buried next to his friend.

After his petirah, the members of the local chevrah kaddisha went to look for a worthy plot for their venerated Rav, near Reb Yitzchak Eizik. They came and saw that there was no available spot in the vicinity, and they were sad that they weren’t able to fulfill the last wish of their Rav. Nevertheless, the head of the chevrah kaddisha started digging next to the kever of Reb Yitzchak Eizik, and to the great surprise of the people there, the ground opened and stretched out, leaving enough room for the kever of the Tevuos Shor. The friends were buried together.

Zechuso yagen aleinu.


January 28

In 1871, France surrendered in the Franco-Prussian War.

In 1909, U.S. control in Cuba ended.

In 1915, the U.S Coast Guard was created by an Act of Congress.

In 1916, Louis D. Brandeis was appointed by President Woodrow Wilson to the Supreme Court, becoming its first Jewish member.

In 1932, Japanese troops occupied Shanghai in China.

In 1945, the first U.S. truck convoy reopened Burma Road in World War II.

In 1949, the U.N. Security Council adopted a resolution to establish a cease-fire in Indonesia, then known as the Dutch East Indies.

In 1961, Rwanda’s provisional government proclaimed a republic.

In 1962, the U.S. unmanned spacecraft Ranger III failed to hit the moon and passed it at a distance of 35,200 kilometers (22,000 miles).

In 1980, six U.S. diplomats who avoided being taken hostage at their embassy in Tehran flew out of Iran with the help of Canadian diplomats.

In 1983, Labor group Solidarity’s underground leaders called on Poland’s factory workers to prepare for a nationwide general strike as “the only way to break down the existing dictatorship.”

In 1986, Space shuttle Challenger exploded moments after liftoff from Cape Canaveral, Florida, killing all seven crew members.

In 1990, life in the Azerbaijani capital of Baku returned to normal as Armenian and Azerbaijani separatists withdrew from border regions.

In 1991, Soviet troops seized and shut down two Lithuanian customs posts.

In 1992, the leadership of the National Liberation Front, which won Algeria’s independence and ruled for three decades, resigned.

In 1993, France’s ambassador to Zaire was killed by a stray bullet as soldiers rioted and looted shops and foreigners’ homes in Kinshasa.

In 1996, in Sarajevo, three British soldiers were killed when their armored personnel carrier hit a land mine and a Swedish soldier died when his vehicle slid off the road.

In 2003, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s right-wing Likud party won the parliamentary elections, soundly defeating the center-left Labor Party and extending Sharon’s leadership for another four-year term. The Labor Party suffered its worst-ever defeat at the polls.