This Day In History 27 Sivan/June 21

In 5550/1790, the Jews of Florence, Italy, miraculously escaped from a mob. A Purim was duly celebrated.


5504/1744, Harav Meir Eisenstadt, zt”l, the Panim Me’iros

5701/1941, Harav Moshe Yechiel Elimelech Rabinowitz, zt”l, of Levertov, Hy”d

5643/1883, Harav Mordechai Meltzer, zt”l, mechaber of Techeiles Mordechai

Harav Mordechai Kletzki (later known as Meltzer) was the son of Reb Asher Kletzki of Vilna, a distinguished layman and descendant of the Maharam Padwa.

Young Mordechai had an outstanding mind. Once, Harav Mordechai Mardush, author of the Biur on Maharam Schiff, happened to be in Vilna. He delivered an intricate shiur to the city’s lomdim, among them the youngster Mordechai. During the shiur, in which complicated topics were presented, young Mordechai posed an unanswerable question. The Gaon stopped in the middle of the shiur and declared, “I am positive that this youngster will become a respected Rav in Klal Yisrael.”

At a young age he married the daughter of Harav Leib Meltzer, a noted naggid of Vilna. His father-in-law supported him generously, and he was able to immerse himself totally in the world of Torah. He became commonly referred to by his father-in-law’s name, Meltzer.

In Vilna, the people were amazed at his intense hasmadah. Eventually he was accepted to the prestigious post of head of the kloiz of Harav Dovid Strashen (father-in-law of the Rashash). He delivered a shiur in the early morning hours.

The shamash of the kloiz, who was in charge of waking those attending the shiur, related that often he would come to wake Rav Mordechai in the wee hours of the morning, only to find him still engrossed in learning from the previous night. He would stand on a ladder at the sefarim shank, a candle in one hand and the holy sefer in the other, and in that position he would learn for hours on end, often through the night.

In 5587/1827, the esteemed gvir Reb Meiles founded the famous Ramailles Yeshivah in Vilna, and Rav Mordechai was called upon to be Rosh Yeshivah.

Many people flocked to him for advice and counsel.

In 5612/1852, he was accepted as Rav in Kalavaria and, 12 years later, he became Rav of Lida. He did not allow himself to be influenced by the powerful gvirim. He refrained from giving haskamos; one of the only haskamos he gave was to the Chofetz Chaim.

During the last year of his life he was stricken with a foot infection and confined to his bed. Immediately before his petirah, he told his son, “I have now concluded a chiddush that I am prepared to say in Olam Ha’emes; I am sure that this chiddush is la’amita shel Torah!” With these words his holy neshamah departed. He is buried in an ohel that was erected in Lida.

After his petirah, his talmidim published Techeiles Mordechai, with his chiddushim.

June 21

In 1788, the United States Constitution went into effect, as New Hampshire became the ninth state to ratify it.

In 1834, Cyrus Hall McCormick received a patent for his reaping machine.

In 1985, scientists announced that skeletal remains exhumed in Brazil were those of Nazi war criminal Josef Mengele.

In 1989, a sharply divided Supreme Court ruled that burning the American flag as a form of political protest was protected by the First Amendment.