This Day in History – 29 Adar II/April 5

29 Adar

In 4956/1196, Rabbeinu Yitzchak ben Rabbeinu Asher, a grandson of Riva, was killed together with numerous other Jews because of a blood libel; Hy”d.

In 5559/1799, Napoleon captured the city of Jaffa.


5626/1866, Harav Shlomo, Rebbe of Radomsk, zy”a, the Tiferes Shlomo

5746/1986, Harav Yaakov Kamenetsky, Rosh Yeshivah of Yeshiva and Mesivta Torah Vodaath (Adar Rishon)


Harav Avraham Shaag, zt”l, mechaber of Ohel Avraham

Harav Avraham Shaag (Zwebner) was born on 4 Iyar 5561/1801 in the Hungarian town of Freistadt. His father, Harav Yehoshua Leib Zwebner was niftar when his son was just 4 years old. His mother asked Harav Yitzchok Frankel, zt”l, Rav of Regensdorf, to supervise his upbringing as he would that of his own son.

Recognizing Avraham’s brilliance, Harav Frankel taught the young boy himself. At the age of just 10, young Avraham knew most of Shas. After Avraham’s bar mitzvah, Harav Frankel enrolled him in the Chasam Sofer’s yeshivah in Pressburg.

When Avraham turned 18, the Chasam Sofer made a shidduch for him with Leah, the orphaned daughter of Harav Avraham Halevi Spitz, zt”l, the Rav of Prossitz, Moravia.

When Harav Avraham was 25, he assumed the position of Rav of the city of Shuttledorf, Czechoslovakia, where he founded a yeshivah.

After serving in Shuttledorf for 25 years, Rav Avraham became Rav of Kobersdorf.

In the early part of the 19th century, the Reform movement began to rear its ugly head, and the Chasam Sofer was one of its staunchest opponents. Rav Avraham Shaag lead the battle against the National Jewish Congress formed by the Reform movement.

To counterbalance the Reform-dominated Congress, he convened a Jewish Congress of his own, attended by 350 Rabbanim and Torah leaders. This Congress was called Shomrei Mishmeres Hadas, and it instilled in the Torah Jews of Austria and Hungary a spirit of hope and determination. Rav Avraham was chosen as president of this Congress, and in that capacity formulated a manifesto that denounced the National Jewish Congress.

At 72, Rav Avraham Shaag decided to fulfill his lifelong dream of moving to Eretz Yisrael. His closest talmid was Harav Yosef Chaim Sonnenfeld, zt”l, who was still a young man at the time. Rav Yosef Chaim decided to accompany his Rebbi to Eretz Yisrael.

On 9 Iyar, 5633/1873, they left Kobersdorf and set out on their journey. Arriving in Eretz Yisrael, Rav Avraham and Rav Yosef Chaim bent down and kissed the ground.

Reb Avraham lived in Yerushalayim for three years. The day before his petirah, Reb Avraham finished their learning by saying, “We will leave it here.” These words worried Rav Yosef Chaim, since Rav Avraham’s every word was measured.

The following morning, Shabbos, 29 Adar, 5636/1876, Rav Avraham returned his neshamah to its Maker.

Rav Avraham’s levayah was held in Yerushalayim on Motzoei Shabbos. On Har Hazeisim, beside the kever, Rav Yosef Chaim Sonnenfeld described the tzidkus of his great Rebbi, calling him “a true Ish HaElokim.”

Zechuso yagein aleinu.

April 5

In 1792, U.S. President George Washington cast the first presidential veto. The measure was for apportioning representatives among the states.

In 1806, Isaac Quintard patented the cider mill

In 1892, Walter H. Coe patented gold leaf in rolls.

In 1923, Firestone Tire and Rubber Company began the first regular production of balloon tires.

In 1998, the Akashi Kaikyo Bridge in Japan opened, becoming the largest suspension bridge in the world. It links Shikoku and Honshu. The bridge cost about $3.8 billion.