This Day in History – 3 Adar 1/February 3

Since there are different rulings and minhagim concerning yahrtzeits of chodesh Adar in a leap year, one should consult a Rav about which month to keep a yahrtzeit. We will mention yahrtzeits both in Adar Rishon and in Adar Sheini. Those who were niftar in Adar Rishon will be marked (1); those who were niftar in Adar Sheini will be marked (2); and those who were niftar in a non-leap year will bear no mark.


3 Adar I

In 3413/348 B.C.E., the joyous dedication of the second Beis Hamikdash was celebrated, after four years of work.


5398/1638, Harav Noach of Cracow, zt”l, mechaber of Toldos Noach on Midrash.

5562/1802, Harav Noach Chaim of Altuna, zt”l, mechaber of Atzei Almogim.

5611/1851, Harav Binyamin Zev Lev, zt”l, Rav of Verboi and mechaber of Shaarei Tefillah.

5628/1868, Harav Eliyahu of Mezhritch, zt”l, mechaber of Midreshei Eliyahu.



Harav Binyamin Morgenstern of Kotzk, zy”a

Harav Binyamin Morgenstern, born in 5600/1840, was the son of the Kotzker Rebbe and his zivug sheini, the daughter of Harav Moshe Chalfan of Warsaw. (Harav Chalfan was also the father-in-law of the Chiddushei Harim of Ger.)

Reb Binyamin, renowned for his charifus, was respected by the chassidim. Shidduchim were proposed with the daughters of leading Gedolim, but all offers were turned down by his father, the Kotzker Rebbe. However, the Rebbe agreed to a shidduch with Frumtche, the daughter of Harav Avraham Mordechai Alter, zt”l (son of the Chiddushei Harim and father of the Sfas Emes) and, in a short time, it was concluded.

The seudas hatena’im was held in the beis medrash in Kotzk, and the chassidim were delighted by the possibility of seeing the Rebbe, who barely left his room during those years. After many hours, the Rebbetzin went to ask the Rebbe if he would be coming out to the beis medrash. He let out a deep sigh and said, “Oy! We don’t see the arichas yamim of our dear mechutan.”

The wedding was held on 4 Adar 5616/1856 in Kotzk, with the brothers-in-law — and now mechutanim — the Chiddushei Harim and the Kotzker Rebbe in attendance. Although it was extremely cold and the snow was deep, many Kotzker chassidim attended the wedding; all wished to take part in the simchah of the marriage of the Rebbe’s son.

Later that year, on 27 Av, Reb Avraham Mordechai was niftar at the age of 40. He was buried in Warsaw. Then the words of the Kotzker Rebbe at the tena’im were explained.

On 22 Shevat 5619/1859, the Kotkzer Rebbe was niftar. While some chassidim chose his son Harav Dovid as the new Rebbe, many flocked to the Chiddushei Harim, then in Warsaw, and appointed him Rebbe. Among those who journeyed to the Chiddushei Harim were Reb Binyamin and his brother Reb Moshe Yerucham, and the sons-in-law of the Kotzker Rebbe, the Avnei Nezer and Harav Zev Rapaport, Rav of Kotzk.

Reb Binyamin was very close with his grandfather by marriage, the Chiddushei Harim.

On the second day of Sukkos 5626/1865, the Chiddushei Harim said: “Initially I thought that I would bring the hearts of Am Yisrael close to our Father in Heaven and then the Geulah would arrive, but now I see that this is to be left for someone else. An avreich, free of aveirah, will arise, who will only be able to tolerate those who are yirei chet, and through him the Geulah will come. Maybe I will be zocheh that this person will be among my descendants.”

Sitting next to the Chiddushei Harim were his grandsons; the Sfas Emes and Reb Binyamin. The Chiddushei Harim turned to Reb Binyamin and said, “I didn’t mean you, but another avreich.”

Later that winter, when Reb Binyamin returned to his home in Kotzk, he took ill. The doctors could not cure him; his condition worsened and he was niftar on Motzoei Shabbos Parashas Terumah, 3 Adar 5626/1866, at the age of 26.

When a messenger arrived in Ger with the tidings, the family looked for a way to inform the Chiddushei Harim of the tragedy, for they hadn’t told him how serious the situation was. When they entered his room, he didn’t inquire about Reb Binyamin. Instead, he said, “When the chassid Reb Peretz of Peshischa was niftar, the Yehudi Hakadosh said, ‘Really Reb Peretz should have become Rebbe after me, but since they knew in Heaven that if Reb Peretz became Rebbe, he would turn the hearts of all to Heaven, he was taken from this world before me.’ And the Yehudi Hakadosh himself was niftar a short while later.”

Only after relating this story did the Chiddushei Harim ask if any news had come from Kotzk.

Reb Binyamin was buried in the ohel in Kotzk with his father; later his brothers and brothers-in-law were also buried there.

Only three weeks later, on 23 Adar, the Chiddushei Harim was niftar, reminiscent of the story he had related about the Yehudi Hakadosh.

Zechuso yagen aleinu.


February 3

In 1917, Mexico became a federated republic of 28 states.

In 1958, Gamel Abdel Nasser was formally nominated to become the first president of the new United Arab Republic, the union of Egypt and Syria.

In 1971, U.S. Apollo 14 astronauts landed on the moon.

In 1976, an earthquake in Guatemala took almost 23,000 lives.

In 1990, Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, addressing the party plenum, said the Communist Party must abandon its monopoly on power.

In 1991, Iraq, under attack by the U.S. and its allies, suspended fuel sales to its citizens.

In 1997, three Swiss banking giants announced they will contribute $71 million to open a humanitarian fund for Holocaust victims.

In 2003, North Korea announced its nuclear reactor at Yongbyon had resumed operations. In December 2002 North Korea had declared its intention to reopen the facility, as part of a series of announced moves to resume its nuclear programs, which it had agreed to suspend in 1994.