This Day In History 3 Kislev/November 21

In 5463/1702, Harav Yehoshua Pollack, the Pnei Yehoshua, while trapped under fallen rubble during the great fire in Lvov in which 36 Jews were killed, vowed that if he lived he would write a sefer and disseminate Torah. He was miraculously saved and wrote his famous sefer, Pnei Yehoshua.

In 5702/1941, 1,538 Jews of Poltava, Russia, were executed by the Nazis, Hy”d.


5403/1642, Harav Meir, zt”l, the father of the Shach

5600/1839, Harav Shimshon of Ozhiran, zt”l

5755/1994, Harav Yissaschar Dov Ashkenazi, zt”l, the Stanislaver Rebbe of London

5647/1886, Harav Avraham Yehoshua Heschel Of Skver, Zy”a

Harav Avraham Yehoshua Heschel Twersky, Rebbe of Skver, was born in Radvil in 5586/1826. His father was Harav Yitzchok, Rebbe of Skver, zy”a. His mother was the daughter of Harav Dan, Rebbe of Radvil, zy”a, who was the grandson of the Zlotchover Maggid and the son-in-law of the Apter Rav, zechusam yagein aleinu.

According to tradition, Rav Avraham Yehoshua Heschel was the first in the family to be named after his great-grandfather, the Apter Rav. It’s interesting to note that Rav Avraham Yehoshua Heschel of Skver was only 14 years younger than his father. It is said in Skver that his father, Rav Yitzchak, married at the age of 12 and wore a tallis before he needed to put on tefillin.

Rav Avraham Yehoshua Heschel had many of the attributes of his great-grandfather, the Apter Rav, who was known as the Ohev Yisrael.

For instance, according to the minhag in Skver, boys would be brought to the Rebbe 30 days before their bar mitzvah so that the Rebbe could put tefillin on them for the first time. The Rebbe was very makpid that this should take place exactly 30 days before the bar mitzvah; if someone came even one day late (29 days before his bar mitzvah), the Rebbe would not agree to be the one to put on the tefillin.

Rav Avraham Yehoshua Heschel would often travel to various towns to give chizuk to the Chassidim living there. He was so beloved in these towns that when his father Rav Yitzchak once came to one of them, the Chassidim were heard to exclaim, “The Rebbe’s father has come!” Sadly, Rav Avraham Yehoshua Heschel passed away less than two years after his father.

Rav Avraham Yehoshua Heschel married the daughter of Harav Shmuel Ashkenazy, who was a son-in-law of his great-uncle, Harav Yitzchok Meir, Zinkover Rebbe, a son of the Apter Rav. His children from this marriage were Harav Yoseph Meir, Machnovka Rebbe, Harav Moshe Dan, Skverer Rebbe, and Harav Yaakov, Linitz-Skverer Rebbe, as well as two daughters, the wives of Rav Mordechai of Skver and Harav Mordechai Yosef, Zlatapoler Rebbe, zechusam yagein aleinu.

After his first wife’s passing, Rav Avraham Yehoshua Heschel married the daughter of Rav Yosef Zilberfarb.

Zechuso yagen aleinu

Nov. 21

In 1789, North Carolina became the 12th state to ratify the U.S. Constitution.

In 1927, picketing strikers at the Columbine Mine in northern Colorado were fired on by state police; six miners were killed.

In 1942, the Alaska Highway, also known as the Alcan Highway, was formally opened at Soldier’s Summit in the Yukon Territory.

In 1967, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Air Quality Act.

In 1985, U.S. Navy intelligence analyst Jonathan Jay Pollard was arrested, accused of spying for Israel. Mr. Pollard later pleaded guilty to espionage and was sentenced to life in prison. He was released on parole on Nov. 20, 2015.