4 Adar II
In 5043/1283, the Maharam of Rottenberg was imprisoned in the Ensisheim fortress and held for a huge ransom, which he forbade the Jewish community to pay. Even after the Maharam’s petirah in 5053/1293, his body was not released for burial until it was ransomed 14 years later by Alexander ben Shlomo (Susskind) Wimpen, who was subsequently laid to rest at his side in the beis hachaim in Worms.
In 5558/1798, the Jews of Rome were declared free citizens by the French army.
4266/506, the Amora, Rav Achai bar Rav Huna, zt”l
5557/1897, Harav Shraga Tzvi Tenenbaum, zt”l, mechaber of Neta Sorek
5754/1994, Harav Yaakov Goldwicht, zt”l, Rosh Yeshivas Kerem B’Yavneh
5757/1997, Harav Dovid Mann, zt”l, Rosh Yeshivas Beis Hillel
Harav Chaim Yosef Gottlieb, zt”l, Rav of Stropkov and mechaber of Tiv Gittin V’Kiddushin
Harav Chaim Yosef Gottlieb was born c. 5550/1790 in Bertzal, near Tokai, Hungary. His father, Harav Yehudah Aryeh, was a relative of Harav Yoel Gottlieb, Rav of Galanta; on his mother’s side, Harav Chaim Yosef was descended from the Shelah Hakadosh.
In his youth, the family settled in Krali, since his father had an estate there which he leased from the count of Krali.
There were two famous yeshivos in Krali at the time, and it is presumed that Harav Chaim Yosef learned in these yeshivos. One of the yeshivos was headed by Harav Moshe Aryeh Ostreicher, Av Beis Din of Krali, and the other by Harav Yekusiel Wolf, mechaber of Emek Hamelech on the Rambam.
In Krali, Harav Chaim Yosef was attracted to the ways of Chassidus. He became a devoted chassid of Harav Yitzchak Eizik of Kaliv.
Harav Chaim Yosef also learned in the yeshivah of the Chasam Sofer in Pressburg.
About 5573/1813, Harav Chaim Yosef married Breindel, the daughter of the naggid Harav Meir Lichtstein of Tertzal. He settled in Tertzal, and was supported by his father-in-law for the next few years.
At that time, the Rav in Tertzal was Harav Yechezkel Panet of Dezh, zy”a, the Mareh Yechezkel, who sent his talmidim, as well as his own children, to learn under Harav Chaim Yosef.
As Rosh Yeshivah, Harav Chaim Yosef put many chiddushim to paper, but unfortunately only one sefer, Tiv Gittin v’Kiddushin, remained. The sefer contains his chiddushim on Seder Nashim, with the name based on the Gemara which states that he who is not fluent in “tiv gittin v’kiddushin” should not deal in them.
Harav Chaim Yosef delved into Kabbalah and wrote on that as well, but these writings, too, were lost.
Harav Chaim Yosef was close with Harav Menachem Mendel of Rimanov. After the petirah of the Kaliver Rebbe, he journeyed to Harav Naftali Tzvi of Ropshitz. Following the petirah of the Ropshitzer Rebbe, Harav Chaim Yosef began to travel to Sanz, to the court of the Divrei Chaim, where he was among the elite group of chassidim.
In 5583/1823, when the Mareh Yechezkel left the Rabbanus of Tertzal, Harav Chaim Yosef was appointed Rav and Dayan in the city.
Nearly 20 years later (in 5601/1841), after the petirah of Harav Moshe Teitelbaum, zy”a, the Yismach Moshe of Uhel, his grandson Harav Yekusiel Yehudah, the Yetev Lev, became Rav in Uhel in his place. The Yetev Lev had until then been Rav in Stropkov. With his departure, the kehillah asked the Divrei Chaim who should replace him. He recommended Harav Chaim Yosef, who accepted the offer and became Rav in Stropkov.
He instituted many takanos in the city, and was also known as a poel yeshuos; many flocked to Stropkov to seek his brachos.
Harav Chaim Yosef was beloved by many of the Gedolim of his time. In Sanz, it was known that only three people were zocheh to daven at the amud on the Yamim Tovim: Harav Chaim Yosef, Harav Shlomo Shapira of Munkacs and the Kol Aryeh. Once the Divrei Chaim told Harav Chaim Yosef, “Your name is Chaim like mine; your father’s name is Leibish, like mine; the only difference between us is that you have another name, Yosef.”
Harav Chaim Yosef did much to help strengthen Yiddishkeit in Hungary at this critical time. He organized the first minyan in Kashau, and thus founded a city that would later produce many Gedolei Yisrael.
After the petirah of his first Rebbetzin on 14 Shevat 5608/1848, Harav Chaim Yosef married her sister, Rebbetzin Vittel. She passed away on 18 Elul 5644/1884.
He had five sons — Harav Efraim, Harav Menashe, Harav Naftali, Harav Yisrael Menachem and Harav Asher — and one daughter, Miriam Gittel, who married Harav Shlomo Zalka, Rav in Nasoid.
In 5626/1866, Harav Chaim Yosef attended an asifah of the Hungarian Rabbanim in Miholiwitz. After returning he felt weak. Although his family pressured him to see a doctor, Harav Chaim Yosef said that if Hashem wanted him to be well, he would have a refuah sheleimah without the intervention of doctors.
Harav Chaim Yosef didn’t travel to Sanz for Shabbos Chanukah 5627/1866 as he usually did, because of his weakness. Instead, he said he would like to go for Shabbos Shekalim, Shabbos Mevorchim Adar Beis. And so he did, with a few of his children.
Upon returning home, he was very weak. A few days later, the following Shabbos, 4 Adar II, Harav Chaim Yosef was niftar.
The levayah was held on Sunday, and Harav Chaim Yosef was buried in Stropkov. An ohel was built over the kever, but unfortunately it was destroyed during the Holocaust.
Zecher tzaddik livrachah.
In 1834, the city of York in Upper Canada was incorporated as Toronto.
In 1836, the Alamo in San Antonio, Texas, fell to Mexican forces after a 13-day siege.
In 1857, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Dred Scott v. Sandford that Scott, a slave, was not an American citizen and could not sue for his freedom in federal court.
In 1912, Oreo sandwich cookies were first introduced by the National Biscuit Co.
In 1933, a national bank holiday declared by President Franklin D. Roosevelt aimed at calming panicked depositors went into effect.
Chicago Mayor Anton Cermak, wounded in an attempt on Roosevelt’s life the previous month, died at a Miami hospital at age 59.
In 1944, U.S. heavy bombers staged the first full-scale American raid on Berlin during World War II.
In 1953, Georgy Malenkov was named premier of the Soviet Union a day after the death of Josef Stalin.
In 1967, the daughter of Josef Stalin, Svetlana Alliluyeva, appeared at the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi and declared her intention to defect to the West.
In 1970, a bomb being built inside a Greenwich Village townhouse by the radical Weathermen accidentally went off, destroying the house and killing three group members.