This Day In History 5 Cheshvan/October 25

In 5228/1467, Jews in Landau, Germany, were ordered to wear the yellow badge.


5491/1730, Harav Moshe Berdugo, zt”l, a Moroccan Rav and mechaber of Rosh Mashbir.

5551/1790, Harav Meshulem Zalman Chassid of Frankfurt, zt”l

5635/1874, Harav Tzvi Hirsch Kalisher, zt”l, Rav of Tohran

5704/1943, Harav Alexander Zusha Friedman, Hy”d, author of Maayanah Shel Torah

Harav Alexander Zusha Friedman was born on Rosh Chodesh Av, 5657/1897. His father was Harav Aharon Yehoshua Friedman.

At three years old, he was fluent in the entire sefer Bereishis. He continued to excel while learning in the local Sochatchover Yeshivah.

When he was 17, Rav Alexander Zusha married and moved to Warsaw, where he became active in Zeirei Agudas Yisrael, and edited its journal, Digleinu. In 5685/1925, he was elected secretary of Agudas Yisrael, and a year later he was elected to the Board of the Warsaw Jewish community as a representative of the Agudah. He wrote a sefer called Kesef Tzaruf on the klalim of the Gemara.

Rav Alexander Zusha is best known for his monumental Maayanah Shel Torah (Der Torah Kvall), in which he gathered the teachings of Gedolei Yisrael on the Torah. He wrote the divrei Torah in clear language, understandable even to non-scholars.

At the beginning of the War, Rav Alexander Zusha was appointed representative of Orthodox Jewry to the Joint Distribution Committee (the “Joint”), and labored to help the Jews in Europe. He was arrested and imprisoned by the Nazis along with other Jewish activists as a hostage, but ultimately was released.

In those horrifying circumstances, when his own life depended on others, Rav Alexander Zusha initiated the establishment of soup kitchens and children’s playgroups which actually served as clandestine Talmud Torahs. In Lublin and Cracow as well, chadarim were created along the lines he initiated in Warsaw.

In the summer of 5702/1942, deportations from the Warsaw ghetto began. Rav Alexander Zusha found refuge in the Schultz factory, repairing shoes and boots. However, that summer his wife and only daughter — born 13 years after his marriage — were sent to Treblinka, where they were killed al Kiddush Hashem.

Losing his wife and daughter did not discourage Rav Alexander Zusha from continuing his sacred work in the Warsaw Ghetto. Most of the day was spent repairing boots in the workshop, but in his spare time, Rav Alexander Zusha worked on behalf of the klal.

Many activists worked to find a way to rescue Rav Alexander Zusha from the Warsaw ghetto. Among them was the famous Swiss askan Reb Chaim Yisrael Eis, who labored tirelessly to improve the welfare of Jews in Europe through his contacts with diplomats and the Red Cross. Reb Chaim Yisrael used his influence with the Paraguayan consul to issue a passport to Rav Alexander Zusha. It was found among the papers confiscated by police in Zurich from the home of Reb Chaim Israel, and unfortunately, did not reach its ultimate destination.

Thus, Rav Alexander Zusha was taken to the Trawanki camp, near Lublin, in Adar 5703/1943, and murdered there on 5 Cheshvan 5704/1943.

Hashem yinkom damo.

Oct. 25

In 1854, the “Charge of the Light Brigade” took place during the Crimean War as an English brigade of more than 600 men charged the Russian army, suffering heavy losses.

In 1962, during a meeting of the U.N. Security Council, U.S. Ambassador Adlai E. Stevenson II demanded that Soviet Ambassador Valerian Zorin confirm or deny the existence of Soviet-built missile bases in Cuba; Stevenson then presented photographic evidence of the bases to the Council.

In 1971, the U.N. General Assembly voted to admit mainland China and expel Taiwan.

In 1983, a U.S.-led force invaded Grenada at the order of President Ronald Reagan, who said the action was needed to protect U.S. citizens there.