This Day in History – 5 Sivan/June 3

Shaar blatt of Sefer Ohr HaMeir.
Shaar blatt of Sefer Ohr HaMeir.

In 2449/1312 B.C.E., Moshe Rabbeinu erected the 12 mizbechos and made a bris with the Jewish people at the foot of Har Sinai at which they declared, “All that Hashem has spoken, we shall do and hear” (Shemos 24:7), pledging to “do” (naaseh) before they “hear” (nishma).

In 5488/1728, the brothers Chaim and Yehoshua Reizes of Lemberg, Hy”d — charged with bringing an apostate back to Judaism — were tortured and executed.

In 5544/1784, the Jews of Warsaw and its environs were expelled.


 

Yahrtzeiten

5623/1863, Harav Gershon Ashkenazi, zt”l, mechaber of Avodas HaGershuni

5635/1875, Harav Eliyahu Eichenstein of Ziditchoiv, zt”l


 

5 Sivan 5557/1797

Harav Ze’ev Wolf of Zhitomir, zt”l, The Ohr HaMeir

Harav Ze’ev Wolf Halevi, maggid in Zhitomir, was one of the closest talmidim of the Maggid of Mezeritch.

Like many other Gedolim of his era, early biographical details are sketchy.

He was drawn to the ways of Chassidus in his younger years and traveled to the court of the Maggid in Mezeritch. From then on, he was totally devoted to the ways and avodas Hashem he learned from his Rebbe. Among the Chassidim of the Maggid who were close with Reb Ze’ev Wolf were Harav Menachem Mendel of Vitebsk and Harav Aharon of Karlin.

Initially, Reb Ze’ev Wolf did not wish to support himself through Torah, so he opened a wine business.

The Mezeritcher Maggid, seeing the greatness of his talmid Reb Ze’ev Wolf, and noting how he spoke to the other Chassidim, instilling in them middos tovos, avodas Hashem and Chassidus, appointed Reb Ze’ev Wolf as a maggid in his home town of Zhitomir to expound on Torah and teach the public.

Besides serving as maggid, Reb Ze’ev Wolf was noted for his exalted ways, and many talmidim and Chassidim gathered to hear his pearls of wisdom. He founded a beis medrash in Zhitomir.

Reb Ze’ev Wolf was close to Harav Yaakov Yosef of Polnoa, the Toldos Yaakov Yosef, from the time they were both in the court of the Maggid of Mezeritch; and to Harav Zushe of Anipoli, who became his mechutan when his son Rav Yosef married Reb Zushe’s granddaughter.

The many divrei Torah and drashos of Reb Ze’ev Wolf were written down by his talmid Harav Eliezer, the shochet of Zhitomir. Reb Zev Wolf’s sefer, Ohr HaMeir, has been accepted as one of the fundamental Chassidic works, and it was one of the earliest to be printed. Many of the divrei Torah are from the Mezeritcher Maggid.

Reb Ze’ev Wolf was niftar on 5 Sivan, Erev Shavuos, 5557/1797.

His sons from his first zivug were Harav Yisrael Dov Ber, the son-in-law of Harav Chaim of Krasna, who succeeded his father in Zhitomir; Harav Menachem Mendel; Harav Tzvi Hirsh; and Harav Yosef.

From his second zivug, Reb Ze’ev Wolf had three young children at his petirah: Harav Dovid, Harav Yechiel Michel and Harav Pinchas.

Zechuso yagen aleinu.


 

The dedication of the 200” telescope, naming it for the late George Ellery Hale, on June 3, 1948.
The dedication of the 200” telescope, naming it for the late George Ellery Hale, on June 3, 1948.

June 3

In 1621, the Dutch West India Company received its charter for a trade monopoly in parts of the Americas and Africa.

In 1808, Confederate President Jefferson Davis was born in Christian County, Kentucky.

In 1948, the 200-inch reflecting Hale Telescope at the Palomar Mountain Observatory in California was dedicated.

In 1964, South Korean President Park Chung-hee declared martial law in the face of student protests.

In 1965, astronaut Edward White became the first American to “walk” in space during the flight of Gemini 4.

In 1989, Iran’s spiritual leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, died.

Chinese army troops began their sweep of Beijing to crush student-led pro-democracy demonstrations.