This Day in History – 6 Adar 1/February 6

In 2369/1392 B.C.E. (as recorded in Yalkut Shimoni), Moshe Rabbeinu completed Mishneh Torah and was told by Hashem that his petirah was near.

In 5109/1349, a plague killed hundreds of Yidden in the kehillah of Worms, Germany.

In 5242/1482, the first printed edition of the entire Chumash with Targum Onkelos and Rashi was published in Bologna, Italy.

In 5576/1816, the final expulsion of the Jews of the city of Lubeck, Germany, took place. This was 117 years after they were expelled the first time.

Yahrtzeiten

5549/1789, Harav Aryeh Leib, zt”l, mechaber of Panim Chadashos

5606/1846, Harav Daniel Prustitz, zt”l, of Pressburg, mechaber of Machaneh Dan

5696/1936, Harav Yosef Baumgarten, zt”l, Rav of the Schiffshul in Vienna

5759/1999, Harav Yehoshua Dovid Povarski, zt”l, Rosh Yeshivah of Ponevezh


 

5695/1935

Harav Chanoch Tzvi Hakohen Levin of Bendin, zy”a

Harav Chanoch Tzvi was born in Malenitz on 7 Kislev 5631/1870 to Harav Pinchas Yaakov Levin of Malenitz, son of Harav Yechiel Fishel, who in turn was the son of Harav Chanoch Henoch of Alexander. His mother, Rebbetzin Teltza, was the daughter of Harav Tzvi Hirsch Tomoshover, a close disciple and gabbai of the Kotzker Rebbe.

He possessed an extremely sharp mind and at a young age was known as an iluy, but instead of sending his son away from home to study, his father hired many esteemed melamdim for him. Following in the footsteps of his saintly parents and grandparents, Reb Chanoch Tzvi excelled greatly in Torah and yirah, and even as a very young child he worried about the less fortunate and the needy.

At the time of his bar mitzvah, Reb Chanoch Tzvi became a chassan to Rebbetzin Feige, the daughter of the Sfas Emes. The chasunah was held in Gur, where he settled. He remained in Gur until the outbreak of World WarI, when he fled to Warsaw.

In 5680/1920, he was invited to become Rav of Bendin. His leadership in Bendin was remarkable in that, although through his enormous ahavas Yisrael he managed to unite the various factions of the city, he also led the battle against those who denigrated the holy mesorah. The anti-religious parties warned the Rav not to interfere in their agenda, but he vehemently refused and quietly did all in his power to destroy their evil intentions. Reb Chanoch Tzvi was famous for his daily shiurim, in which even the most esoteric Torah topics became eminently clear.

Reb Chanoch Tzvi’s middos tovos were legendary, and he was especially known for going out of his way to greet everyone b’sever panim yafos. One bitter winter day, a man entered the Rav’s chamber and the Rav exclaimed, “How good of you to have come! How wonderful that you stopped by!” He offered the man a chair and brought refreshments, all the while calling the man “my dear guest.” Afterward, the Rebbetzin asked the Rav who the man was. “I have no idea; I don’t know him,” the Rav replied. Asked why he had accorded him such honor, he replied, “Because he is a Yid!”

Reb Chanoch Tzvi was a staunch supporter of Agudas Yisrael. At its inception, he joined its ranks with great fervor; he participated in its conventions and committees and was appointed to the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah, where he was a principal speaker. He worked intensely to increase its membership among the chassidic and non-chassidic segments of Jewry. He viewed Agudas Yisrael as a critical project of his generation and when his oldest son, Harav Yitzchak Meir Levin, became the organization’s chairman, he gave his sincerest blessing.

Until his last day, the Rav of Bendin took an active interest in every matter of spiritual concern to the Jewish people, paying particular attention to chinuch habanim. He left a great and lasting imprint on Klal Yisrael.

His writings were published as Yechahen Pe’er, comprised of chiddushim and drashos on the Torah and the mo’adim. Unfortunately, more than 40 volumes of his Torah were lost during the Holocaust.

On Shabbos night, 6 Adar Rishon 5695/1935, after the seudah, those around him heard him say, “Ribbono shel Olam, I am ready. If this is Your will, please let it be as You wish.” With these words, his neshamah departed. Thousands assembled for his levayah, and he was buried in Bendin. (The cemetery stayed untouched by WWII and is still intact.)

Two of his sons survived the Holocaust: Harav Yitzchak Meir, son-in-law of the Imrei Emes of Gur, and Harav Pinchas Yaakov, who was among the founders of the Bais Yaakov movement in Eretz Yisrael.

His other sons were Harav Yechiel Efrayim Fishel, son-in-law of Harav Avraham of Porisov; Harav Avraham Mordechai, Hy”d; Harav Menachem Mendel, Hy”d, who was Rav of Bendin after his father’s petirah; Harav Eliyahu, Hy”d; Harav Yehudah Leib, Hy”d; Harav Yosef Simchah Bunim, Hy”d; Harav Moshe Aharon Dovid Yerachmiel, Hy”d. His son-in-law was Harav Naftali Tzvi Alter, Hy”d, son of Harav Meir, Hy”d, son of the Imrei Emes.


 

 February 6

In 1643, Dutch mariner Abel Tasman discovered the Fiji Islands in the Pacific.

In 1819, the British East India Company, represented by Stamford Raffles, established a settlement in Singapore.

In 1840, the Treaty of Waitangi was signed, guaranteeing Maori tribal chiefs their lands and certain other rights in return for British sovereignty over New Zealand.

In 1899, the Treaty of Paris was ratified, whereby Spain ceded Cuba, Puerto Rico, Guam and the Philippines to the United States for $20 million.

In 1902, a French agreement with Ethiopia to finance railway construction provoked protests from Britain and Italy.

In 1952, Britain’s King George VI died and was succeeded by his daughter, Queen Elizabeth II.In 1959, the United States successfully test-fired a Titan intercontinental ballistic missile.

In 1964, England and France agreed on constructing the English Channel rail tunnel.

In 1983, U.S. Chief Justice Warren Burger asked Congress to ease the Supreme Court’s load by creating a court of federal judges.

In 1990, West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl said he favored immediate talks with East Germany on introducing the Deutschemark there.

In 1991, Colombian President Cesar Gaviria pleaded for peace after a two-day rebel offensive that left at least 47 people dead.

In 1992, three days of clashes between Islamist protesters and security forces killed 12 and injured dozens in Batna, Algeria.

In 1995, two 100-ton spaceships — the biggest ever to converge in space — flew in formation in the first U.S.-Russian rendezvous in 20 years.

In 1997, marking his first year as president of Haiti, Rene Preval distributed land to peasants.

In 2000, Hillary Rodham Clinton announced her candidacy for the U.S. Senate. She later defeated the Republican candidate in November, becoming the only U.S. first lady ever elected to public office.

In 2001, Ariel Sharon was elected Israeli prime minister in a landslide win over Ehud Barak.