This Day in History – 6 Elul/September 1

In 5700/1940, Italian planes bombed Tel Aviv, killing 117, Hy”d.


Yahrtzeiten

5414/1654, Harav Yom-Tov Lipmann Heller, the Tosfos Yom Tov, zt”l

5580/1820, Harav Shabsi, zt”l, Rav of Orla and mechaber of Sheves Achim

5591/1831, Harav Moshe, zt”l, mechaber of Maharam Mintz

5643/1883, Harav Yekusiel Yehudah Teitelbaum, zt”l, the Yetev Levof Sighet

5729/1969, Harav Yechezkel Sarna, zt”l, Rosh Yeshivas Chevron


 

5760/2000, Harav Meir Zvi Ehrentreu, zt”l, Rosh Kollel of the Manchester Yeshivah

Harav Meir Tzvi Hakohen Ehrentreu was the son of Harav Yisrael Ehrentreu. He was born in Frankfurt in 5690/1930.

In time, he went to England and learned under Harav Moshe Schneider in London and later in the Gateshead Yeshivah. Quite rapidly he became known for his outstanding hasmadah, unique character traits and in-depth studying.

He married the daughter of Harav Yehudah Zev Segal, zt”l, the Manchester Rosh Yeshivah, who recognized his greatness in Torah and yiras Shamayim as well as his outstanding middos. After his marriage, he continued to learn with hasmadah, acquiring vast knowledge in the sea of Talmud.

He served as a maggid shiur in the Manchester Yeshivah, greatly  influencing his talmidim, who regarded him as the transmitter of the legacy of his illustrious father-in-law. He guided them along the Torah way with his pleasant manner and speech.

Friendly and approachable, he was beloved by everyone. He was revered by his talmidim, who were aware that beneath his friendly exterior was a phenomenal talmid chacham, yerei Shamayim and oved Hashem. He was thoroughly proficient in Shas, Midrash, Rishonim, Acharonim and sifrei Shu”t, meforshei haTorah and drashos.

His father-in-law would say that he could come home at night with a question anywhere in Shas, and Reb Meir Zvi would resolve it.

An aura of excitement pervaded his shiurim, when in addition to the standard meforshim he added tidbits from the Avnei Nezer, Sdei Chemed, Oneg Yom Tov, Chiddushei Harim and countless other sefarim.

Frequently he would quote from the introduction or a footnote in a sefer. He repeated with relish divrei Torah from Gedolim he had met, and his delight in a chiddush was palpable.

His talmidim learned to study the same sugya with different approaches. They were inspired by Reb Meir Zvi, from whom they received instant answers to their questions.

Reb Meir Zvi was also known for his greatness in halachah. It is related that upon his leaving for Eretz Yisrael to serve on the beis din of the Eidah Hachareidis, Harav Yitzchak Yaakov Weiss, zt”l, former Rav of Manchester, said that the community could rely totally upon Reb Meir Tzvi.

As widely acclaimed as he was for his knowledge of Torah, Reb Meir Zvi was equally well known for his tzidkus, his exceptional middos and his humility.

He honored everyone and shunned honor for himself. For many years while his father-in-law, the Rosh Yeshivah, lived with his family, he relinquished his position as head of the household. As Maseches Sanhedrin 88b states, “He entered quietly, he exited quietly, learned Torah constantly and did not think he deserved credit for this.”

When his father-in-law was niftar, many people turned to Reb Meir Zvi for counsel.

When asked for a brachah he would respond humbly, as though he didn’t understand why he was being asked. But from a man regarded as a tzaddik whose words were measured, even a short response was sufficient.

In the last decade or so of his life, Reb Meir Zvi suffered severe ill health, in particular a number of debilitating strokes which significantly affected his ability to learn and teach at the same exalted level as before. Only on rare occasions did one see brief flashes of his earlier brilliance.

However, there were indications that internally Reb Meir Zvi still retained much, if not all, of what he had previously known.

When speaking with someone in learning, he would indicate that he was aware of the sugya, wanting to go straight to the chiddush. Similarly, his letters and notes contained quotations of maamarei Chazal, even without the original sources in front of him.

Reb Meir Zvi was niftar on 6 Elul 5760/2000 at the age of 70.

He left a devoted Rebbetzin, who shouldered much of the family responsibilities to enable her husband to grow in Torah, sons, daughters and sons-in-law and grandchildren, all talmidei chachamim and yir’ei Shamayim.

He was buried in the Manchester cemetery beside his father-in-law, Harav Yehudah Zev Segal, zt”l.

Zecher tzaddik livrachah.


 

September 1

In 1807, former Vice President Aaron Burr was found not guilty of treason. (Burr was then tried on a misdemeanor charge, but was again acquitted.)

In 1894, the Great Hinckley Fire destroyed Hinckley, Minnesota, and five other communities, killing more than 400 people.

In 1923, the Japanese cities of Tokyo and Yokohama were devastated by an earthquake that claimed some 140,000 lives.

In 1932, New York City Mayor James J.  Walker resigned following charges of graft and corruption in his administration.

In 1939, World War II began as Nazi Germany invaded Poland.

In 1942, U.S. District Court Judge Martin I. Welsh, ruling from Sacramento, California, upheld the wartime detention of Japanese-Americans and Japanese nationals.

In 1951, the United States, Australia and New Zealand signed a mutual defense pact, the ANZUS treaty.

In 1969, a coup in Libya brought Muammar Gadhafi to power.

In 1983, 269 people were killed when a Korean Air Lines Boeing 747 was shot down by a Soviet jet fighter after the airliner entered Soviet airspace.