This Day in History – 6 Shevat/January 26


5512/1752, Harav Yosef of Breslau, zt”l, mechaber of Shoresh Yosef

5600/1840, Harav Yitzchok of Kalusch, zt”l

5639/1879, Harav Raphael Yom Tov Lipman Halpern of Bialystock, zt”l, the Oneg Yom Tov

5691/1931, Harav Shalom Halberstam, zt”l, of Pikla-Sanz

5739/1979, Harav Dovid Yitzchak Eizik Rabinowitz, zt”l, the Skolya Rebbe, author of Tzemach Dovid and many other sefarim


5686/1926, Harav Chaim Tzvi Teitelbaum, the Atzei Chaim of Sighet, zt”l

The Atzei Chaim of Sighet, Reb Chaim Tzvi, was born in 5640/1880 after his parents had been married for 20 years. His father was the Kedushas Yom Tov, Harav Chananyah Yom Tov Lipa Teitelbaum, Rav of Sighet; his mother was the daughter of Harav Yoel Ashkenazi, the Rav of Zlotchov.

Reb Chaim Tzvi married the daughter of Harav Shalom Eliezer Halberstam, Hy”d, of Ratzfert, who was the son of the Divrei Chaim of Sanz.

As a youth, the Atzei Chaim traveled to the Beis Yitzchak, the Rav of Lemberg, to receive semichah; his father’s gabbai, Reb Asher, was his traveling companion. When they reached the Beis Yitzchak’s door, Reb Chaim Tzvi asked Reb Asher to allow him to enter alone, for he wished to be tested thoroughly, with no special treatment, and didn’t want his identity known. Introducing himself to the Beis Yitzchak as Chaim Hirsch Tab, abbreviating his last name, he asked to be tested.

The Beis Yitzchak was extremely impressed with the young man and wrote him a glowing semichah. Then he accompanied him to the door, where he saw Reb Asher sitting outside. Assuming Reb Asher, whom he did not know, was waiting to see him, he asked how he could help him. Reb Asher replied, “Oh no, Rebbe. I’m just here as the gabbai of that bachur who just left your room.”

“And who is that young man?” the Beis Yitzchak asked, wondering how so young a person would come to have a gabbai.

“He is the son of the Sigheter Rav!” the gabbai exclaimed.

Taken aback, the Beis Yitzchak called over Reb Chaim Tzvi so he could revise the semichah as befitted the son of the Kedushas Yom Tov. But the future Atzei Chaim refused.

“I came to get semichah for myself,” he replied, “not for my father.”

In 5664/1904, Reb Chaim Tzvi succeeded his father as Rav of the esteemed community of Sighet.

After World War I, the province of Marmorosh was divided between Romania and Czechoslovakia, with Sighet ending up on the Romanian side. Poverty in the town increased considerably, and the Atzei Chaim’s family was hit particularly hard, since the little they received went right out again to the needy.

At the beginning of 5686/1926, the Atzei Chaim sent a letter to one of his followers, Reb Menachem Meir Jakobovitz in Hungary, asking to be rescued from his oppressive debts, which he had accumulated through helping the poor.

In fact, his very last Shabbos was dedicated to tzedakah. He had traveled to Kleinvardein, and had promised everything he would collect to a certain needy person. It was there, in Kleinvardein, that he was niftar, at the age of 46, on 6 Shevat 5686/1926. He was interred in Sighet.

His published works are all titled Atzei Chaim, with volumes containing She’eilos U’teshuvos, commentaries on Chumash and the Yamim Tovim, and other topics.

Zechuso yagen aleinu.


Jan. 26

In 1788, the first European settlers in Australia, led by Capt. Arthur Phillip, landed in present-day Sydney.

In 1837, Michigan became the 26th state.

In 1870, Virginia rejoined the Union.

In 1939, during the Spanish Civil War, rebel forces led by Gen. Francisco Franco captured Barcelona.

In 1942, the first American Expeditionary Force to go to Europe during World War II arrived in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

In 1962, the United States launched Ranger 3 to land scientific instruments on the moon — but the probe ended up missing its target by more than 22,000 miles.

In 1988, Australians celebrated the 200th anniversary of their country as a grand parade of tall ships re-enacted the voyage of the first European settlers.