This Day in History – 6 Shevat/January 7

Yahrtzeiten

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

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

5639/1879, Harav Yom Tov Lipman, zt”l, the Oneg Yom Tov

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

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


 

5739/1979

Harav Dovid Yitzchak Eizik Rabinowitz of Skolya, zt”l

Harav Dovid Yitzchak Eizik Rabinowitz was born in Brad, Czechoslovakia, in the summer of 5698/1898. His father, Reb Baruch Pinchas, was the son of Harav Eliezer Chaim of Yampoli, whose grandfather, Harav Yitzchak of Yampoli, was a grandson of the Zlotchover Maggid (Harav Yechiel Michel) and a son-in-law of the Rebbe Reb Baruch’l of Mezibuzh (grandson of the Baal Shem Tov).

At the age of 14, young Dovid Yitzchak Eizik received warm semichah from a number of leading Gedolei Hador, among them Harav Meir Arik. A short time later, he married the daughter of Harav Chaim Eizen of Svirzh, a granddaughter of Harav Yehudah Tzvi of Stretin. Tragically, just a few months after their chasunah, the town of Svirzh was raided by soldiers who pillaged Jewish homes. The young Rebbetzin jumped out a window to her death.

For the next five years, through World War I, Reb Dovid was at his father’s side, enduring imprisonment and privation. After years of wandering, Skolya Chassidus was re-established in Vienna, where Reb Baruch Pinchas emerged as a leading figure for the burgeoning refugee community. A magnificent Skolya beis medrash was erected, and the Chassidus thrived.

During this period, the Rebbe married the daughter of Harav Moshe Dovid Landau, the Rav of Burshtyn.

On 20 Adar 5680/1920, Reb Baruch Pinchas was niftar, and his son was crowned Rebbe.

The reputation of the young Skolya Rebbe as a talmid chacham and a baal mofes spread, and he was invited to spend Shabbosos in kehillos across Poland, Galicia, Romania and Hungary, though he remained based in Vienna. The Chassidus flourished until World War II.

As the danger grew, the Rebbe sent his wife and children, who were Austrian citizens, abroad, while he, accompanied only by his son Reb Yosef Baruch Pinchas, hid in the home of his brother-in-law, Reb Shalom Frankel.

Through open miracles, he and his son eventually reached Switzerland, where they were reunited with the rest of the family. At the end of the summer of 1939 they arrived in America, and the Rebbe settled on Henry Street on the Lower East Side.

In 5701/1941, the Rebbe established one of the first chassidic shtieblach in Williamsburg, and the Skolya beis medrash would remain a magnet for people seeking Torah and Chassidus for the next 30 years.

In 5734/1974, the Rebbe acquiesced to the requests of his children and Chassidim and settled in Boro Park. During the last five years of his life, his beis medrash on 48th Street hummed with people.

Reb Dovid Yitzchak Eizik was known for genius and depth in Torah learning. At his tischen, someone would be invited to read a passuk from the parashah. The Rebbe would instantly begin to expound on the passuk, continuing for up to two hours. The person honored with giving the Rebbe the passuk was usually a guest or somebody prominent. The Rebbe never failed to hold rapt those present at the tisch.

Once, a prominent Rav in Ireland who was hosting the Rebbe said, “Why doesn’t the Rebbe tell the truth! Everyone knows that the Rebbe chooses which passuk is going to be said ahead of time.” The Rebbe asked the Rav for a passuk. “Reuven, Shimon, Levi, v’Yehudah,” answered the Rav. The Rebbe closed his eyes, and expounded on the passuk until the Rav had to stop him at 2:30 a.m. He begged the Rebbe’s forgiveness. “I forgive you,” said the Rebbe, “but in the future, please don’t accuse another Jew of lying.”

During the last year of his life, the Rebbe dropped several hints that his end was near. In the winter of 5739/1979 he took ill. His family brought him to London for treatment and there, on 6 Shevat, Shabbos night, Parashas Bo, he was niftar.

He was buried on Har Hazeisim, next to Harav Shloime of Zhvill, like him a ben achar ben of the Zlotchover Maggid.

Zechuso yagen aleinu.


 

January 7

In 1782, the first commercial American bank, the Bank of North America, opened.

In 1789, the first U.S. presidential election was held. Americans voted for electors who, a month later, chose George Washington to be the first president.

In 1913, a cracking process to obtain gasoline from crude oil was patented in the United States.

In 1927, commercial trans-Atlantic telephone service was inaugurated between New York and London.

In 1942, Japan began a successful siege of the Bataan Peninsula during World War II, routing American and Philippine troops.

In 1953, U.S. President Harry Truman announced that the United States had developed the hydrogen bomb.

In 1959, the United States recognized Fidel Castro’s Cuban government.

In 1961, African heads of state issued the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights at Casablanca.

In 1968, the government of Lebanon resigned after the Israeli commando raid at Beirut airport.

The Surveyor 7 space probe made a soft landing on the moon, marking the end of the American series of unmanned explorations of the lunar surface.

In 1979, Vietnamese forces captured the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh, overthrowing the Khmer Rouge government.