This Day in History – 7 Adar II/March 14

Moshe Rabbeinu was born on 7 Adar 2369/1394 B.C.E. and was niftar at the age of 120 in 2489/1274 B.C.E. Hashem Himself buried him on Har Nevo but, as recorded in the Torah, the location of his grave is unknown.


Yahrtzeiten

5579/1819, Harav Avraham Tzvi Patznovski of Piotrkov, zy”a


5581/1821, Harav Yitzchak Eizik of Kalov, Zy”a

Harav Yitzchak Eizik was born in 5511/1751 in Serencz, Hungary. His father was Harav Moshe Yechezkel, zt”l, a noted talmid chacham and nagid.

Rav Yitzchak Eizik’s birth was the result of a brachah by the Baal Shem Tov, zy”a, who had visited Serencz on his way to Eretz Yisrael and had stayed at Rav Moshe Yechezkel’s open, hospitable home.

Before the Baal Shem Tov left, the childless Rav Moshe Yechezkel asked to be blessed with children. The Baal Shem Tov was willing to give a brachah but warned that Rav Moshe Yechezkel would lose everything he owned as a consequence. Rav Moshe Yechezkel and his wife agreed.

Before long, their son was born — and they fell into complete destitution. Shortly thereafter, Rav Moshe Yechezkel passed away. The young Yitzchak Eizik was left an orphan who had to work herding geese to help his mother.

One day while he was tending the flock of geese, the famous tzaddik Harav Leib Sarah’s, zy”a, passed by and perceived that the boy had a lofty neshamah. The tzaddik persuaded him to come along to the Rebbe Harav Shmelke of Nickolsburg, zy”a, where Rav Yitzchak Eizik found a new home and Rebbe.

After his marriage he devoted all his energy and time to Torah and avodah. Eventually, he returned to Serencz, where he lived in extreme poverty. He refused to accept any Rabbinical position. The wealthy Rav Yaakov Fish of Kalov, zt”l, took pity on him and extended him numerous loans, but eventually the debt grew very large.

That was the moment Rav Yaakov had been waiting for, and now he made him an offer he couldn’t refuse: He would forgive the entire debt if Rav Yitzchak Eizik would consent to accept the rabbanus. Thus, in 5541/1781, Rav Yitzchak Eizik became Rav of Kalov and the surrounding Sabaltch area.

The Kalover Rav had an unusual avodah — through song. His intense, sweet singing was known for the effect it had upon everyone who heard it. The Kalover Rebbe was famous for having acquired numerous niggunim from non-Jewish shepherds, who used to sing them to their sheep. He would change the words from the mundane to the holy and use the melodies to express the suffering of Klal Yisrael, the pain of the Shechinah in galus and the longing for the Geulah. Interestingly, many of his niggunim were composed in Hungarian and Yiddish. His most famous niggun, beginning with the words “Galus, galus,” was one of those he “bought” from a shepherd. Amazingly, after the purchase the shepherd completely forgot the song. After acquiring it, Rav Yitzchak Eizik told his companions that the melody had originated among the Jews crying by the rivers of Bavel.

On 7 Adar II 5581/1821, Rav Yitzchak Eizik returned his pure neshamah to Hashem and was buried in Kalov. His kever became a makom tefillah for all; thousands flocked to Kalov on his yahrtzeit.

Zechuso yagen aleinu.


March 14

In 1794, Eli Whitney received a patent for his cotton gin, an invention that revolutionized America’s cotton industry.

In 1891, the submarine Monarch laid telephone cable along the bottom of the English Channel to prepare for the first telephone links across the Channel.

In 1900, Congress ratified the Gold Standard Act.

In 1907, President Theodore Roosevelt signed an executive order designed to prevent Japanese laborers from immigrating to the United States as part of a “gentlemen’s agreement” with Japan.

In 1964, a jury in Dallas found Jack Ruby guilty of murdering Lee Harvey Oswald, the accused assassin of President John F. Kennedy, and sentenced him to death. (Both the conviction and death sentence were overturned, but Ruby died before he could be retried.)

In 1990, the Soviet Congress of People’s Deputies held a secret ballot that elected Mikhail S. Gorbachev to a new, powerful presidency.