This Day in History – 8 Av/July 20

In 2448, the meraglim returned from their 40-day mission to Eretz Yisrael. Even as they praised the land’s fertility, they terrified Bnei Yisrael with tales of mighty giant warriors dwelling there, and asserted that the land was unconquerable.

In 5109/1349, Jews of Frankfurt, Germany, were killed in the Black Death massacres, Hy”d.

In 5430/1670, the Jewish community of Vienna was expelled.

In 5702/1942, the mass deportation of Jews from the Warsaw Ghetto was announced, with over 300,000 Jews taken to death camps in 53 days.


5625/1865, Harav Shmuel Shmelke Toibish, zt”l, Rav of Yas (Jassi), mechaber of Chayei Olam, Milchamos Hashem and Mitzvas Chalitzah

5638/1878, Harav Yehudah Halevi of Ragoza, zt”l, founder of the Jewish yishuv in Yaffo

5658/1898, Harav Shmuel Luvtzar, zt”l, mechaber of Olas Shmuel

5658/1898, Harav Simchah Zissel Ziv, zt”l, the Alter of Kelm

5674/1914, Harav Shimon Agasi, zt”l, mechaber of Shem MiShimon

5738/1978, Harav Chanoch Henich Dov Zilberfarb, zy”a, the Koidenover Rebbe

5591/1831, Harav Shlomo Zalman Levi, Zt”l, Rav of Zlotchov

Harav Shlomo Zalman Levi was the oldest son of Harav Avraham Levi.

He was named for his father’s father, Harav Shlomo Zalman, who was niftar when Rav Avraham was still young. His brothers were Harav Nachum of Shadik (Shadika), who later lived in Yerushalayim; Harav Asher Lemel of Galin; Harav Yaakov Yehudah of Sleshin; and Harav Yisrael, zecher tzaddikim livrachah.

Rav Shlomo Zalman was born in Warsaw during the time that his father learned there with Harav Shlomo Zalman Lifshitz, zt”l, the Chemdas Shlomo. Later, Rav Avraham returned to his native Posen.

Rav Shlomo Zalman married the daughter of Harav Chaim Nachum Margulies, the son-in-law of Harav Ephraim Segal, zt”l, Rav of Kviel.

His zivug sheini was the daughter of Harav Binyamin Wolf Traube, zt”l, Rav of Kalish.

Rav Shlomo Zalman was appointed Rav in Zlotchov, near Kalish.

An outstanding masmid, he also secretly did many acts of tzedakah and chessed.

Rav Shlomo Zalman was considered to have ruach hakodesh.

It is related that one time, during his shiur in his yeshivah in Zlotchov, a group of six doves landed on the window of the beis medrash; one flew away.

Rav Shlomo Zalman instructed the talmidim to continue to learn on their own, while he himself set out to gather his brothers and travel to the home of their sister in Kletshev who had passed away.

They arrived just in time for the kevurah.

When asked how he had known, Rav Shlomo Zalman replied that the six doves on the window corresponded to his family, five brothers and one sister, and when one bird flew away, he understood that his sister had been niftar.

Rav Shlomo Zalman was niftar on 8 Av 5591/1831, during a cholera outbreak.

Rav Shlomo Zalman left manuscripts of chiddushim on many masechtos, which were not printed.

Some of his chiddushim are quoted in other sefarim.

Rav Shlomo Zalman had one son-in-law: Harav Michoel Dov Weingott, zt”l, Rav in Loivitch and mechaber of Agudas Ezov Midbari.

Zecher tzaddik livrachah.

July 20

In 1861, the Congress of the Confederate States convened in Richmond, Virginia.

In 1954, the Geneva Accords divided Vietnam into northern and southern entities.

In 1969, astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin became the first people to walk on the moon after reaching the surface in their Apollo 11 lunar module.

In 1976, America’s Viking 1 robot spacecraft made a successful, first-ever landing on Mars.