This Day In History 8 Kislev/December 8

Harav Yaakov Yisrael Twersky of Chernobyl, zt”l
Harav Yaakov Yisrael Twersky of Chernobyl, zt”l

8 Kislev

3320/442 B.C.E., King Yehoyakim burned Megillas Eichah, written by Baruch ben Neriah, talmid of Yirmiyahu Hanavi. A taanis tzaddikim was established commemorating the events of this day.


5429/1668, Harav Moshe, zt”l, mechaber of the Mahadura Basra

5547/1786, Harav Yitzchak Navon, zt”l, mechaber of Din Emes

5625/1864, Harav Avraham Yitzchak of Tunis, zt”l, mechaber of Mishmeros Kehunah

5632/1871, Harav Aharon of Chernobyl, zt”l

5656/1895, Harav Nachum Dov Schneerson of Ovritch, zt”l

5702/1941, Harav Pinchas Dovid Horowitz, zt”l, the Bostoner Rebbe

5702/1941, Harav Avraham Mordechai of Komarna, zt”l

5703/1942, Harav Dovid of Sochatchov, zt”l, the Chasdei Dovid

5765/2004, Harav Eliezer Geldzahler, zt”l, Rosh Yeshivah of Ohr Yisrael


Harav Yaakov Yisrael Twersky of Chernobyl, zt”l

Harav Yaakov Yisrael Twersky was born in 5662/1902. He was the son of Harav Shlomo Shmuel of Chernobyl.

Reb Shlomo Shmuel was named Chernobyler Rebbe after the petirah of his father, Harav Baruch Asher of Chernobyl, in 5665/1905. At the outbreak of the Communist Revolution in 1917, Reb Shlomo Shmuel settled in Kiev. In 5693/1933 he moved to Riga and from there to Brooklyn, New York, where he was niftar on 28 Adar II, 5695/1935.

Rav Yaakov Yisrael married the daughter of Harav Yaakov Yosef Mandel of Aurzhshtetshev, from the dynasty of Ostrohah.

In 5697/1937, Rav Yaakov Yisrael managed to escape from Soviet Russia to Eretz Yisrael. From Eretz Yisrael he went on to America in 5699/1939, to succeed his father as Rebbe.

Rav Yaakov Yisrael set up a beis medrash in Boro Park. He became known for his outstanding middah of hachnassas orchim. His house was open to all.

The Rebbe had several thousand followers in the New York area and thousands more elsewhere, especially in Chicago, where many Jews from Chernobyl had immigrated before World War I.

Rav Yaakov Yisrael was active in communal affairs, and held an honored place among the American Rebbes.

On 8 Kislev 5744/1983, the Rebbe had just finished conducting a yahrtzeit tisch for his forebear, the Chernobyler Maggid, Harav Aharon of Chernobyl, when he suddenly felt ill. He was immediately rushed to the hospital, where he passed away a few hours later.

The Rebbe was laid to rest in the Beth David Cemetery on the Queens-Long Island border alongside his father, Rebbe Shlomo Shmuel Twersky. A large ohel marks his grave.

Zechuso yagen aleinu.

Directions to ohel in Beth David Cemetery in Elmont, New York:

Main entrance on Elmont Road

Right on Lincoln Avenue

Left on Machpela Avenue

Right on Madison Avenue

The ohel is usually locked; stop at the office for the key.


Dec. 8

In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln issued his Proclamation of Amnesty and Reconstruction for the South.

In 1962, typographers went on a 114-day strike against four New York City newspapers.

In 1987, President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev signed a treaty at the White House calling for destruction of intermediate-range nuclear missiles.

In 1991, Russia, Byelorussia and Ukraine declared the Soviet national government dead, forging a new alliance to be known as the Commonwealth of Independent States.