This Day in History – 9 Elul/September 4

In 5027/1267, the Ramban arrived in Yerushalayim after being forced to flee his native Spain. He revived the Jewish community there soon after his arrival.

In 5151/1391, Jews of Gerona, Spain, were massacred. Hy”d.

In 5698/1938, Jewish teachers and students were barred from all Italian schools.



2195/1566 B.C.E., Dan, the son of Yaakov Avinu. He was also born on this day, in 2320/1441 B.C.E.

5567/1807, Harav Yissachar Dov Kremer of Vilna, zt”l, brother of the Vilna Gaon

5620/1860, Harav Shimon Zarchi, zt”l, mechaber of She’eilos U’Teshuvos Nachlas Shimon

5694/1934, Harav Aharon Menachem Mendel Gutterman of Radzimin, zt”l

5718/1958, Harav Yonasan Steif, zt”l, Rav of Budapest and the Vienner Rav in America, mechaber of Chadashim Gam Yeshanim

5728/1968, Harav Yitzchak Friedman of Husyatin, zt”l

5736/1976, Harav Nachum Mordechai Perlow of Novominsk, zt”l


5660/1900, Harav Tzadok Hakohen Rabinowitz of Lublin, the Pri Tzaddik, zy”a

Harav Tzadok Hakohen was born on 22 Shevat 5583/1823. His father was Harav Yaakov, the Rav of Kreisburg, Latvia; his mother was Rebbetzin Yuta, a descendant of the Shelah Hakadosh.

From his earliest years people predicted that he was destined for greatness. At a very young age he studied Gemara intensely, at times under the light of the moon, since his parents could not afford candles.

When he was six years old his father was niftar. He moved into the home of his father’s brother, Harav Yosef, mechaber of Kapos Zahav, and when his uncle became Rav in Krinik, near Bialystok, the young Tzadok went with him. He was known later on as “the iluy of Krinik.”

At 12 he was already answering she’eilos in halachah. At his bar mitzvah he delivered an intricate pilpul, astounding everyone.

At 15 he became a son-in-law of a wealthy wine merchant, in whose home he continued to serve Hashem with growing fervor. In 5600/1840, when he was 17, he completed Shas, as he mentioned in a letter. He wrote a number of sefarim in those years: Otzar Hamelech on Rambam, Meishiv Hataanah on ibur hashanah and Sefer HaZichronos.

His success brought down upon him the fury of some of the townspeople, who disseminated vicious, unfounded rumors about his household. Unfortunately, Harav Tzadok was forced to leave the home of his father-in-law and seek a heter meah rabbanim.

Due to this sad reality, he had to travel extensively and thus met many Rabbanim and Admorim. He was drawn closer to Chassidus and eventually became a close talmid of Harav Mordechai Yosef Leiner, the Beis Yaakov of Ishbitze, zt”l.

After the petirah of Harav Mordechai Yosef in 5614/1854, many Chassidim went to his son, while others chose Harav Yehudah Leib Eiger of Lublin as their Rebbe. Harav Tzadok became a devoted follower of Reb Leibele, traveling to him in Lublin. During that period Harav Tzadok lived in seclusion, devoting himself entirely to avodas Hashem.

In 5648/1888, after the petirah of Reb Leibele, Harav Tzadok was chosen by many Chassidim as their Rebbe.

At one point Harav Tzadok was offered the Rabbanus of Lublin, but he refused it. He devoted his life to writing his sefarim and serving Hashem.

Harav Tzadok eventually remarried and raised his Rebbetzin’s children. He eschewed all worldly pleasures, conducting himself with humility and kedushah. He would barely eat; in fact, he only ate at the daily siyum that he conducted. He did not accept any money from Chassidim other than that given to him at a pidyon haben, which was rightfully his by Torah law since he was a kohen.

Chassidim said that on Shabbos he looked entirely different than during the week, and that on Motzoei Shabbos he would have to be revived as he parted from his neshamah yeseirah.

Harav Tzadok led his Chassidim for nearly 13 years. In 5660/1900 he became considerably weakened. As he never had any children of his own, he asked his stepchildren to print his sefarim. He was niftar on 9 Elul and was buried in the ohel of his beloved Rebbe, Harav Yehudah Leib of Lublin.

Among the many sefarim he was mechaber are Pri Tzaddik, Tzidkas HaTzaddik, Resisei Lailah and Takanas Hashavim. In his sefarim he records many chiddushim that were revealed to him in dreams.

Many of his manuscripts remain unpublished. Harav Tzadok’s sefarim are a precious legacy to Yidden from all walks of life who seek closeness to Hashem, since in them he covers the gamut of revealed and hidden aspects of the Torah.

Zechuso yagen aleinu.


September 4

In 1781, Los Angeles was founded by Spanish settlers under the leadership of Governor Felipe de Neve.

In 1886, a group of Apache Indians led by Geronimo (also known as Goyathlay, “One Who Yawns”) surrendered to Gen. Nelson Miles at Skeleton Canyon in Arizona.

In 1917, the American Expeditionary Forces in France suffered their first fatalities during World War I when a German plane attacked a British-run base hospital.

In 1944, during World War II, British troops liberated Antwerp, Belgium.

In 1957, Arkansas Gov. Orval Faubus used Arkansas National Guardsmen to prevent nine black students from entering all-white Central High School in Little Rock.

Ford Motor Co. began selling its ill-fated Edsel.

In 1974, the United States established diplomatic relations with East Germany.

In 1984, Canada’s Progressive Conservatives, led by Brian Mulroney, won a landslide victory in general elections over the Liberal Party of Prime Minister John N. Turner and the New Democrats headed by Ed Broadbent.