This Day in History – 9 Iyar/May 14

Dutch soldiers guard the German/Netherlands border shortly after mobilization, 1939

9 Iyar

In 2870, the Jews went to war with the Plishtim and lost.

In 5414/1654, this date marked the end of a three-month grace period given by the Portuguese to the Jews of Brazil before they had to leave the country. Those who remained after this deadline were handed over to the infamous Inquisition.

In 5524/1764, a letter written by Empress Catherine II of Russia opened the way for limited settlement of Jews in Riga.

Yahrtzeiten

5609/1849, Harav Yitzchak Bernays, zt”l, Rav of Hamburg

5686/1926, Harav Moshe Hager, Rebbe of Shatz, zt”l, son of Harav Baruch of Vizhnitz

5759/1999, Harav Moshe Hager, zt”l, Rosh Yeshivah of Seret-Vizhnitz, Haifa


5664/1904

Harav Chaim Friedlander, Zt”l, the Tal Chaim of Liska

Harav Chaim Friedlander was the son of Harav Moshe, who served as Rav of Kleinwarden, Hungary.

When he became of age, Harav Chaim was chosen as the chassan of the only daughter of Harav Tzvi Hirsh of Liska, zy”a, the author of Ach Pri Tevuah.

Rav Tzvi Hirsh dearly cherished his son-in-law. Rav Chaim writes in the introduction to his Tal Chaim that he had no intention of publishing his Torah thoughts, until his father-in-law instructed him to do so.

Following the petirah of his father-in-law, Rav Chaim was appointed his successor, serving as Rebbe and Rav of Liska.

Rav Chaim was renowned throughout Hungary as a tremendous Gaon. His chiddushim on the sugyos haShas, published under the name Tal Chaim U’vrahchah, demonstrate his vast and sharp knowledge.

Renowned also for his piety and asceticism, the Tal Chaim was famous for not being able to differentiate between the various coins of the Hungarian currency. When he was told that the “red” coin was more valuable than the “blue” coin he remarked that red is middas hadin and blue is middas harachamim; hence, it should be the opposite.

It is related that at the time before his petirah, there was a change in the political climate of Hungary as well as a worsening of the economy. Nevertheless, the Rebbe and his kehillah tried to continue practicing Yiddishkeit. A proclamation went out that all Jews should be imprisoned and killed and their properties confiscated. In response, The Rebbe went to the beis medrash and led heartfelt tefillos; he offered himself as a korban tzibbur if this terrible verdict could be averted.

Later, as the Rebbe was eating, he choked on his food and was niftar. In the merit of his self-sacrifice, the verdict was nullified.

Before the levayah, it was discovered there was no room in the ohel of his father-in-law for his kevurah. A minyan of prominent Rabbanim, including his son and successor Harav Tzvi Hirsh, daven at the kever of the Ach Pri Tevuah, requesting he should make room for his son-in-law. A miracle occurred and the walls surrounding the kever literally moved. To this very day, one can still see that the tziyun of the Tal Chaim is literally connected to the wall of the ohel in Liska.

Zechuso yagen aleinu.


May 14

In 1804, the Lewis and Clark expedition to explore the Louisiana Territory as well as the Pacific Northwest left camp near present-day Hartford, Illinois.

In 1940, the Netherlands surrendered to invading German forces during World War II.

In 1955, representatives from eight Communist bloc countries, including the Soviet Union, signed the Warsaw Pact in Poland. (The Pact was dissolved in 1991.)

In 1973, The National Right to Life Committee was incorporated.

In 2008, the Interior Department declared the polar bear a threatened species because of the loss of Arctic sea ice.