This Day in History – April 20/26 Nissan

26 Nisan

In 5703/1943, 13,000 Jews of Amsterdam were deported to Sobibor and Auschwitz. The deportation lasted until 30 Av of that year.


2517, Yehoshua bin Nun

5495/1735, Harav Efraim Navon, zt”l, mechaber of Machaneh Efraim

5664/1904, Harav Moshe Betzalel Luria of Suvalk, zt”l

5698/1938, Harav Yehoshua of Mostreshitz, zt”l


Harav Yosef Levinstein, Zt”l,
Rav of Srutzk

Harav Yosef Levinstein was born in Lublin in 5600/1840. His father Harav Abish, a leading talmid chacham of the city, was a fourth-generation descendant of the famed Harav Avraham Abish, zt”l, Rav of Frankfurt.

After marrying the daughter of Harav Yitzchak Nislesh of Prague, a Vorka chassid, Rav Yosef settled in Prague. There he continued to grow in Torah. At that time he was given semichah by Harav Yehoshua Heschel Ashkenazi, zt”l, Rav of Lublin.

At just 18, Rav Yosef was appointed Dayan in Chorzhil. Later he became Rav in Zaklibkov, near Lublin.

As his fame as a Gadol baTorah spread, Rav Yosef was much sought after, and he was chosen Rav of Srutzk. There, he served for more than 50 years, and there he wrote his sefarim and comprehensive works on the history of Gedolei Yisrael.

Rav Yosef was a walking encyclopedia; he could be asked for the source of any quotation. Using his phenomenal memory, Rav Yosef published Dor Dor Vedorshav, a chronological work on all Gedolei Yisrael from Adam Harishon. He put much effort into commemorating those who, while they may have been known during their lifetimes, had been forgotten in later generations. Rav Yosef also helped others who wrote historical and biographical works.

Rav Yosef contributed to the many Torah periodicals of his time: the Me’asef, Torah Mitzion, Shaarei Torah, Ha’peles and others. He also helped publish Birkas Avraham, Kanah Avraham and Machazeh Avraham, authored by his forebear Harav Abish of Frankfurt, zt”l. To all these sefarim, Rav Yosef added his own chiddushim.

There are also some teshuvos of his in Sdei Chemed.

Rav Yosef was niftar in Srutzk on 26 Nisan 5684/1924.

Zecher tzaddik livrachah.

April 20

In 1836, the Territory of Wisconsin was established by Congress.

In 1940, RCA publicly demonstrated its new and powerful electron microscope.

In 1971, the Supreme Court upheld the use of busing to achieve racial desegregation in schools.

In 1980, the first Cubans sailing to the United States as part of the massive Mariel boatlift reached Florida.

In 1995, in the aftermath of the Oklahoma City bombing, the FBI announced it was looking for two men suspected of renting the truck used to carry the explosive; meanwhile, rescue teams suspended the search for survivors so that the remaining structure of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building could be shored up.

In 1999, the Columbine High School massacre took place near Littleton, Colo., as two students shot and killed 12 classmates and one teacher before taking their own lives.

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