This Day in History – July 8/16 Tammuz

In 4999/1239, the Pope confiscated all manuscripts of the Talmud.


Yahrtzeiten

5701/1941, Harav Aaron Yosef Baksht, Hy”d, Rav in Lomza and Shoval, among other places.


5729/1969, Harav Avraham Yehoshua Heschel of Kopycznitz, Zt”l

Harav Avraham Yehoshua Heschel was born in Husyatin on 4 Iyar 5648/1888 to Harav Yitzchak Meir of Kopycznitz, zy”a. He spent his early childhood with his illustrious maternal grandfather, Harav Mordechai Shraga of Husyatin, zy”a, son of Harav Yisrael of Ruzhin, zy”a. When Reb Avraham Yehoshua was six years old his illustrious grandfather was niftar, and his father Rav Yitzchak Meir, became Rebbe in the nearby town of Kopycznitz.

Rav Avraham Yehoshua married Rebbetzin Sarah Brachah, the daughter of his paternal uncle, Harav Moshe Mordechai, Rebbe of Mezibuzh-Warsaw, zy”a.

With the outbreak of World War I, Rav Avraham Yehoshua and his family moved with his father to Vienna. His home became a center of chessed for the thousands of refugees who fled there. They found in Reb Avrumenyu — as he was fondly known — a listening ear and a fount of practical advice and assistance.

The war left many orphans in its wake. Reb Avrumenyu established a frum orphanage for them in Baden, near Vienna.

Rav Avraham Yehoshua was his father’s right hand. Following his father’s petirah, on the first day of Rosh Hashanah 5696/1935, he succeeded his father as Kopyczynitzer Rebbe.

In 5698/1938, when the Nazis entered Vienna, the Kopycznitzer Rebbe was arrested and forced to do degrading labor. The Nazis would cut off the beards of distinguished Rabbanim. When his turn came, he stuck out his hand and said to the Nazi officer, “Cut off these two fingers, but don’t touch my beard!” The Nazis were so taken aback by the Rebbe’s courage that they left him alone.

Initially, the Rebbe refused to flee, out of a sense of responsibility for his chassidim and extended family members. It was only after his uncle, Harav Yisrael of Husyatin, told him that he would be able to do more on their behalf in America did he flee to the United States where he settled on the Lower East Side of New York. Ml

One of the Rebbe’s main concerns was to support Jewish education and to build mikvaos.

On his first visit to Eretz Yisrael in 5706/1946, the Rebbe established the Beis Avraham orphans home in Petach Tikva.

The Rebbe headed Chinuch Atzmai, together with Harav Aharon Kotler, zt”l.

On 15 Tammuz the Rebbe traveled from his home in Boro Park to Monsey so that he could take a much-needed rest. Taking leave of his aron kodesh and mezuzos and reminding his children to take along a copy of the Ramban’s Shaar Ha’gemul, he set out. That night in Monsey, on 16 Tammuz, he was niftar.

The Rebbe was buried in Teveria.

He was succeeded by his son, Harav Moshe Mordechai of Kopycznitz, zy”a.

Zechuso yagen aleinu.


July 8

In 1889, The Wall Street Journal was first published.

In 1947, a New Mexico newspaper, the Roswell Daily Record, quoted officials at Roswell Army Air Field as saying they had recovered a “flying saucer” that crashed onto a ranch; officials then said it was actually a weather balloon.

In 1950, President Harry S. Truman named Gen. Douglas MacArthur commander-in-chief of United Nations forces in Korea. (Truman ended up sacking MacArthur for insubordination nine months later.)

In 1994, Kim Il Sung, North Korea’s communist leader since 1948, died at age 82.

In 2011, Atlantis thundered into orbit on a cargo run that would close out the three-decade U.S. space shuttle program.

In 2015, a “router issue” at United Airlines suspended all of the company’s flights for nearly two hours, leading to 800 flight delays and 60 cancellations; a “technical problem” at the New York Stock Exchange halted trading; and the Wall Street Journal’s website, WSJ.com, had “technical difficulties.”