This Day in History – March 10/26 Adar

In 5004/1244, the Pope issued a bull ordering the burning of the Talmud.

In 5437/1677, the Jewish community of Newport, R.I., bought land for a cemetery.


Yahrtzeiten

5573/1813, Harav Eliezer Lipa of Chmelnik, zt”l, son of the Rebbe Reb Elimelech of Lizhensk, zy”a

5682/1922, Harav Moshe Nachum Wallenstein, zt”l, Rav of the Perushim kehillah in Yerushalayim

5762/2002, Harav Avraham Chaim Brim of Yerushalayim, zt”l

5635/1875, Harav Yosef Shaul Natanzohn, Zt”l

The Shoel u’Meishiv, as Harav Yosef Shaul was known, was born in Berzon in 5570/1810. His father, Harav Aryeh Leibish Natanzohn, zt”l, molded his precious child prodigy from early childhood.

At 16 he married Rebbetzin Sarah Eidel, the daughter of Harav Yitzchak Aharon Itinge of Lvov, zt”l. A prominent gvir and well-known talmid chacham, Reb Yitzchak Aharon was also a notable yachsan and considered himself a Chassid; he davened in a Chassidishe kloiz.

Rav Yosef Shaul settled in Lvov, where his father-in-law supported him graciously. There, he got to know his esteemed brother-in-law Harav Mordechai Zev Itinge, zt”l, and they formed a special bond fostered by diligent, intense Torah study. Together they answered many who sought their counsel, and they went on to co-author a number of sefarim, including Meforshei Hayam and Magen Giborim on Tur and Shulchan Aruch; Me’iras Einayim on hilchos bedikas harei’ah; and Ner Maaravi on Yerushalmi.

After a number of years, his father-in-law was niftar. His Rebbetzin took upon herself to support her husband wholeheartedly, which enabled him to continue his learning.

In 5617/1857, he was appointed Rav in Lvov, one of the largest Jewish communities in Poland. He served as Rav there for almost 20 years, but in fact, he was not only Rav in Lvov — his reach went far beyond that city, as he was in close contact with all the contemporary Rabbanim and lomdim of Poland, Hungary, Russia and beyond. His halachic responsa were sent to thousands, and his sefarim, She’eilos u’Teshuvos Shoel u’Meishiv, were reprinted seven times in the early years as well as multiple times after his petirah.

His other sefarim include Divrei Shaul on the Haggadah; Divrei Shaul Yosef Daas; Eidus b’Yosef; Yodos Nedarim; Divrei Shaul al haTorah and Divrei Shaul al Aggados haShas.

In Teves of 5638/1878, he became ill. For the next two months, he lay in his sickbed, continuing to write halachic responsa despite his weakness and ignoring the doctor’s advice not to strain himself. On his last day, 26 Adar I, when his strength had almost left him, a she’eilah that had arrived that morning was read to him. He requested that the Dayan, Harav Chaim Yosef Eilenberg, zt”l, answer in his stead. An hour later his holy neshamah rose to Shamayim.

Reportedly, a crowd of over 15,000 people participated in his levayah.

Yehi zichro baruch.


March 10

In 1785, Thomas Jefferson was appointed America’s minister to France, succeeding Benjamin Franklin.

In 1848, the U.S. Senate ratified the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, which ended the Mexican-American War.

In 1864, President Abraham Lincoln assigned Ulysses S. Grant, who had just received his commission as lieutenant-general, to the command of the Armies of the United States.

In 1876, Alexander Graham Bell’s assistant, Thomas Watson, heard Bell say over his experimental telephone: “Mr. Watson, come here — I want to see you” from the next room of Bell’s Boston laboratory.

In 1913, former slave, abolitionist and Underground Railroad “conductor” Harriet Tubman died in Auburn, N.Y.; she was in her 90s.

In 1969, James Earl Ray pleaded guilty to assassinating civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. Ray later repudiated that plea, maintaining his innocence until his death.

In 1985, Konstantin Chernenko, who was the Soviet Union’s leader for 13 months, died at age 73.