This Day in History – March 25/29 Adar

In 5559/1799, Napoleon captured the city of Yaffo.


5626/1866, Harav Shlomo of Radomsk, zt”l, the Tiferes Shlomo

5746/1986, Harav Yaakov Kamenetsky, Zt”l, Rosh Yeshivas Torah Vodaas

Harav Yaakov was born to Rav Binyomin Kamenetsky, an honest and righteous timber-dealer and owner of a large flour mill, in the village of Klushkovka, located in the Vilna province, on 21 Adar I 5651/1891. In his early childhood, his family moved to Chattowitz, near Minsk, and then to Dolhinov, a large town near Vilna with a large Jewish population. He studied with a private tutor until he began to learn Gemara at Dolhinov’s yeshivah ketanah.

Rav Yaakov later pointed out that had it not been for this move, he would probably have grown up an ordinary businessman and would never have absorbed the unquenchable love of Torah that was prevalent in this small village.

He progressed so rapidly that a few years later, during the course of one winter, Rav Yaakov completed the entire Maseches Kiddushin.

Soon after, he left Dolhinov to study in Minsk. Rav Yaakov entered the Slabodka Yeshivah where he became known as the Dolhinover iluy or “Yankel Dolhinover”.

During World War I he took refuge in Lomza, in the yeshivah of Harav Yechiel Michel Gordon, zt”l. On 22 Sivan, 5679/1919, he married Rebbetzin Ita Ettel, daughter of the Mashgiach, Harav Ber Hirsch Heller, zt”l, known in Slabodka as “Der Yunger Mashgiach.”

From 5681/1921 to 5686/1926 he learned in a kollel in Slobodka that was known for its distinguished members, and he subsequently took on the Rabbanus of Tzitivian, a small town in Lithuania, which enabled him to continue his studies.

In 5697/1937 he left for America. His plan was to collect money for the Slabodka Kollel, as well as for other causes. However, his future lay in being the manhig hador so Hashgachah forced him to stay in North America, where he was first appointed Rav in Seattle, and later in Toronto.

In 5705/1945, he acceded to the request of Harav Shraga Feivel Mendelovitz, zt”l, to assume the position of Rosh Yeshivah in Mesivta Torah Vodaas. During his many years there he was marbitz Torah to countless talmidim and served as a role model of how a Yid conducts himself according to the Shulchan Aruch and of sterling middos. At the same time, he played a leading role amongst the ranks of Gedolei Yisrael in guiding Klal Yisrael.

In 5739/1979, when many Russian Jews began coming to Eretz Yisrael and the United States, where they could enter the fold of Yiddishkeit free of obstacles, Rav Yaakov’s happiness knew no bounds.

The last 19 years of his life he lived in Monsey, N.Y., where he continued to teach and lead Klal Yisrael.

Rav Yaakov was niftar on Monday, 29 Adar I 5746/1986, eight days after his 95th birthday; he was buried in America, rather than Eretz Yisrael, since it would make it easier for his family to visit his kever – an illustration of his extreme care for the feelings of others.

His chiddushim were printed in his sefarim, Emes L’Yaakov, on Torah and on Shas.

Zecher tzaddik livrachah.

March 25

In 1634, English colonists sent by Lord Baltimore arrived in present-day Maryland.

In 1911, 146 people, mostly young female immigrants, were killed when fire broke out at the Triangle Shirtwaist Co. in New York.

In 1963, private pilot Ralph Flores and his passenger were rescued after being stranded for seven weeks in brutally cold conditions in the Yukon after their plane crashed.

In 1965, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. led 25,000 people to the Alabama state capitol in Montgomery after a five-day march from Selma to protest the denial of voting rights to blacks.

Later that day, civil rights activist Viola Liuzzo, a white Detroit homemaker, was shot and killed by Ku Klux Klansmen.

In 2010, Osama bin Laden threatened in a new message to kill any Americans al-Qaida captured if the U.S. executed Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the self-professed mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks, or other al-Qaida suspects.