This Day in History – November 25/9 Kislev

In 5155/1394, the Jews of Paris were expelled by Charles VI.


Yahrtzeiten

5574/1813, Harav Avraham Chassid of Brodi, zt”l

5588/1827, Harav Dov Ber, the Mitteler Rebbe of Lubavitch, zt”l

5636/1875, Harav Dovid Dov Berish Meisels, zt”l, Rav of Lask

5662/1901, Harav Meir Chaim Auerbach of Manostreshitz, zt”l

5668/1907, Harav Yaakov Aryeh Shapiro, Rebbe of Neshchiz, zt”l

5680/1919, Harav Yechiel Mechel, Rav of Mezhibuzh, zt”l


5599/1838, Harav Moshe Shapira of Slavita, Zy”a

Harav Moshe Shapira was born circa 5519/1759. His father was Harav Pinchas of Koritz, zy”a, a close disciple of the Baal Shem Tov, zy”a.

Rav Moshe married the daughter of Harav Yitzchak, zt”l, Dayan in Polnoah (father of Harav Gedaliah of Linitz, mechaber of Teshuos Chen).

When he was asked to become Rav of Slavita, Rav Moshe accepted, but only with the condition that he would not be paid a salary.

A tzaddik and a talmid chacham, Rav Moshe was close to Harav Shneur Zalman of Liadi, zt”l, as well as many other Rebbes of the generation.

Eventually, Rav Moshe founded the world-renowned Slavita Press, which printed only sifrei kodesh. Many tzaddikim used sefarim published by this press, best known for the Slavita Shas.

Rav Moshe took two of his sons, Reb Shmuel Abba and Reb Pinchas, into the business, and they helped print the new Shas. It was a very beautiful edition, according to requests of the Gedolei Hador.

Preparation and printing of the Shas took five years. Because of the extensive work and vast amount of money invested in the project, the Gedolim announced that the Shas was under copyright for the next 10 years, during which it would be forbidden for any press to print Shas.

But when the entire stock of Shas was sold out in a relatively short time, the Vilna Press requested that the copyright expire, even though 10 years had not yet passed. There was a difference of opinion among Rabbanim, some siding with Slavita Press, others with the Vilna Press.

The end of the Slavita Press was a sad one. One of its non-Jewish binders passed away in the factory while drunk. Word spread that the Jewish owners killed him. Due to this slander, the brothers Reb Shmuel Abba and Reb Pinchas were exiled to Kiev. For three years the brothers suffered greatly. In the end, the verdict was passed that they walk between two rows of policemen who would strike them with their clubs.

After this punishment was carried out (observers were amazed at the serenity of the Shapira brothers during their ordeal), they were sent off to exile in Siberia. When their father, Rav Moshe, heard this, he died of a broken heart.

After much tribulation and a heavy bribe, Czar Nicholas transmuted the brothers’ sentence to life imprisonment in Moscow, where they were imprisoned for 17 years. It was only after Nicholas’s demise, when Alexander II became czar, that they were finally freed after 17 years, broken in body and spirit. They returned home to Slavita only to find that the press, in which they had invested so much money and energy, had been destroyed.

Zechuso yagen aleinu.


Nov. 25

In 1783, the British evacuated New York during the Revolutionary War.

In 1915, a new version of the Ku Klux Klan, targeting blacks, Jews, Catholics and immigrants, was founded by William Joseph Simmons.

In 1961, the first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, USS Enterprise, was commissioned.

In 1963, the body of President John F. Kennedy was laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery.

In 1986, the Iran-Contra affair erupted as President Ronald Reagan and Attorney General Edwin Meese revealed that profits from secret arms sales to Iran had been diverted to Nicaraguan rebels.

In 2002, President George W. Bush signed legislation creating the Department of Homeland Security.

In 2010, incumbent Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki cemented his grip on power, bringing an end to nearly nine months of political deadlock, after he was asked to form the next government.