This Day in History – November 28/Cheshvan 30

Launch of an Atlas Agena D with Mariner 4 at Cape Canaveral. (NASA)

30 Cheshvan

5607/1846 – Harav Tzvi Hersh of Rimanov, zt”l


Harav Eliezer Yehudah Waldenberg, Zt”l, the Tzitz Eliezer

Harav Eliezer Yehudah Waldenberg was born in Yerushalayim on 3 Teves 5676/1915 to Harav Yaakov Gedaliah, zt”l, a leading talmid chacham, and Rochel Leah, a”h, daughter of Harav Nachum Rogoznitzky, zt”l, one of the heads of the Eitz Chaim Talmud Torah and yeshivah.

Just before he was born, his father was arrested by the Turkish authorities as a foreigner and was unable to take part in the bris. After serving as sandak, Harav Yosef Chaim Sonnenfeld, zt”l, Rav of Yerushalayim, approached Rebbetzin Waldenberg and gave her a blessing for “gutte, Yiddishe nachas.” Following the bris the parents had to leave the country with their children. After a few years in Syria, the family returned to Eretz Yisrael, and young Eliezer Yehudah was enrolled at Talmud Torah Eitz Chaim.

Eliezer Yehudah’s unusual abilities became apparent at a young age and while still a boy he was accepted at Yeshivas Chevron.

When he was 19, his sefer Dvar Eliezer was published. In their haskamos, Harav Isser Zalman Meltzer, zt”l, Harav Yechezkel Sarna, zt”l, and other Gedolim marveled at the young man’s proficiency in Talmud Bavli and Yerushalmi, as well as his command of the Rishonim and Acharonim.

In 5696/1936, Rav Eliezer Yehudah married the daughter of Harav Avraham Werner, zt”l, Rav of Netanya.

A short time later, he began to serve as Rosh Yeshivah of Yeshivas Shaarei Tzion. During this period, the first volume of his responsa, Tzitz Eliezer, was published. Although just 27 years old, Rav Eliezer Yehudah addressed questions from every area of halachah and weighed them with the leading poskim.

The Chazon Ish wrote numerous notations on the proofs and the two had lengthy exchanges on various halachic matters. Rav Waldenberg’s rulings and books were held in high esteem by Harav Moshe Feinstein, Harav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach and Harav Yosef Sholom Elyashiv, zecher tzaddikim livrachah, with whom he spoke and corresponded regularly.

For decades Rav Eliezer Yehudah served as Av Beis Din of the Rabbinate’s beis din in Yerushalayim.

Dayanim around the world would consult with him on a regular basis.

The multi-volume set, Tzitz Eliezer, won praise from Rabbanim and poskim around the world, particularly for how the mechaber addressed she’eilos related to medicine, Shabbos, and other timely issues.

Rav Eliezer Yehudah was niftar on 30 Cheshvan, the first day of Rosh Chodesh Kislev 5767/2006, at the age of 91.

Although the levayah was held on Rosh Chodesh, hespeidim were delivered, in accordance with the din of that one may deliver a hesped for a talmid chacham. He was buried on Har Hamenuchos.

Zecher tzaddik livrachah.

Nov. 28

In 1520, Portuguese navigator Ferdinand Magellan reached the Pacific Ocean after sailing through the South American strait that now bears his name.

In 1861, the Confederate Congress admitted Missouri as the 12th state of the Confederacy after Missouri’s disputed secession from the Union.

In 1964, the United States launched the space probe Mariner 4 on a course toward Mars, which it flew past in July 1965, sending back pictures of the planet.

In 1990, Margaret Thatcher resigned as British prime minister during an audience with Queen Elizabeth II, who then conferred the premiership on John Major.

In 2001, Enron Corp., once the world’s largest energy trader, collapsed after would-be rescuer Dynegy Inc. backed out of an $8.4 billion takeover deal. Enron filed for bankruptcy protection four days later.