This Day in History – October 21/3 Cheshvan

In 5051/1290, 16,000 English Jews were expelled from England in the final expulsion by King Edward I.


5611/1850, Harav Yisrael, the Ruzhiner Rebbe, zt”l

5621/1860, Harav Eliezer Horowitz, Dzikover Rebbe, zt”l

5626/1865, Harav Yosef Zundel of Salant and Yerushalayim, zt”l

5700/1939, Harav Yitzchak Zelig Morgenstern, The Sokolover Rebbe, Zt”l

Harav Yitzchak Zelig Morgenstern of Sokolov was born in Kotzk in 5626/1866. His father was Reb Chaim Yisrael of Pilov, son of Rav Dovid of Kotzk and grandson of the Kotzker Rebbe, Harav Menachem Mendel Morgenstern, zy”a. His mother was the daughter of Reb Zelig Frankel, a famous Kotzker Chassid. They were blessed with seven outstanding children, one of whom was Rav Yitzchak Zelig.

As a youth, Rav Yitzchak Zelig blossomed within the walls of the beis medrash in Kotzk under the spiritual guidance of his grandfather and father.

At a young age he was recognized for his sharp wit, quick grasp and comprehension. His memory was also remarkable, and his appetite for ruchniyus fueled his diligence and perseverance in Torah studies.

Before the age of 16 he married the daughter of Rav Mordechai Sheinfeld of Pintchov, a wealthy Gerrer Chassid. They had 11 children.

After Rav Yitzchak Zelig’s wedding, his wealthy father-in-law supported him generously so he could dedicate himself to Torah study and avodas Hashem, but he later returned to Kotzk to be near his father.

In 5648/1888, when his father moved to Pilov in the district of Lublin, Rav Yitzchak Zelig followed him and remained at his father’s side for the 11 years of his stay.

In 5659/1899, Rav Yitzchak Zelig was invited to serve as Rav in Sokolov, a city near Shedlitz. He meanwhile mastered the Russian language and received authorization from the government to be a Rabbi, as was then required by the Czarist regime.

In 5660/1900, Rav Yitzchak Zelig began to lead the community in Sokolov, armed with semichos from various Rabbanim, among them Rav Chaim of Brisk, zt”l.

Rav Yitzchak Zelig served as Rav in Sokolov for approximately 40 years.

By the beginning of World War II he was already weak and living in the Polish resort town of Otvock. When the Nazis took over, he was devastated. The death of his son at the hands of the Nazis completely broke his spirit and his condition worsened.

On 3 Cheshvan 5700/1939, the Sokolover Rebbe returned his soul to its Maker. With much difficulty, some of his close Chassidim managed to bring his body to the cemetery in Warsaw, where he was buried.

Although he was a prolific writer, most of his Torah chiddushim were lost in the Holocaust.

Oct. 21

In 1879, Thomas Edison perfected a workable electric light at his laboratory in Menlo Park, N.J.

In 1797, the U.S. Navy frigate Constitution, also known as “Old Ironsides,” was christened in Boston’s harbor.

In 1892, schoolchildren across the U.S. observed Columbus Day (according to the Gregorian date) by reciting, for the first time, the original version of “The Pledge of Allegiance,” written by Francis Bellamy for The Youth’s Companion.

In 1944, during World War II, U.S. troops captured the German city of Aachen.

In 1945, women in France were allowed to vote in parliamentary elections for the first time.

In 1960, Democrat John F. Kennedy and Republican Richard M. Nixon clashed in their fourth and final presidential debate in New York.

In 1967, the Israeli destroyer INS Eilat was sunk by Egyptian missile boats near Port Said; 47 Israeli crew members were lost.

In 1971, President Richard Nixon nominated Lewis F. Powell and William H. Rehnquist to the U.S. Supreme Court. Both nominees were confirmed.