This Day in History – 1 Shevat/January 11

Rosh Chodesh Shevat, according to Beis Shammai, is Rosh Hashanah for the trees. The significance is primarily in connection with maasros, orlah, neta revai and, according to some, Shemittah.


 

Yahrtzeiten

5409/1649, Harav Yitzchak Shapiro, zt”l, the Megaleh Amukos of Cracow

5639/1879, Harav Moshe Schick, zt”l, the Maharam Schick

5731/1971, Harav Moshe Yechiel of Ozhrov, zt”l


 

5762/2002, Harav Binyamin Rabinowitz, zt”l, of the Eidah Hachareidis

Harav Binyamin Rabinowitz, was born in 5672/1912. His father was a well-known Ruzhiner Chassid, zt”l, Harav Aryeh Mordechai Rabinowitz, a grandson of the Yehudi Hakadosh of Peshischa.

Even in his childhood, Rav Binyamin devoted himself exclusively to serving Hashem and studying the ways of the elder Chassidim and righteous men of Yerushalayim.

Rav Binyamin was especially close to Harav Dovid Tzvi Shlomo of Lelov, zt”l, and Harav Yosef Chaim Sonnenfeld, zt”l, the Rav of Yerushalayim.

Rav Binyamin married Ruchamah Liba, daughter of Harav Avraham Cohen, son-in-law of Harav Akiva Yosef Shlesinger, zt”l.

Shortly after he was married, Rav Binyamin asked the gabbai of the Tiferes Yisrael shul if he could borrow a Maseches Brachos for a short while. A few weeks later, he returned it and borrowed a Maseches Shabbos. In this way, he quickly learned through the entire Shas.

Rav Binyamin was extremely careful to avoid seeing anything forbidden. When he walked through the streets, he bent over and scrutinized the pavement as if he were looking for a lost coin. Even at home he never looked around but kept his eyes on whatever was before him. After years of his bending over, people were convinced that he was a short man, when in fact he was very tall. Appropriately, his last dvar Torah before his petirah was dedicated to the subject of shemiras einayim, guarding one’s eyes.

In time, Rav Binyamin was asked to become a maggid shiur in Yeshivas Chayei Olam and, later, Rosh Kollel for horaah. Rav Binyamin led the kollel for almost eight years.

On Rosh Chodesh Shevat 5736/1976, he became a member of the beis din of the Eidah Hachareidis in Yerushalayim. For exactly 26 years, Rav Binyamin judged with great wisdom and true daas Torah. He was known for his ability to reach compromises that satisfied all parties while fulfilling the most exacting standards of justice and righteousness.

One tool Rav Binyamin used for developing his middos was careful, detailed scheduling of every minute of the day. After his petirah, hundreds of his daily schedules were found.

Rav Binyamin was a powerful personal counselor. Many people came to him for advice, and he accepted young and old alike. His advice regarding chinuch ha’banim was highly sought after and was based on his oft-repeated comment: “Medarf mechanech zein di kinder, ober nisht tchepen — We have to educate children, not annoy them.”

Rav Binyamin led battles against breaches in Torah and avodah, teaching the derech Hashem regarding a vast array of difficult questions and situations.

Harav Binyamin Rabinowitz was niftar on 1 Shevat 5762/2002 and was buried on Har Hamenuchos.

Zechuso yagen aleinu.


 

Jan. 11

In 1908, President Theodore Roosevelt proclaimed the Grand Canyon National Monument. (It became a national park in 1919.)

In 1913, the first enclosed sedan-type automobile, a Hudson, went on display at the 13th National Automobile Show in New York.

In 1989, nine days before leaving the White House, President Ronald Reagan bade the nation farewell in a prime-time address, saying of his eight years in office: “We meant to change a nation and instead we changed a world.”