This Day in History – 10 Shevat/January 20


5538/1778, Harav Nosson Ashkenazi, zt”l, son of the Chacham Tzvi

5705/1945, Harav Yissachar Shlomo Teichtal, Hy”d, Rav of Pishtian

5719/1959, Harav Rachamim Chai Chavita, zt”l, Rav of Djerba, Tunisia


5537/ 1777, Harav Shalom (Mizrachi Dida) Sharabi, zy”a

Rav Shalom was born in 5480/1720 in Sharab. His father, Harav Yitzchak Mizrahi, was a sage, and supported his family by peddling. When he passed away prematurely, Shalom became his family’s sole support. He continued in his father’s tradition as a peddler, which left only evenings free for him to study Torah.

Reb Shalom later ascended to Yerushalayim, where he went to Yeshivas Beit El, the Yeshivas Hamekubalim headed by the renowned Rav Gedaliah Chayun, who led the yeshivah until his passing in 5511/1751. Rav Shalom presented himself as a simple Jew and worked as the shamash.

Once, Rav Gedalyah was learning with the other scholars from sefer Etz Chaim. He became perplexed by a certain paragraph, and no one could resolve the dilemma. After the shiur, Rav Shalom collected the sefarim and returned them to their places. He wrote the answer to the Rosh Yeshivah’s question on a piece of paper, and slipped it inside the appropriate page of the volume.

When Rav Gedalyah found the mysterious note, he joyfully informed the group of mekubalim that he had found an answer to the query. He demanded that they reveal to him the author’s identity, but no one knew.

Similar incidents occurred, and only when Rav Gedalyah’s daughter, Chanah, saw Rav Shalom writing the answer did they find him out.

Rav Shalom requested that the Rav not publicize this. Rav Gedalyah rose, embraced the young man and said, “It is impossible to fulfill your desire, for it is a Heavenly sign that the time has come for your greatness to be revealed. From now on you will be our teacher.” And he married Rav Gedalyah’s daughter. For the next 30 years, Rav Shalom was Rosh Hamekubalim in Yerushalayim and head of the Beit El yeshivah.

The Rashash (as he was called) was niftar on 10 Shevat and was buried on Har Hazeisim.

Zechuso yagen aleinu.


Jan. 20

In 1265, England’s first representative Parliament met for the first time; the gathering at Westminster was composed of bishops, abbots, peers, Knights of the Shire and town burgesses.

In 1942, Nazi officials held the notorious Wannsee conference, during which they arrived at their “final solution” that called for exterminating Jews.

In 1945, President Franklin D. Roosevelt was sworn into office for an unprecedented fourth term.

In 2001, George Walker Bush became America’s 43rd president after one of the most turbulent elections in U.S. history.