This Day in History – 12 Kislev/November 15

President Roosevelt laying the cornerstone of the new Jefferson memorial on the banks of the Potomac river.
President Roosevelt laying the cornerstone of the new Jefferson memorial on the banks of the Potomac river.

Yahrtzeiten

5334/1573, Harav Shlomo Luria, zt”l, the Maharshal of Lublin

5517/1756, Harav Yitzchak Shmuel Lampronti, zt”l, mechaber of Pachad Yitzchak

5657/1896, Harav Naftali Schwartz of Mahd, zt”l, mechaber of sefer Beis Naftali

5665/1904, Harav Chaim Leibush Horowitz of Cracow, zt”l

5754/1993, Harav Yehoshua Moshe Aaronson, zt”l, Rav in Petach Tikvah and mechaber of Yeshuas Moshe and Alei Meroros


 

5601/1840

Harav Avraham Dov Auerbach of Avritch, the Bas Ayin, zt”l

Harav Avraham Dov Auerbach was born in 5525/1765 in the Ukrainian town of Chmielnik. His father was Harav Dovid, a maggid there. He became a talmid of Harav Nachum of Chernobyl, whom he considered the main influence in his life.

He was the son-in-law of Harav Nassan Nota, the Rav of Avritch. After his father-in-law’s petirah, he became the Rav of Avritch and served in that capacity for 40 years. Afterwards, he became Rav in the much larger Ukrainian town of Zhitomir, where he attracted many chassidim.

Finally, in either the year 5590/1830 or 5591/1831, at the advanced age of 70, Harav Avraham Dov decided that the best way to further his spiritual advancement was to leave all his chassidim and begin life anew in Eretz Yisrael. After his arrival he became the leader of the chassidim in Tzfas. His beis medrash was right next to that of Harav Yisrael of Shklov, the Pe’as Hashulchan, talmid of the Vilna Gaon. Despite their ideological differences, a close friendship developed between the two. In addition, Harav Avraham Dov was revered by the local Arabs as a holy man.

On 24 Teves 5597/1837, an earthquake struck between Minchah and Maariv while Harav Avraham Dov was in his beis medrash. He shouted to everyone present to stand close to the aron kodesh, promising that if they did so they would be saved. A moment later the ceiling fell in — except for the place where Harav Avraham Dov had warned everyone to take shelter. In gratitude, a seudas hodaah took place at that spot every year.

A year later, on the earthquake’s first anniversary, Harav Avraham Dov announced that no earthquake would ever shake Tzfas again.

In 5601/1840, a terrible plague broke out in Tzfas. When Harav Avraham Dov fell ill, he announced that his petirah would be atonement for the town; he would be the plague’s last victim.

Harav Avraham Dov was niftar on 12 Kislev 5601/1840, and as he had predicted, the plague stopped immediately. He was buried in a me’arah of great Chassidic leaders that lies not far from the kevarim of the Beis Yosef and the Alshich. Many people daven there today.

Although Harav Avraham Dov wrote his famous sefer, Bas Ayin, while he was still in Europe, he refused to print it until it was exposed to and refined by the air of the Holy Land. This sefer is built on the tenets of Chassidus as taught by the Chernobyl dynasty, and is considered a basic Chassidic work.

Zechuso yagen aleinu.


 

November 15

In 1777, the Second Continental Congress approved the Articles of Confederation.

In 1806, explorer Zebulon Pike sighted the mountaintop now known as Pikes Peak in present-day Colorado.

In 1889, Brazil was proclaimed a republic as its emperor, Dom Pedro II, was overthrown.

In 1935, the Commonwealth of the Philippines was established as its new president, Manuel L. Quezon, took office.

In 1937, the House and Senate chambers of the U.S. Capitol were air-conditioned for the first time.

In 1939, President Franklin D. Roosevelt laid the cornerstone of the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D.C.

In 1942, the naval Battle of Guadalcanal ended during World War II with a decisive U.S. victory over Japanese forces.

In 1966, the flight of Gemini 12 ended successfully as astronauts James A. Lovell and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin Jr. splashed down safely in the Atlantic.

In 1969, a quarter of a million protesters staged a peaceful demonstration in Washington against the Vietnam War.

In 1979, the British government publicly identified Sir Anthony Blunt as the “fourth man” of a Soviet spy ring.

In 1985, Britain and Ireland signed an accord giving Dublin an official consultative role in governing Northern Ireland.

In 2001, President George W. Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin failed to resolve their dispute over U.S. missile- shield plans but pledged to fight terrorism and deepen U.S.-Russian ties as their summit, which began at the White House before shifting to Bush’s Texas ranch, came to a close.