This Day in History – 13 Kislev/November 25

Yahrtzeiten

5694/1933, Harav Yisrael of Chortkov, zt”l

5702/1941, Harav Yechiel Mechel of Horodenka and his son Harav Baruch, Hy”d


 

In 5522/1761, the Jews of Mogilev perished in a mass murder, Hy”d.


 

5681/1920, Harav Yisrael Taub, the Divrei Yisrael of Modzhitz, zt”l

The Divrei Yisrael was born in 5709/1849 in the town of Ratcoinz, Poland. His father was Harav Shmuel Eliyahu, the Rebbe of Zvallin, son of the esteemed Rav Yechezkel of Kuzmir.

Reb Yisrael displayed excellence in Torah study as well as sensitivity to others. However, his musical talent became one of the focal points of his dynasty. Indeed, Modzhitz is famous for its niggunim that promote dveikus to Hashem.

With his soul-stirring tefillos and stunning musical compositions, Reb Yisrael captivated the hearts and minds of his Chassidim. Modzhitzer Chassidus soon became well-known.

The Rebbe would say, “The power of a niggun is great in that it awakens Jews to teshuvah and brings their hearts closer to their Father in Heaven.”

His most famous niggun is “Ezkera,” composed in 5673/1913. The well-known story of the niggun is as follows: In 5670/1910, the Rebbe was forced to seek medical treatment. For many months he was in Karlsbad, where he composed the first version of “Ezkera.” Eventually he had to consult with doctors in Berlin.

His doctor, Professor Israels, said his life could be saved only by amputating a leg. The Rebbe agreed on one condition — that no form of anesthesia be used.

During the surgery, a great sense of longing for Yerushalayim struck the Rebbe, inspiring him to compose the tune to the words of the liturgical poem, “Ezkera Elokim,” recited during Ne’ilah on Yom Kippur. This majestic and lengthy niggun comprised of 36 contrasting sections, which takes approximately a half hour to sing, is sung with great dveikus by Modzhitzer Chassidim every year on the yahrtzeit.

The Rebbe’s divrei Torah are published in Divrei Yisrael on sefer Bereishis, Shemos and Vayikra. Additionally, his divrei Torah are found in Klalei Oraysa and Haggadah shel Pesach Ishei Yisrael.

Zechuso yagen aleinu.


 

Nov. 25

In 1783, the British evacuated New York, their last military position in the United States during the Revolutionary War.

In 1986, the Iran-Contra affair erupted as President Ronald Reagan and Attorney General Edwin Meese revealed that profits from secret arms sales to Iran had been diverted to Nicaraguan rebels.

In 2002, President George W. Bush signed legislation creating the Department of Homeland Security, and appointed Tom Ridge to be its head.