This Day in History – 15 Kislev/November 27

In 5748/1987, more than 200,000 American Jews marched on Washington to demand that Soviet Jews be allowed to emigrate and practice their faith. The rally was timed to coincide with a meeting between President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.



5667/1906, Harav Simchah Bunim Sofer of Pressburg, zt”l, the Shevet Sofer

5680/1919, Harav Dovid Twersky of Skver, zt”l

5702/1941,  Harav Chaim Dovid Lebowitz, founding Rosh Yeshivah of  Yeshivas Chofetz Chaim


5659/1898, Harav Yisrael Efraim Fishel Sofer of Nanash, zt”l, the “Afsei Aretz”

Harav Yisrael Efraim Fishel Sofer, born in 5582/1822, was the son of Harav Tzvi.

In his youth he learned in the yeshivah of Harav Yitzchak Perels in Bonihad. From there he went on to the yeshivah of the Chasam Sofer, where he learned for several zmanim. For the rest of his life, the Chasam Sofer remained his foremost Rebbi; he would quote the words of the Chasam Sofer only after calling him “Der heiliger Rebbi.”

Following the petirah of the Chasam Sofer, he stayed on in the yeshivah, learning under the Ksav Sofer.

When Reb Yisrael Efraim Fishel married, he settled in his hometown, Potok. He continued his avodas Hashem, utilizing all his time for learning.

In 5621/1861, he was appointed Rav of Nanash. He was considered one of the foremost Rabbanim in Hungary.

He was renowned for his hasmadah. He would learn all night by the light of a small lantern, but since he couldn’t afford much oil, he would leave it on a very small flame. Because the light was so weak, it wasn’t seen from outside his house, causing some members of the kehillah to think that their Rav wasn’t learning at night. But, in fact, the opposite was true…

On 14 Kislev 5659/1898, Reb Yisrael Efraim Fishel officiated at a bris, serving as sandak. After davening Minchah and Maariv, he turned to the kehillah and bade them all farewell. He also mentioned that it is better to bury a niftar in his weekday tallis and not in his Shabbos tallis, for the weekday tallis had soaked in many more tefillos. This left the kehillah with a great deal of anxiety.

That night he still learned with a grandson, delving into a sugya, working through the Tosafos and a complex Rambam. Near midnight, Reb Yisrael Efraim Fishel told his grandson that it was time for him to go to sleep, while he would continue learning on his own. After he recited Krias Shema, his neshamah left him. He was 77 years old.

After Reb Yisrael Efraim Fishel was already wrapped in his tachrichim, someone recalled that he had specifically asked to be buried in his weekday tallis, and the chevrah kaddisha asked the Rabbanim what to do. The psak was that in accordance with the halachah to fulfill the words of a niftar, they would have to take off the Shabbos tallis and exchange it for the weekday one.

He was buried in Nanash. More than 40 Rabbanim from across Hungary came to participate in the levayah.

Reb Yisrael Efraim Fishel wrote Afsei Aretz on the Torah and she’eilos u’teshuvos by the same name.

Zecher tzaddik l’vrachah.


Nov. 27

In 1945, General George C. Marshall was named special U.S. envoy to China by President Harry S. Truman to try to end hostilities between the Nationalists and the Communists.

In 1815, the constitution for the Congress Kingdom of Poland was signed by Russian Czar Alexander I, who was also king of Poland.

In 1910, New York’s Pennsylvania Station officially opened.

In 1962, the first Boeing 727 was rolled out at the company’s Renton Plant.