This Day in History – 19 Av/July 26

19 Av

In 4969/1209, 200 Jews were killed in the massacre of Beziers, a city in southern France that was an ancient Gallic fortress. Hy”d.

In 5674/1914, Russian authorities in Mitchenick, Poland, expelled the Jews in the first of a long series of expulsions that uprooted many Polish and Lithuanian Jewish communities.

Yahrtzeiten

5492/1732, Harav Yaakov Kuli, zt”l, mechaber of Yalkut Me’am Loez

5611/1851, Harav Aryeh Leib Balchover of Zaslev, zt”l, mechaber of Shem Aryeh

5683/1923, Harav Aharon Menachem Mendel of Alesk, zt”l

5714/1954, Harav Shimon Shalom Kalish, the Amshinover Rebbe, zt”l


 

5696/1936

Harav Menachem Nachum of Boyan-Tchernowitz, zt”l

Harav Menachem Nachum of Boyan-Tchernowitz was born in Sadigura on 21 Kislev, 5629/1869. He was the eldest son of the Pachad Yitzchak, the first Boyaner Rebbe, who was the son of Reb Avraham Yaakov of Sadigura and the grandson of the Ruzhiner Rebbe, zy”a.

Greatness was predicted for Reb Menachem Nachum from a very young age. When he was brought into shul for his pidyon haben, his blanket was kicked aside. Noticing this, his grandfather, Reb Avraham Yaakov of Sadigura, commented, “It seems that he will not be able to conceal his greatness from others.” (Hiding one’s greatness was a trait possessed by most Rebbes of the Ruzhiner dynasty.)

This prediction was ultimately realized, as Reb Menachem Nachum grew famous for his fiery avodas Hashem that burst forth like a holy flame, despite his attempts to constrain it in the way of his forefathers. This was in contrast to the ways of his father, the Pachad Yitzchak, who conducted himself in a restrained, awe-inspiring manner, keeping the emotionality of his avodah hidden under the wrap of humility and reticence.

In 5644/1884 he married his first cousin, the daughter of his uncle Reb Mordechai Shraga of Husyatin. After three years in Husyatin, he returned to live with his family in Boyan.

During WWI, Boyan was totally destroyed. Reb Menachem Nachum escaped with his father to Vienna, along with many other Rebbes of Ruzhiner descent. His father, the Pachad Yitzchak, was niftar there on 17 Adar, 5677/1917.

After WWI, Boyaner chassidim built a magnificent edifice in Tchernowitz, Bukovina, for Reb Menachem Nachum, who succeeded his father. From Tchernowitz, Reb Menachem Nachum led the Boyaner Chassidus with royal grace, as his father had done in Boyan.

In 5687/1927 he made a 30-day trip to Eretz Yisrael, where he made an extraordinary impression.

Unlike his father, Reb Menachem Nachum became so caught up in his devotions, so disengaged from the physical world, that no matter how hard he tried to rein in his fervor and zeal, it unfailingly broke through for all to see. During his tefillos and tisch, his face was aflame and his being bespoke love and fear of Hashem.

His appearance at a tisch was a bit frightening, as his countenance was transformed by inner, spiritual fire and thus unrecognizable. He sang the niggunim of his forefathers with dveikus and unconcealed emotion.

The divrei Torah he delivered at his tisch on Shabbos and Yamim Tovim drew the hearts of Yidden to greater awe and love of their Father in Heaven.

Reb Menachem Nachum was niftar in Vienna on Erev Shabbos, 19 Av, 5696/1936. His two sons, Reb Aharon and Reb Mordechai Shraga, Hy”d, jointly presided as Rebbes after their father’s petirah until they and their families were murdered by the Nazis. Their sister was married to Reb Moshenyu of Boyan-Cracow, Hy”d.

Reb Menachem Nachum’s published works include the booklets Zeh Yenachamenu and Devarim Nichumim, and two volumes on Torah and the Yamim Tovim called Tiferes Menachem.

Reb Menachem Nachum’s youngest brother, the Boyaner Rebbe of New York, zt”l, who was his junior by 22 years, wrote in his haskamah to that sefer, “In earlier days, the main thing among chassidim was the Torah sheb’al peh that they heard from their Rebbe… and there was no need to print it, because it was engraved on their hearts. But times have changed so drastically; the handwritten manuscripts possessed by few are quickly being lost. Therefore, although earlier chassidim rejected this idea, we must encourage and support the publication of these divrei Torah, especially since there is no remnant left of his [Reb Menachem Nachum’s] offspring.”

Zechuso yagen aleinu.


 

July 26

In 1775, Benjamin Franklin became America’s first postmaster-general.

In 1788, New York became the 11th state to ratify the U.S. Constitution.

In 1908, Attorney General Charles J. Bonaparte ordered the creation of a force of special agents that was a forerunner of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

In 1947, President Harry S. Truman signed the National Security Act, establishing the National Military Establishment, which later was renamed the Department of Defense.

In 1952, King Farouk I of Egypt abdicated in the wake of a coup led by Gamal Abdel Nasser.

In 1953, Fidel Castro began his revolt against Fulgencio Batista with an unsuccessful attack on an army barracks in eastern Cuba. Castro ousted Batista in 1959.

In 1956, the Italian liner Andrea Doria sank off New England, some 11 hours after colliding with the Swedish liner Stockholm; at least 51 people died.

In 1971, Apollo 15 was launched from Cape Kennedy on America’s fourth manned mission to the moon.

In 1986, kidnappers in Lebanon released Rev. Lawrence Martin Jenco, an American hostage held for nearly 19 months.

In 1990, President George H.W. Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act.