This Day in History – 20 Elul/September 4

In 5154/1394, Charles VI of France ordered the expulsion of all Jews in the kingdom.

In 5702/1942, the ghetto of Mir was liquidated.



5350/1590, Harav Yehudah Muscato, zt”l, mechaber of Kol Yehudah on the Kuzari

5474/1714, Harav Shimon Reisher, zt”l, mechaber of Minchas Yehudah

5702/1942, Harav Avraham Weinberg of Stutchin, zt”l, mechaber of Reishis Bikurim

5730/1970, Harav Eliyahu Lopian, zt”l, mechaber of Lev Eliyahu

5756/1996, Harav Moshe Aryeh Freund, zt”l, Gaavad of the Eidah Hachareidis, Yerushalayim


5729/1969, Harav Yosef Shlomo Kahaneman, zt”l, the Ponevezher Rav

Harav Yosef Shlomo Kahaneman was born on 28 Iyar 5646/1886 in Kol, Lithuania. His father, Rav Yehudah Leib, was a famed talmid chacham and baal chessed.

From age 14 to 21 he learned in Yeshivas Telshe under Harav Shimon Shkop and became close to Harav Eliezer Gordon, the yeshivah’s founder.

In 5668/1908, Reb Yosef Shlomo went to learn mussar from Reb Yosef Yoizel, the Alter of Novardok. While there, Harav Yechiel Michel Epstein, the Aruch Hashulchan, taught him the necessary skills for Rabbanus. Later, he learned in Radin under the Chofetz Chaim.

Reb Yosef Shlomo married the daughter of Harav Leib Rubin, the Rav of Widz. For a while he learned alone at the home of his father-in-law. In 5672/1911, Reb Leib was offered the Rabbanus of Wilkomir; his position in Widz passed to his son-in-law, who also opened a yeshivah there.

After Rav Kahaneman’s impressive hesped at the levayah of Reb Itzele Rabinowitz of Ponevezh (21 Adar I 5679/1919), the community offered him the position of Rav. He became Rav of Ponevezh (at age 33) and opened a yeshivah there which attracted many of Lithuania’s best talmidim.

Rav Kahaneman guided his flock with wisdom and fatherly love. He was appointed as the Jewish representative to the Lithuanian parliament.

After 20 years, when the Nazis conquered Lithuania, Rav Kahaneman fled to Eretz Yisrael, then under the British Mandate, and became a leader of chareidi Jewry.

Although broken and distraught over the fate of Europe’s Jews, he decided that he had been spared to be mekadesh Shem Shamayim. In 5701/1941, Rav Kahaneman set the cornerstone for the new Ponevezher Yeshivah on a hill overlooking Bnei Brak.

Despite general skepticism, Rav Kahaneman, with his powers of persuasion, collected enough money to build what became the largest yeshivah yet in Eretz Yisrael and one of the largest in the world. He traveled widely in chutz laAretz to secure financial support.

The Ponevezher Rav’s ambitions were not limited to his yeshivah. He founded and supported dozens of other institutions, especially for the “yaldei Tehran,” orphans rescued from the Holocaust and brought to Israel. He also revived the yarchei kallah concept, providing two weeks a year of intense learning at the yeshivah for working men.

The Ponevezher Rav merited seeing all his projects reach fruition.

Reb Yosef Shlomo was niftar on 20 Elul 5729/1969, at the age of 83. He was buried in the Ponevezher beis hachaim on the outskirts of Bnei Brak.

Yehi zichro baruch.


September 4

In 1781, Los Angeles was founded by Spanish settlers under the leadership of Governor Felipe de Neve.

In 1886, a group of Apache Indians led by Geronimo (also known as Goyathlay, “One Who Yawns”) surrendered to Gen. Nelson Miles at Skeleton Canyon in Arizona.

In 1888, George Eastman received a patent for his roll-film box camera, and registered his trademark: “Kodak.”

In 1948, Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands abdicated after nearly six decades of rule for health reasons.

In 1974, the United States established diplomatic relations with East Germany.