This Day in History – 20 Teves – January 2

Shaar blatt of Divrei Simchah.
Shaar blatt of Divrei Simchah.

20 Teves

In 5243/1482, the first volume of the Talmud Bavli, maseches Brachos, was printed in Soncino, Italy.

In 5450/1689, the Jewish community of Ancona, Italy, miraculously survived an earthquake, unharmed. They declared a fast day in commemoration, and the following day, 21 Teves, was celebrated as a Purim.

In 5700/1940, the Nazis prohibited Jews from congregating in shuls and private homes for davening.

Yahrtzeiten

4965/1204, Rabbeinu Moshe ben Maimon, zt”l, the Rambam

5640/1880, Harav Yaakov Abuchatzeira, zt”l, the Abir Yaakov

5693/1933, Harav Yisrael Reich of Budapest, zt”l

5741/1980, Harav Rafael Eliyahu Eliezer Mishkovski, zt”l, Rosh Yeshivah, Kfar Chassidim


 

5674/1914

Harav Simchah Yissachar Ber Halberstam of Chetchenov, zt”l

Harav Simchah Yissachar Ber Halberstam was the son of Harav Yechezkel Shraga of Shinev. He was born in 5629/1869, in Stropkov.

One time, his mother took him to his grandfather, the Divrei Chaim of Sanz, who promised her that her son will enlighten the world. Reb Simchah Yissachar Ber would later say that he was pleased that he knew his grandfather, based on the Gemara (Bava Metzia 85a) that says that he who is a talmid chacham has a son who is a talmid chacham and a grandson who is a talmid chacham — the Torah will never leave his descendants. He explained that this is only if they see each other.

In 5646/1886, he married the daughter of Harav Yehoshua of Belz, zy”a. Reb Simchah Yissachar Ber became very close to his father-in-law, as well.

In 5653/1893, Reb Simchah Yissachar Ber was appointed Rav in Chetchenov. After the petirah of his father, on 6 Teves 5659/1898, he was appointed Rebbe there. Despite being one of the younger sons of his father, his court attracted many thousands, among them many prominent Rabbanim.

Reb Simchah Yissachar Ber was known as a gadol baTorah, and for his vast kana’us. He fought against the Zionist movement.

His divrei Torah and letters were collected in the sefer Divrei Simchah.

Reb Simchah Yissachar Ber was niftar on 20 Teves 5674/1914, at the age of 44. He was buried in Chetchenov.

He was survived by his son, Harav Yechezkel Shraga of Chetchenov, and two sons-in-law: Harav Meshulam Zusha Twersky and Harav Aryeh Leib Rubin of Chetchenov-Tomashov.

Zechuso yagen aleinu.


 

In 1999, Chicago was hit with the biggest snowfall in more than 30 years. Close to 20 inches of snow fell, paralyzing traffic and canceling most flights at O'Hare and Midway Airports. (JOHN ZICH/AFP/Getty Images)
In 1999, Chicago was hit with the biggest snowfall in more than 30 years. Close to 20 inches of snow fell, paralyzing traffic and canceling most flights at O’Hare and Midway Airports. (JOHN ZICH/AFP/Getty Images)

Jan. 2

In 1788, Georgia became the fourth state to ratify the U.S. Constitution.

In 1900, Secretary of State John Hay announced the “Open Door Policy” to facilitate trade with China.

In 1959, the Soviet Union launched its space probe Luna 1, the first manmade object to fly past the moon, its apparent intended target.

In 1960, Sen. John F. Kennedy of Massachusetts launched his successful bid for the presidency.

In 1974, President Richard M. Nixon signed legislation requiring states to limit highway speeds to 55 miles an hour. Federal speed limits were abolished in 1995.

In 1999, a brutal snowstorm smashed into the Midwestern United States, causing 14 inches of snow in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and 19 inches in Chicago, Illinois, where temperatures plunged to -13°F; 68 deaths were reported.

In 2006, 12 miners died in a methane gas explosion at the Sago Mine in West Virginia, W. Va., but one miner, Randal McCloy, Jr., was eventually rescued.