This Day in History – 21 Sivan/June 8

In 5213/1453, the Muslim conqueror of Constantinople granted equal rights to Jews and other non-Muslims. This created a haven for many Jews who would be forced out of Spain during the expulsion from Spain (gerush Sfarad) that took place 39 years later.


 

Yahrtzeiten

5653/1893, Harav Shlomo of Munkacs, zt”l, the Shem Shlomo

5681/1921, Harav Yehoshua Heschel Fried, zt”l, Rav of Kapish, Hungary

5704/1944, Harav Shimon Sofer, Rav of Erlau, and his son Harav Moshe Sofer, Dayan of Erlau, Hy”d


 

5696/1936, Harav Dovid Menachem Munish Babad of Tarnopol, zt”l, the Chavatzeles Hasharon

Harav Dovid Menachem Munish was a 10th-generation descendant of the Rebbe Reb Heschel of Cracow. His name, Babad, is an acronym of “ben av beis din.” The Babads served as Dayanim and Rabbanim in Tarnopol for 150 years.

Harav Dovid Menachem Munish was born in 5625/1865, shortly after his father, Harav Yehoshua Heschel of Podvolotchisk (near Tarnopol), was appointed to his first Rabbinical post in Strisov, a large Torah center. Reb Dovid Menachem Munish grew up under his father’s tutelage. When he went to Harav Dov Berish Rappaport of Rava for semichah, the Rav kept him for a week, during which time they discussed and resolved many wide-ranging questions in Shas.

Reb Dovid Menachem Munish married Rebbetzin Leah, daughter of Harav Yoel Moshe Segal Landau, Rav of Yavrov (near Lvov), who supported them so that he might not be distracted from his studies.

For a while, Reb Dovid Menachem Munish wrote chiddushim, but after they were lost in a fire, he gave up all writing except responses to she’eilos in halachah and in learning. These he collected, either by having the recipients return them or by having his talmidim copy them before he sent them off. Eventually, they were published in his sefer Chavatzeles Hasharon.

In 5654/1894, he was asked to succeed his late father-in-law in Yavrov, and he served there for 17 years.

At the end of 5669/1909, two years after the petirah of Harav Shimon Babad, son of the Minchas Chinuch, Tarnopol welcomed Harav Dovid Menachem Munish as their new Rav with great joy.

In time, the Tarnopoler Rav became head of the Agudas Harabbanim in Galicia, the chairman of the Rabbinical conventions held in Cracow and Lvov in 5685/1925 and in 5688/1928, and a member of the Rabbinical delegation to the Polish government in Warsaw, headed by the Chofetz Chaim, in 5691/1931.

Despite all this, Reb Dovid Menachem Munish saw his yeshivah as his crowning achievement, and he gave it most of his time and energy.

In 5694/1934, he contracted a disease in his leg that caused his bones to deteriorate. Doctors recommended that he travel to the clinic in Lausanne, Switzerland, where he was confined to bed and treated for two years.

When he returned to Tarnopol he committed to continue his holy mission, but on Erev Shabbos Behaalos’cha Reb Dovid Menachem Munish’s condition worsened steadily, and three days later, on Monday, 21 Sivan 5697/1937, he was niftar. Two days later, he was buried in Tarnopol next to his ancestors. A few years later, the entire community of Tarnopol was destroyed by the Nazis. When a lone survivor, Mr. Ochs, came to record its history, he discovered that of all the gravestones in the cemetery, the only one that had remained standing was that of the Chavatzeles Hasharon.

Zechuso yagen aleinu.


 

June 8

In 1864, Abraham Lincoln was nominated for another term as president during the National Union (Republican) Party’s convention in Baltimore.

In 1915, U.S. Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan resigned over what he viewed as President Woodrow Wilson’s overly bellicose attitude toward Germany following the sinking of the RMS Lusitania.

In 1953, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously that restaurants in the District of Columbia could not refuse to serve blacks.

In 1967, 34 U.S. servicemen were killed when Israel attacked the USS Liberty, a Navy intelligence-gathering ship in the Mediterranean. (Israel later said the Liberty had been mistaken for an Egyptian vessel.)

In 1982, President Ronald Reagan became the first American chief executive to address a joint session of the British Parliament.

In 1995, U.S. Marines rescued Capt. Scott O’Grady, whose F-16C fighter jet had been shot down by Bosnian Serbs on June 2.