This Day in History – 22 Shevat/February 1

In 5701/1941, the Nazis raided the Jewish community of Amsterdam and detained 429 young Jews for deportation.


 

Yahrtzeiten

5648/1888, Harav Yehudah Aryeh Leib Eiger, zt”l

5660/1900, Harav Yehudah Leibish Landau, zt”l

5661/1901, Harav Yitzchak Chiyus of Brod, zt”l

5753/1993, Harav Yehuda Zev Segal, zt”l


 

5619/1859, Harav Menachem Mendel Morgenstern, zt”l, the Kotzker Rebbe

Harav Menachem Mendel Morgenstern was born in the town of Goray, near Lublin, in 5547/1787. His father was Harav Aryeh Leibush, a descendant of Harav Yisrael Charif Halperin, Rav of Ostraha. He studied Torah under Harav Yosef Hoichgelerenter, the Mishnas Chachamim of Zamoshtch.

The Kotzker Rebbe became an ardent follower of the Chozeh of Lublin, and became attached to his talmidim, the Yid Hakadosh of Peshischa and the Rebbe Reb Bunim of Peshischa. After the petirah of the Yehudi Hakadosh and the Chozeh, Reb Bunim of Peshischa began leading a flock, to which the Kotzker Rebbe devoted himself totally.

After his marriage to Rebbetzin Glikel, the daughter of Reb Yitzchak Eizik Reiz of Tomashov, he lived for several years in Tomashov, during which time he became known for his vast Torah knowledge and his exceptional yiras Shamayim.

Upon the petirah of his primary Rebbe, Reb Bunim of Peshischa, Reb Menachem Mendel began leading his own court in Tomashov. Reb Menachem Mendel soon moved his court to Kotzk, where he remained for the rest of his life.

The Kotzker Rebbe had one of the sharpest minds of his generation. Even his greatest opponents were amazed at the breadth and depth of his Torah knowledge.

Kotzk was like a magnet drawing multitudes of young men who worked on perfecting themselves, eventually becoming gedolei hador. The Rebbe’s speech was measured, but the Chassidim learned volumes from his every hint and gesture.

The Rebbe demanded perfection of his talmidim, and he succeeded in influencing them greatly. The Kotzker Rebbe did not seek to increase the number of his Chassidim; rather, he sought to lead an elite group that devoted itself selflessly to avodas Hashem.

The Kotzker era is considered the golden age of Polish Chassidus. The Kotzker Rebbe’s talmidim included the Chiddushei Harim, Reb Chanoch of Alexander, Reb Wolf Landau of Strikov, Reb Mordechai Yosef of Izhbitz, Reb Meir Yechiel of Gustinin, Reb Mendele of Vorka, Reb Moshe of Rozvadov, Reb Hirsch of Tomashov, Reb Elazar of Sochatchov and his son-in-law, Reb Avraham of Sochatchov, the Avnei Nezer.

After the Kotzker Rebbe’s petirah on 22 Shevat, many Chassidim became followers of the Chiddushei Harim.

Zechuso yagen aleinu.


 

Feb. 1

In 1946, Norwegian statesman Trygve Lie was chosen to be the first secretary-general of the United Nations.

In 1960, four black college students began a sit-in protest at a Woolworth’s lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina, where they had been refused service.

In 1979, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini received a tumultuous welcome in Tehran as he ended nearly 15 years of exile.

In 2003, the space shuttle Columbia broke up during re-entry, killing all seven of its crew members.