In 5285/1525, the pope ordered the Jews of Carpentras, France, to wear distinctive yellow hats.
5522/1762, Harav Dovid Mirels, zt”l, mechaber of Korban Ha’edah on Yerushalmi
5625/1865, Harav Moshe Yeruchem of Kotzk, zt”l
5665/1905, Harav Baruch Asher of Chernobyl, zt”l
5668/1908, Harav Eliyahu Bechor Chazan, zt”l, mechaber of Taalumos Lev
5733/1973, Harav Isamar Rosenbaum of Nadvorna, zt”l
5764/2004, Harav Yisrael Mordechai Twersky Of Rachmastrivka–Yerushalayim, zt”l
Harav Yisrael Mordechai ben Rav Yochanan of Rachmastrivka, zt”l, was born on Motzoei Shavuos 5689/1929.
In his early years, Reb Yisrael Mordechai — known as “Reb Mottel” — merited his great-grandfather’s tutelage. Reb Nachum prized his great-grandson and watched over him carefully. “He will yet be a great Rebbe,” he predicted.
The Rebbe’s early education was acquired at the Chayei Olam and Sfas Emes yeshivos in Yerushalayim. From his early youth he was divorced from all worldly matters, taking an interest in nothing but Torah. He followed this path throughout his life, even when he was leading Chassidim.
His tefillah was extraordinary, lasting hours and reflecting intense deveikus. Hundreds would come to his beis medrash just to witness him daven.
On the day of Reb Mottel’s wedding in 5711/1951, the Skverer Rebbe of America, zt”l, offered a “l’chaim” on the marriage of a “bachur who learns Torah lishmah.” On another occasion he told his Chassidim that being within Reb Mottel’s daled amos was conducive to yiras Shamayim.
The Beis Yisrael of Ger also took notice of young Reb Mottel. He once said, “This yungerman hides from the eye.” Later, he called Reb Mottel “a fertiger Rebbe,” a perfect Rebbe. A gvir who asked the Beis Yisrael for guidance in distributing tzedakah was told, “There is a yungerman around here, the oldest son of the Rachmastrivka Rebbe, who I can certify learns Torah lishmah. Give him the money.”
On 20 Kislev 5742/1981, his father, Reb Yochanan, passed away and Reb Mottel was asked to succeed him. Reb Mottel adamantly refused, but during the levayah, the Machnovka Rebbe announced that Reb Mottel was to be the new Rebbe. To Reb Mottel’s vehement shaking of the head, the Machnovka Rebbe declared, “Whether he likes it or not!”
The Rebbe’s modesty and humility were outstanding. He often belittled himself and was heard to say that he did not understand why Chassidim brought their kvitlach to one who did not know how to read them.
He was known for his saintliness and piety through which he achieved salvation for hundreds of people — but not for himself. He suffered greatly during his last 13 years, but did not let this detract from his avodah in the slightest measure. Doctors suggested various treatments to improve his walking, but he refused, saying that as long as he was able to walk from his desk to his bookshelves to get a Gemara, he did not need more. In fact, his shamashim could not tell whether he was suffering or not, for he never complained or sighed.
In his last months the Rebbe became very weak, but he continued his avodah with mesirus nefesh while all Jewry pleaded with Heaven for his recovery. Tragically, it was decreed otherwise. On Erev Shabbos Parashas Shelach, 22 Sivan 5764/2004, Reb Mottel was niftar.
L’havdil bein chaim l’chaim, Reb Mottel was succeeded by his son the Rachmastrivka Rebbe of Yerushalayim, shlita. Reb Mottel’s brother Harav Chai Yitzchak Twersky, shlita, is the Rachmastrivka Rebbe of America.
Zechuso yagein aleinu
In 1940, during World War II, Norway decided to surrender to the Nazis, effective at midnight.
In 1943, the federal government began withholding income tax from paychecks.
In 1954, during the Senate-Army Hearings, Army special counsel Joseph N. Welch famously berated Sen. Joseph R. McCarthy (R-Wis.), asking McCarthy: “Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?”
In 1969, the Senate confirmed Warren Burger to be the new chief justice of the United States, succeeding Earl Warren.
In 1985, American educator Thomas Sutherland was kidnapped in Lebanon by members of Islamic Jihad; he was released in November 1991, along with fellow hostage Terry Waite.