This Day in History – 23 Adar/March 5

23 Adar

In 2449/1312 B.C.E., Bnei Yisrael began building the Mishkan. The construction of the Mishkan was completed on 25 Kislev, but Hashem’s command to erect the edifice came only three months later, on 23 Adar, when Moshe was instructed to begin a 7-day training period.

In 5088/1328, the Jews of Estella, Spain, were massacred. Hy”d.

Yahrtzeiten

5547/1787, Harav Chaim Cheikel of Amdur, zt”l

5626/1866, Harav Yitzchak Meir Alter, zt”l, the Chiddushei Harim

5659/1899, Harav Refael Shapira of Volozhin, zt”l, mechaber of Toras Refael

5665/1905, Harav Yitzchak Yaakov of Biala, zt”l, the Divrei Binah

5733/1973, Harav Yehudah Moshe of Alexander, zt”l, the Emunas Moshe

5754/1994, Harav Aharon Zilberfarb of Koidenov, zt”l


 

5719/1959

Harav Menachem Nachum Rabinowitz, zt”l, the Machsheves Nachum

Harav Menachem Nachum Rabinowitz was born on 27 Adar 5647/1887. His father, Harav Pinchas of Kontkozbah, was a descendant of Harav Gedalyah of Linitz, the Teshuos Chen.

Reb Menachem Nachum was brought up in the lofty household of his father, who was known for his vast kedushah and for his learning. As a young bachur, Reb Menachem Nachum was already regarded as a budding talmid chacham and held halachic correspondence with many of the generation’s Gedolim.

In 5667/1907 Reb Menachem Nachum married the daughter of Harav Yosef of Koidenov. Following his wedding he lived near his esteemed father-in-law, with whom he was very close. Later, Reb Menachem Nachum was named Rosh Yeshivah of Yeshivas Tomchei Tzedek, which his father-in-law established. He led the yeshivah for the next nine years, until the outbreak of World War I, when they were forced to flee to nearby Minsk.

Following the petirah of Reb Yosef of Koidenov on 26 Kislev 5676/1915, the chassidim sought to appoint Reb Menachem Nachum as the new Rebbe, but he refused. He wanted to return to the home of his father, but since he had begun learning for semichah, he wished to complete it while in Minsk. During this period, Harav Chaim Soloveitchik of Brisk was among those who awarded Reb Menachem Nachum a letter of semichah, heaping praise on the young talmid chacham.

Reb Menachem Nachum returned to the city of his father, now in Boznisnask, and became his father’s right-hand man. It was only natural that after the petirah of his father, on 26 Iyar 5682/1922, Reb Menachem Nachum was appointed Rebbe and also handed a ksav Rabbanus.

Reb Menachem Nachum despised the rabbinate, fearing the possibility that, chas v’shalom, he might be responsible for a mistake. Only a few months later, before Rosh Hashanah, he arranged for it to be announced in all the batei medrash that he was stepping down as Rav. He continued to lead as Rebbe, however, inspiring the chassidim to Torah and yiras Shamayim.

After a few years he was forced to leave, due to communist oppression, and settled in Odessa.

Reb Menachem Nachum did not have it easy in Odessa either, and after many tribulations he received his certificate to move to Eretz Yisrael. He left by boat together with his family, during the month of Shevat 5694/1934. They arrived at the port of Haifa on Friday afternoon, Rosh Chodesh Adar, and remained there over Shabbos. During that Shabbos, the residents of Haifa noted this Gadol, and asked him to stay on in their city.

Reb Menachem Nachum was appointed Rav in Haifa, and Dayan in charge of gittin and kiddushin. Once again, Reb Menachem Nachum was hesitant to take on this responsibility. He asked Harav Baruch Markus, Rav of Haifa, to excuse him from this post. Harav Markus told him that if he was hesitant, it was a sign that he would not rule light-headedly, and that was the correct attitude for a Rav.

For the next 25 years, until his petirah, Reb Menachem Nachum served as Rav in Haifa. He also founded a beis medrash in the city.

Reb Menachem Nachum was close with many Rebbes of the Ruzhiner dynasty; Harav Yisrael of Husiyatin, the Abir Yaakov of Sadigura, and other Gedolim, including the Chazon Ish and Harav Shimshon Aharon Polonsky, the Tepliker Rav.

Reb Menachem Nachum was niftar on 23 Adar II 5719/1959, at the age of 72.

A collection of his divrei Torah, in conjunction with those of his father-in-law, Reb Yosef of Koidenov, was published under the name Machsheves Nachum.

Zecher tzaddik livrachah.


 

March 5

In 1868, the Senate was organized into a Court of Impeachment to decide charges against President Andrew Johnson, who was later acquitted.

In 1933, in German parliamentary elections, the Nazi Party won 44 percent of the vote; the Nazis joined with a conservative nationalist party to gain a slender majority in the Reichstag.

In 1934, the first Mothers-in-Law Day celebration and parade took place in Amarillo, Texas.

In 1946, Winston Churchill delivered his “Iron Curtain” speech at Westminster College in Fulton, Mo.

In 1953, Soviet dictator Josef Stalin died after three decades in power.

In 1960, Cuban newspaper photographer Alberto Korda took the now-famous picture of guerrilla leader Ernesto “Che” Guevara during a memorial service in Havana for victims of a ship explosion.

In 1979, NASA’s Voyager 1 space probe flew past Jupiter, sending back photographs of the planet and its moons.