This Day in History – 23 Elul/August 29

23 Elul

In 1656/2105 B.C.E., Noach opened the window of the teivah and dispatched the dove for the second time (according to Rabi Eliezer).

In 5313/1553, a monk who converted to Judaism was burned at the stake in Rome. Hy”d.

In 5703/1943, the Vilna ghetto was liquidated.

In 5761/2001, 2,606 people were killed when terrorists flew two planes into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, and another 125 at the Pentagon.


5578/1818, Harav Yisrael of Pikov, zt”l, son of Harav Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev

5634/1874, Harav Yosef Babad, zt”l, Rav of Tarnopol and mechaber of Minchas Chinuch

5702/1942, Harav Yitzchak Menachem Danziger of Alexander, the Akeidas Yitzchak, Hy”d

5703/1943, Harav Moshe Betzalel Alter, Hy”d

5741/1981, Harav Yaakov Yitzchak Biderman of Lelov-Yerushalayim, zt”l



Harav Uri, the Saraf of Strelisk, zt”l

Harav Uri was born in 5517/1757 in a small village near Yanov. His father, Reb Pinchas, was given a brachah by the Mezritcher Maggid, zy”a, to merit a son who “will light up the Jewish world.”

After his marriage, Reb Uri settled in Lvov (Lemberg), where he devoted himself to learning Torah with hasmadah.

Reb Uri traveled to the courts of numerous leading Rebbes, zy”a — the Rebbe Reb Elimelech of Lizhensk; Harav Pinchas of Koritz; Harav Yaakov Yosef of Ostroha; Harav Zusha of Anipoli, and others — until he met Harav Shlomo of Karlin and became one of his foremost talmidim.

In 5552/1792, after the tragic murder of his Rebbe, Reb Shlomo, Hy”d, Reb Uri returned to Lvov and opened his own court. He later moved from Lvov to Strelisk, by the name of which town he became known.

Reb Uri was famous for his style of tefillah, full of fervor. The thousands of Chassidim who flocked to his court felt his hislahavus, which awakened them to teshuvah.

Every day before going to daven, Reb Uri would bid farewell to his household, in case his neshamah would leave his body while he davened in his usual fiery manner. He would also tell them that the manuscripts in the drawer were not his own, but belong to his Rebbe, Reb Shlomo of Karlin.

Reb Uri taught his C hassidim to work on their middos and uproot from within them any lust for money. It is said that there was not even one wealthy Jew among the Strelisker Chassidim, and Reb Uri himself lived in extreme poverty.

Reb Uri’s foremost talmid was Harav Yehudah Tzvi of Stretin. The bond between them was extraordinary. Reb Yehudah Tzvi became a Rebbe in Stretin after Reb Uri’s petirah.

One of the talmidim of Reb Uri was the Sar Shalom of Belz. One time, as he sat at Reb Uri’s tisch, he cried out, “Oy, Tatte!”

The Strelisker gave a roar, as was his custom, and shouted, “And maybe He is not your Father?”

Reb Shalom understood that Reb Uri still had lessons to teach him to assist him in his growth in ruchniyus. And so he remained in Strelisk for an entire year.

Reb Uri said: “There are four separate courts in Heaven, a Sanhedrin of 71; a smaller Sanhedrin of 23, a Heavenly beis din and an earthly one. Harav Yechiel Michel of Zlotchov served in one of these batei din, but since he was so punctilious and strict, he was promoted to the greater Sanhedrin. He left a vacant place in the beis din, which awaits a tzaddik to occupy it.”

Those who heard his words did not dream that he was foretelling his own imminent petirah. But a mere two days later, on 23 Elul, 5586/1826, Reb Uri returned his neshamah to its Creator.

Some of the divrei Torah of Reb Uri were compiled by his talmid Rav Binyamin Zev Sheinblum of Lvov, and published under the name Imrei Kadosh.

Zechuso yagen aleinu.


August 29

In 1533, the last Incan King of Peru, Atahualpa, was executed on orders of Spanish conqueror Francisco Pizarro.

In 1862, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing began operations at the United States Treasury.

In 1943, responding to a
clampdown by Nazi occupiers during World War II, Denmark managed to scuttle most of its naval ships.

In 1944, 15,000 American troops marched down the Champs Elysees in Paris as the French capital continued to celebrate its liberation from the Nazis.

In 1957, the Senate gave final Congressional approval to a Civil Rights Act after South Carolina Sen. Strom Thurmond, then a Democrat, ended a filibuster that had lasted 24 hours.

In 2005, Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast near Buras, La., bringing floods that devastated New Orleans. More than 1,800 people in the region died.