This Day in History – 23 Elul/September 7

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).



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

5586/1826, Harav Uri, the Saraf of Strelisk, zt”l

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


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

On 23 Shevat 5667/1907, Harav Yaakov Yitzchak was born in the Old City of Yerushalayim to Harav Shimon Nosson Nota of Lelov and Rebbetzin Chana Reitza. His grandfather, Harav Dovid Tzvi Shlomo, the Lelover Rebbe at the time (known as “Reb Dovid’l”), named him Yaakov Yitzchak after the Chozeh of Lublin and the Yid Hakadosh of Peshischa.

When he was eight years old, Rav Yaakov Yitzchak’s mother died of typhus. Soon after, Rav Shimon Nosson Nota had to flee the country to avoid conscription into the Ottoman Empire’s army. The children were taken in by their loving grandfather, Reb Dovid’l.

In Elul of 5678/1918 Reb Dovid’l was niftar. A year later, the children joined their father in Cracow, Poland.

Rav Shimon Nosson Nota didn’t keep his family in Poland for very long. In Cheshvan 5686/1925 he returned to Yerushalayim with the then-17-year-old Rav Yaakov Yitzchak, who was wed to the daughter of Harav Alter Chaim Halevi Shub Shifman, mechaber of Yalkut Hachaim.

On Tzom Gedaliah 5690/1930 his father was niftar. The tzaddikim of his time, including Harav Shlomo of Zhvil, pressed him to continue his holy legacy by serving as a Rebbe to Chassidim; so while his brother, Rav Moshe Mordechai, settled in Tel Aviv and led the Chassidim from there, Rav Yaakov Yitzchak led his flock in Yerushalayim.

Rav Yaakov Yitzchak used to rise before dawn to prepare himself for davening. After immersing in the mikveh, he would learn Torah for a few hours, particularly Kabbalah, to prepare his heart and mind. Only then would he daven.

The Rebbe never ate before finishing all of his avodah for the day, which often meant not until midnight.

As much as the Lelover Rebbe managed to hide his tzidkus, he couldn’t hide his unlimited ahavas Yisrael.

Throughout World War II, his home was open to all, and he fed all comers from his own meager stores.

Although the comings and goings of needy Yidden in his home disturbed his learning and avodah, he accepted it in order to benefit his fellow Jews. Once he even broke his custom of not using the eruv on Shabbos to carry food to a hungry Yid.

The Rebbe’s self-denial and physical deprivation took their toll, and for the last 10 years of his life he was confined to bed. At midnight of 23 Elul, Harav Yaakov Yitzchak of Lelov-Yerushalayim departed this world. He was buried the following day on Har Hazeisim. Miraculously, a plot was found next to his grandfather’s, where no space had been seen before.

Zechuso yagein aleinu


Sept. 7

In 1812, the Battle of Borodino took place as French troops clashed with Russian forces outside Moscow. (The battle was won by Russia.)

In 1882, on Tuesday, September 5, the first U.S. Labor Day was celebrated in New York City. About 10,000 workers took unpaid leave and paraded from City Hall past Union Square uptown to 42nd St., and ended in Wendel’s Elm Park at 92nd St. and 9th Ave.

In 1940, Nazi Germany began its eight-month blitz of Britain during World War II with the first air attack on London.

In 1977, the Panama Canal treaties, calling for the U.S. to eventually turn over control of the waterway to Panama, were signed in Washington by President Jimmy Carter and Panamanian leader Omar Torrijos.

In 1987, Erich Honecker became the first East German head of state to visit West Germany as he arrived for a five-day visit.