This Day in History – 24 Elul/August 30

24 Elul

In 3410/351 B.C.E., Hashem awakened the spirit of Zerubavel and Yehoshua ben Yehotzadok to begin the work of building the Second Beis Hamikdash.

In 5562/1802, anti-Jewish riots erupted in two Swiss cities.

Yahrtzeiten

5381/1621, Harav Mordechai Yaffa, zt”l, Rav in Vienna

5462/1702, Harav Moshe Charif, zt”l, Rav of Lvov

5575/1815, Harav Yosef Moshe Shapira of Zalozitz, zt”l, the Bris Avram

5578/1818, Harav Avraham Yosef Igra of Zeshilin-Cracow, zt”l

5693/1933, Harav Yisrael Meir Hakohen Kagan, the Chofetz Chaim, zt”l

5613/1953, Harav Bentzion Uziel, zt”l, first Sephardi Chief Rabbi of Israel

5753/1993, Harav Chaim Milkovski, zt”l, father of the Amshinover Rebbe, shlita, of Bayit Vegan

25 Elul

First day of Creation: “In the beginning Hashem created the heaven and the earth” (Bereishis 1:1) according to Rabi Eliezer (Rosh Hashanah 10:2); according to Rabi Yehoshua, it was on 25 Adar.

In 3428/333 B.C.E., Nechemiah completed the rebuilding of the walls of Yerushalayim which had been in ruins since the destruction of the First Beis Hamikdash 88 years earlier, as related in Sefer Nechemiah (Perek 6).

Yahrtzeiten

3862/102 C.E., the Tanna Rabi Elazar, son of Rabi Shimon bar Yochai, zt”l (some disagree with this date)

5542/1782, Harav Yechiel Mechel of Zlotchov, zt”l

5661/1901, Harav Aharon Abuchatzeira, zt”l

5654/1904, Harav Dovid Halberstam of Kshanov, zt”l


 

5736/1976

Harav Yechezkel Abramsky, zt”l

Harav Yechezkel Abramsky was born in a small shtetl near Vilna. He studied in the Novardok Yeshivah, and received semichah at 18 from Harav Yechiel Mechel Epstein, the Aruch Hashulchan. Later he studied in Telshe and in the Ramailles Yeshivah in Vilna.

Later, Harav Yisrael Yehonosan Yerushalemsky, Rav of Ihman, took him as a son-in-law. In his father-in-law’s home he advanced in hora’ah while continuing to learn in depth under Harav Chaim Brisker.

For a while he served as a R”M in the Lubavitcher Yeshivah; from there he went on to become a Rav in Smuliyan, and then in Smulevitch, near Minsk, where he remained for nine years. In 5683/1923 he became Rav in the city of Slutzk.

Slutzk, in Belarus, was already under communist control. With mesirus nefesh Reb Yechezkel openly practiced Yiddishkeit, encouraging his flock and leading the charge. The Russians, unable to swallow the “brazen acts” of the Rav, exiled him to Siberia, where he suffered for two difficult years. Only after intense hishtadlus by many Gedolim was he freed, and told to leave the country.

He traveled to London, where he became Rav of the Machzikei Hadas kehillah. Later he became Chief Rabbi of Great Britain.

In 5711/1951, he reached Eretz Yisrael and settled in Bayit Vegan, Yerushalayim. Despite his advanced age, he traveled weekly to Bnei Brak to deliver shiurim in Yeshivas Slabodka.

His widely acclaimed sefer, Chazon Yechezkel, on the Tosefta, was hailed by Torah leaders as a magnificent illumination of an area of Torah that had previously been obscure because of the many difficult passages it contained. He undertook this monumental task in response to a simple comment made by Harav Chaim Brisker that the available version of the Tosefta was full of errors. He also produced Dinei Mamonos and other sefarim.

Reb Yechezkel was niftar at the age of 90 on 24 Elul 5736/1976.

Zecher tzaddik livrachah.


 

August 30

In 1861, Union Gen. John C. Fremont instituted martial law in Missouri and declared slaves there to be free. (However, Fremont’s emancipation order was countermanded by President Abraham Lincoln).

In 1862, Confederate forces won victories against the Union at the Second Battle of Bull Run in Manassas, Va., and the Battle of Richmond in Kentucky.

In 1941, during World War II, German forces approaching Leningrad cut off the remaining rail line out of the city.

In 1945, Gen. Douglas MacArthur arrived in Japan to set up Allied occupation headquarters.

In 1963, the “Hot Line” communications link between Washington and Moscow went into operation.

In 1967, the Senate confirmed the appointment of Thurgood Marshall as the first black justice on the U.S. Supreme Court.

In 1983, Guion S. Bluford, Jr., became the first black American astronaut to travel in space as he blasted off aboard the Challenger.

In 1986, Soviet authorities arrested Nicholas Daniloff, a correspondent for U.S. News and World Report, as a spy a week after American officials arrested Gennadiy Zakharov, a Soviet employee of the United Nations, on espionage charges in New York. (Both men were later released.)

In 1987, a redesigned space shuttle booster, created in the wake of the Challenger disaster, roared into life in its first full-scale test-firing near Brigham City, Utah.

In 1991, Azerbaijan declared its independence, joining the stampede of republics seeking to secede from the Soviet Union.

In 1997, Americans received word of the car crash in Paris that claimed the lives of Princess Diana, Dodi Fayed and their driver, Henri Paul. (Because of the time difference, it was Aug. 31 where the crash occurred.)