This Day in History – 24 Iyar/May 13

In 5705/1945, the Mauthausen concentration camp, where over 200,000 were killed, was liberated.


 

Yahrtzeiten

5671/1911, Harav Yitzchak Feigenbaum, zt”l, Rav of Warsaw

5704/1944, Harav Yisrael Shalom Yosef of Antinya, Hy”d


 

5739/1979, Harav Binyamin Mendelsohn, Rav of Komemiyus, zy”a

Harav Binyamin Mendelsohn was born in Plotzk, Poland, in 5664/1904. As a child, Reb Binyamin studied in his father’s yeshivah, where his outstanding talents shone.

Rav Mendelsohn immigrated to Eretz Yisrael in 5694/1934, with the blessings of the Gerrer Rebbe. He settled in Kfar Ata where he was the Rav for 17 years. Rav Mendelsohn then moved to the moshav of Komemiyus at the request of the Gedolei Yisrael.

Rav Mendelsohn held the positions of Rav and Rosh Kollel in Komemiyus for 22 years, until his petirah. He took responsibility for every aspect of the growth of the moshav. At the same time, he was at the forefront of the movement for the observance of the mitzvos hateluyos ba’aretz — land-based mitzvos — nationwide.

During the first Shemittah in Komemiyus, Rav Mendelsohn strove to encourage all the neighboring moshavim to keep the laws, explaining that Shemittah was the key to the Geulah.

Rav Mendelsohn’s burning love for the mitzvah of Shemittah touched even those far from Yiddishkeit. When he asked the Ministry of Trade for permission to market Shemittah produce by means of otzar beis din, rather than through the official National Council for Citrus Marketing his lecture to the secular officials on the meaning of shemitta and how it bears witness to Hashem’s ownership of the land. had the officials agreeing that “One thing is clear. Rav Mendelson runs his orchard for six years just so that he can declare it ownerless on the seventh and proclaim the kingdom of Heaven.” As a result,  the officials agreed that  the residents of Bnei Brak and Yerushalayim would have otzar beis din produce available starting from the Shemittah of 5726/1966.

Rav Mendelsohn was niftar on 24 Iyar 5739/1979. His letters, which contain insights on Torah, halachah, hashkafah and emunah, are collected in Igros HaRav, published in 5754/1994.

Yehi zichro baruch.


 

May 13

In 1607, English colonists arrived by ship at the site of what became the Jamestown settlement in Virginia. (The colonists went ashore the next day.)

In 1846, the United States declared that a state of war already existed with Mexico.

In 1918, the first U.S. airmail stamps, featuring a picture of a Curtiss JN-4 biplane, were issued to the public. (On a few of the stamps, the biplane was inadvertently printed upside-down, making the “Inverted Jenny” collectors’ items.)

In 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the St. Lawrence Seaway Development Act.