This Day in History – 24 Tammuz/July 2

24 Tammuz

In 4859/1099, the Crusaders, after conquering Yerushalayim, herded the city’s Jews into a shul and set it aflame; all the Jews perished in the fire. For the subsequent 88 years of Crusader control of Yerushalayim, Jews were barred from the city.


5626/1866, Harav Yitzchak Grodzinski, zt”l, of Vilna

5645/1885, Harav Yitzchak Yoel Rabinowitz of Kontkoziva, zt”l

5662/1902, Harav Yaakov Yosef — Rabbi Jacob Joseph,  zt”l, Chief Rabbi of New York


The kever of Harav Amram Yishai Halevi Billitzer.
The kever of Harav Amram Yishai Halevi Billitzer.


Harav Amram Yishai Billitzer, zt”l, Rav of Szerencz

Harav Amram Yishai Halevi Billitzer was born in 5594/1834. His father was Harav Yitzchak Isaac Billitzer, zt”l, the Rav of Nagiada, in Slovakia, author of Be’er Yitzchak.

Harav Amram Yishai learned under Harav Chaim Sofer, zt”l, the mechaber of She’eilos U’teshuvos Machaneh Chaim.

He married Rebbetzin Shifra, the daughter of Reb Shlomo Heiman, a noted talmid chacham from Ungvar.

Harav Amram Yishai was appointed the first official Rav in Szerencz, a growing kehillah in the northeast region of Hungary. He was instrumental in the growth of the kehillah, establishing a yeshivah there in which Torah continued to be taught up until the Holocaust.

Harav Amram Yishai corresponded regularly with his Rebbe, Harav Chaim Sofer. There are many teshuvos written to Harav Amram Yishai in She’eilos U’teshuvos Machaneh Chaim. Likewise, Harav Chaim Sanzer, zy”a, in a teshuvah to Harav Amram Yishai (Divrei Chaim, volume 2, Orach Chaim, siman 5) lavishes upon him titles such as charif and chassid.

His son-in-law, Harav Feivish Zvi Gross, in his sefer Nachalas Tzvi, is effusive in his praise of Harav Amram Yishai.

Harav Amram Yishai served as Rav in Szerencz for 35 years, a period of spiritual growth for his kehillah. He was niftar on 24 Tammuz 5649/1889, at the age of 65. He was buried in Szerencz.

He was succeeded in the rabbanus in Szerencz by his illustrious son, Harav Pinchas Billitzer, author of Givas Pinchas, wherein many of Harav Amram Yishai’s chiddushim are brought down.

Harav Amram Yishai’s sons-in-law were Harav Chaim Mordechai Adler, Rav of Paryia; Harav Yehudah Leib Lemberger-Lvov, Rav of Ruszhani, and Harav Meshulam Feivish Zvi Gross of Brooklyn, mechaber of Nachalas Tzvi and Ateres Tzvi.

In recent years his descendants have erected an ohel over his kever.

Zechuso yagen aleinu.


July 2

In 1776, the Continental Congress passed a resolution saying that “these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States.”

In 1812, Connecticut Gov. Roger Griswold declared his state’s militia would not serve in the war against Britain, reflecting New Englanders’ opposition to the conflict.

In 1881, President James A. Garfield was shot by Charles J. Guiteau at the Washington railroad station; Garfield died the following September. (Guiteau was hanged in June 1882.)

In 1926, the United States Army Air Corps was created.

In 1937, aviator Amelia Earhart and navigator Fred Noonan disappeared over the Pacific Ocean while attempting to make the first round-the-world flight along the equator.

In 1963, President John F. Kennedy met Pope Paul VI at the Vatican, the first meeting between a Catholic U.S. chief executive and the head of the Roman Catholic Church.

In 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law a sweeping civil rights bill passed by Congress.

In 1982, Larry Walters of San Pedro, Calif., used a lawn chair equipped with 45 helium-filled weather balloons to rise to an altitude of 16,000 feet; he landed eight miles away in Long Beach.

In 2002, American adventurer Steve Fossett became the first person to fly a balloon solo around the world as he returned to western Australia.

Ten years ago: Palestinian police marched into Beis Lechem, taking control of the ancient city after Israel withdrew under a U.S.-backed peace plan.

Five years ago: Colombian military spies tricked leftist rebels into freeing 15 hostages: Ex-presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt, three U.S. military contractors, and 11 Colombian policemen and soldiers.

One year ago: Jim Yong Kim began his new job as president of the World Bank, promising to immediately focus on helping poor countries navigate a fragile global economy.

The U.S. Justice Department said British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline would pay $3 billion in fines for criminal and civil violations involving 10 drugs taken by millions of people.

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