This Day in History – 26 Nisan/April 15

In 5703/1943, 13,000 Jews of Amsterdam were deported to Sobibor and Auschwitz. The deportation lasted until 30 Av of that year.


2517/1244 B.C.E., Yehoshua bin Nun

5495/1735, Harav Efraim Navon, zt”l, mechaber of Machaneh Efraim

5664/1904, Harav Moshe Betzalel Luria of Suvalk, zt”l

5698/1938, Harav Yehoshua of Mostreshitz, zt”l


5684/1924, Harav Yosef Levinstein, zt”l, Rav of Srutzk

Harav Yosef Levinstein was born in Lublin in 5600/1840. His father, Harav Abish, a leading talmid chacham of the city, was a fourth-generation descendant of the famed Rav Avraham Abish, Rav of Frankfurt.

After marrying the daughter of Harav Yitzchak Nislesh of Prague, a Vorka Chassid, Rav Yosef settled in Prague. There he continued to grow in Torah. At that time he was given semichah by Harav Yehoshua Heschel Ashkenazi, Rav of Lublin.

At just 18, Rav Yosef was appointed Dayan in Chorzhil. Later he became Rav in Zaklibkov, near Lublin.

As his fame as a Gadol baTorah spread, Rav Yosef was much sought after and he was chosen to be Rav of Srutzk. There he served for more than 50 years, and there he wrote his sefarim and encyclopedic works on the history of Gedolei Yisrael.

Rav Yosef was a walking encyclopedia; he could be asked for the source of any quotation. Using his phenomenal memory, Rav Yosef published Dor Dor Vedorshav, a chronological work on all Gedolei Yisrael from Adam Harishon. He put much effort into commemorating those who, while they may have been known during their lifetimes, had been forgotten in later generations. Rav Yosef also helped others who wrote historical and biographical works.

Rav Yosef contributed to the many Torah periodicals of his time: the Me’asef, Torah MiTzion, Shaarei Torah, Ha’peles, and others. He also helped publish Birkas Avraham, Kanah Avraham and Machazeh Avraham, authored by his forebear Harav Abish of Frankfurt. To all these sefarim, Rav Yosef added his own chiddushim.

There are also some teshuvos of his in Sdei Chemed.

Rav Yosef was niftar in Srutzk on 26 Nisan 5684/1924, at 84.

Zecher tzaddik livrachah.


April 15

In 1715, the Yamasee War began, as members of the Yamasee tribe attacked English settlers in colonial South Carolina.

In 1945, during World War II, British and Canadian troops liberated the Nazi concentration camp Bergen-Belsen.

In 1986, the United States launched an air raid against Libya in response to the bombing of an entertainment venue in Berlin on April 5.

In 2013, two bombs exploded at the Boston Marathon finish line, killing two women and an 8-year-old boy and injuring more than 260.

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