This Day in History – 27 Adar I/March 7

In 5015/1255, the king of Austria granted rights to Jews.


 

Yahrtzeiten

5408/1648, Harav Yehudah Aryeh of Vizhnitza, zt”l

5635/1875, Harav Yosef Shaul Natansohn, zt”l

5757/1997, Harav Moshe Neuschloss, zt”l


 

5643/1883, Harav Yaakov Barit of Vilna, zt”l

Harav Yaakov Barit was born in Simna, near Suvalk, on 21 Elul 5557/1797. His father was Rav Yehudah Leib.

As a child he learned with an elderly talmid chacham for four zmanim, after which he was fluent in many masechtos and could learn without the help of a teacher.

Before he became bar mitzvah, his father, Rav Yehudah Leib, was niftar; his mother, Esther, had passed away two years earlier. As an orphan, he was tended to by the townspeople.

At age 14 he set out for Kovna, but stopped en route in Slabodka, where he learned for the next three years. In that time, he was taken as a chassan by one of the negidim of Kovna from the Barit family. Barit was an acronym of Ben Reb Yehudah Teitz, a famed Dayan in Vilna. Reb Yaakov took his father-in-law’s surname.

He lived in the home of his father-in-law for the next five years, continuing to grow in Torah. Unfortunately, his wife passed away six years after their wedding, leaving Reb Yaakov alone with a young daughter. Reb Yaakov didn’t want to be a burden on the family so he moved on to Vilna.

He reached Vilna in Cheshvan 5582/1821, at the age of 25. Soon afterwards he married a granddaughter of Harav Yitzchak of Kolovaria. Reb Yaakov settled in Vilna; unfortunately, tranquility was not to be his. The passing of his second wife in 5590/1830 left him alone with two more children. He married once again; his wife was the daughter of Rav Aharon Tauber, an affluent Vilna Jew who supported him for the next few years.

After the years of support were over, Reb Yaakov tried his hand at his father-in-law’s whisky distillery. He was very successful, but in 5605/1845, after the government ruled that Jews were no longer allowed to produce alcoholic beverages, Reb Yaakov was left penniless.

A few years later, in 5610/1850, Rav Chaim Nachman Parnas founded a yeshivah and appointed Reb Yaakov the Rosh Yeshivah. Many bachurim gathered to learn under Reb Yaakov, who gave shiurim in Tur with Beis Yosef, and later in Shulchan Aruch and the commentaries.

In 5616/1856, a request came from the czar for a delegation of Jews to answer philosophical questions. Reb Yaakov and three other Rabbanim were chosen for this task.

From that time on, Reb Yaakov was considered a leader of the community. Using his new connections in government, he helped repeal unfavorable decrees.

In 5633/1873, Reb Yaakov suffered a stroke from which he never fully recovered, remaining paralyzed on his right side. However, he continued his work in the yeshivah until 5637/1877.

On the night of 27 Adar I, 5643/1883, Reb Yaakov was niftar at the age of 86. He was buried in Vilna.

Zecher tzaddik livrachah.


 

March 7

In 1916, Bavarian Motor Works (BMW) had its beginnings in Munich, Germany, as an airplane engine manufacturer.

In 1926, the first successful trans-Atlantic radio-telephone conversations took place between New York and London.

In 1936, Adolf Hitler ordered his troops to march into the Rhineland, thereby breaking the Treaty of Versailles and the Locarno Pact.

In 1975, the U.S. Senate revised its filibuster rule, allowing 60 senators to limit debate in most cases, instead of the previously required two-thirds of senators present.