This Day in History – 27 Cheshvan/October 31

27 Cheshvan

In 1657/2105 B.C.E., “the earth dried up” (Bereishis 8:14), thus ending the Mabul after 365 days.

In Megillas Taanis, 27 Cheshvan celebrates the return to the use of soless as Minachos. This was Rabi Yochanan ben Zakkai’s triumph in defeating the Tzedoki tradition of bringing animals as a korban minchah.


5270/1509, Harav Yaakov Chaviv, zt”l, mechaber of Ein Yaakov

5457/1696, Harav Dovid, zt”l, Rav of Lida, Magentza and Amsterdam, mechaber of Ir Dovid, Ir Miklat and Sharvit Hazahav

5586/1825, Harav Refael Ashkenazi of Izmir, zt”l, mechaber of Mareh Einayim

5603/1842, Harav Shmuel Hayashish, zt”l, Rav of London

5609/1848, Harav Meir Binyamin Menachem Dunin, zt”l, mechaber of Be’er Hasadeh

5677/1916, Harav Moshe Mordechai of Pelzovizna, zt”l

5701/1940, Harav Dovid Friedman, Hy”d, the Rebbe of Ployesht

5757/1996, Harav Shmuel Helevi Ashlag, zt”l



Harav Yaakov Leizer, zt”l, Pshevorsker Rebbe of Antwerp

Reb Yankele, as he was known, was born on 6 Teves 5766/1906. His parents, Reb Dovid and Pessel Tirtza of Vashlisk in Galicia, perished together with their daughters in a forest near Dukla during the Holocaust. Hy”d.

Reb Yankele studied with his father. As a youngster, he knew hundreds of blatt Gemara by heart, a result of keeping learning sedarim that lasted for hours. As a teen he learned together with the Klausenburger Rebbe, zt”l, in the yeshivah of Reb Tevele Zehman of Dukla, who later conferred semichah upon him.

Subsequently, Reb Yankele became a faithful chassid of Harav Chuna Halberstam of Koloshitz, a descendant of the Sanzer Rebbe, and considered him his rebbi muvhak. He was zocheh to print the Koloshitzer Rebbe’s teachings and divrei Torah in the two volumes of Divrei Chuna, and often mentioned his minhagim, mofsim and tzidkus. After the petirah of his Rebbe, he would journey to Reb Yissachar Dov of Belz and later to his son, Reb Aharon, as well as to the Satmar Rebbe.

He was appointed Rav of Yashlisk in 5691/1931. In 5695/1935 he married the daughter of the tzaddik Reb Moshe Yitzchak (Itzikel) Gevirtzman, the Rebbe of Pshevorsk, and moved to Pshevorsk. He greatly admired his father-in-law and did not leave his side until Reb Itzikel’s petirah on Yom Kippur 5737/1976. During World War II, they were exiled together to Siberia, and thus saved the horrors of the Holocaust. After the war they arrived in Paris, after which they moved to Antwerp, where Reb Itzikel opened a beis medrash in 5717/1957.

After Reb Itzikel’s petirah, Reb Yankele was requested by the chassidim to take his father-in-law’s place as Pshevorsker Rebbe. In a short time, many chassidim and admirers flocked to Antwerp from all over the world. As is customary among the descendants of the Noam Elimelech, he was stringent about leading the melaveh malkah tisch; chassidim relate many mofsim which Reb Yankele performed in the merit of these seudos.

The melavei malkah, during which he related sippurei tzaddikim and divrei Torah, went on for several hours every Motzoei Shabbos. He was very careful to tell each story accurately, including its complete sources. Many of these accounts have been printed in the sefer Yud Gimmel Oros.

Reb Yankele said of relating these stories: “I descended to the world to remind people that there was once a Sanzer Rebbe.”

Reb Yankele was renowned as a baal mofes, and many were saved through his blessings and tefillos. He was very strict about people wearing traditional Jewish garb, and often promised a yeshuah if the person involved would don a shtreimel.

His Chumash-Rashi shiurim, in which he would deliver beautiful divrei Torah on the weekly sidrah, were very popular. Many are available on tape.

His avodah she’balev was fiery and full of holy hislahavus. During his tefillos it was obvious that he was disconnected from the physical world.

Although he was a Rebbe of hundreds of chassidim and was respected worldwide, he never deviated from his humble, simple ways. He respected the lowliest Jews, comforting them with warm words and helping with their needs. He would often sleep on a bench in the ezras nashim, offering his own bed to wandering beggars. He slept in his sukkah with tens of others who did not have a sukkah of their own.

His gemilus chassadim and tzedakah were legendary. He collected funds and supported the needy and downtrodden with incomparable humility.

Reb Yankele was careful to avoid disputes. Once he said to a chassid, “If you see an argument starting, hold tight to the corners of your coat and flee!”

Seven years before his petirah he fell ill; he was niftar on 27 Cheshvan 5759/1998. After a huge levayah in his beis medrash in Antwerp, he was buried next to his father-in-law, Reb Itzikel, in the beis hachaim in Holland (Belgium does not permit Jewish cemeteries). Reb Leibish, his son, is the current Pshevorsker Rebbe.

Zechuso yagen aleinu.


October 31

In 1864, Nevada became the 36th state.

In 1887, Nationalist Chinese leader Chiang Kai-shek was born in Zhejiang Province.

In 1941,  Work was completed on the Mount Rushmore National Memorial in South Dakota, begun in 1927.

In 1959, a former U.S. Marine showed up at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow to renounce his American citizenship so he could live in the USSR. His name: Lee Harvey Oswald.

In 1961, the body of Josef Stalin was removed from Lenin’s Tomb as part of the Soviet Union’s “de-Stalinization” drive.

In 1968, President Johnson ordered a halt to all U.S. bombing of North Vietnam.