This Day in History – 28 Av/August 13

In 5522/1762, the Vaad Arba Aratzos (Council of Four Countries), the sovereign governing body of Polish Jewry, met for the last time in Piltz.



5609/1849, Harav Yosef Dovid of Alik, zt”l

5653/1893, Harav Naftali Tzvi Yehuda Berlin, zt”l, the Netziv, Rosh Yeshivah of Volozhin

5685/1925, Harav Avraham Chaim Ades, zt”l, founder of Yeshivas Rechovos Hanahar in Yerushalayim


2001/5761, Harav Avrohom Yaakov Hakohen Pam, Rosh Yeshivah Of Torah Vodaath, zt”l

Harav Avrohom Yaakov Hakohen Pam was born in Tammuz 5673/1913 to Harav Meir, a noted talmid chacham, a former talmid of Slabodka and Radin. It was thus in a Torah-steeped home that Harav Pam’s unique personality was fashioned.

Young Avrohom Yaakov displayed distinct signs of being destined for greatness. He constantly sought to grow in Torah and rise in spirituality, and his diligence, greatness, refinement and purity of thought were evident even when he was still young.

As a child he studied in Kovna. His family later moved to America, where his father was appointed R”M in Yeshiva Rabbeinu Chaim Berlin. Once in America, the 13-year-old Avraham Yaakov began studying in Yeshiva Torah Vodaath. He became very close with Harav Dovid Leibowitz, zt”l, and Harav Shraga Feivel Mendelowitz, zt”l.

He was known for his outstanding diligence as well as for working on his middos and his study of mussar.

After his marriage to Rebbetzin Sara, he was asked to serve as R”M in the yeshivah ketanah of Torah Vodaath, and later he went on to become Rosh Yeshivah of the yeshivah gedolah. For more than 60 consecutive years, he delivered shiurim and mussar shmuessen to the yeshivah students. He was the very essence of a mechanech and living proof that Torah and yiras Shamayim are the core of life. The impression he made on his talmidim was remarkable; the image of his derech in avodas Hashem remained with them long after they left yeshivah.

His appearance at various assemblages and conventions had a tremendous impact. His speeches were accepted with tremendous reverence by all Torah-true circles. He spoke calmly, with measured, well-chosen words that penetrated the hearts of his listeners.

His profound, weekly shiurim in parashas hashavuah at Torah Vodaath were well attended. These shiurim provided the contents of his sefer, Atarah LaMelech.

He founded the Shuvu organization for the chinuch of Russian children in Eretz Yisrael. He addressed thousands of participants at one Agudah convention with a stirring, tear-filled speech, making them aware of the urgent need to rally to the aid of Russian immigrant children. Then and there, he set up a special committee for rescue activities, and in that manner Shuvu was born. He was its loyal patron until his final day.

Two months before he was niftar his health began to deteriorate. Despite his difficult condition, three weeks before his passing he participated in Shuvu’s annual parlor meeting, setting out for the meeting by ambulance, on a stretcher. Once there, he spoke for five minutes about the tremendous importance of providing Jewish children with a Jewish education. At that, his final public appearance, he conveyed the message that every Jew, under all circumstances, is obligated to do his maximum for the sake of the education of Jewish children.

He was niftar on Thursday night, 28 Av. The levayah left Torah Vodaath on Friday morning, and was attended by thousands of mourners. As per his final request, no hespedim were delivered.

Yehi Zichro Baruch


August 13

In 1792, French revolutionaries imprisoned the French royal family.

In 1846, the American flag was raised for the first time in Los Angeles.

In 1910, Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing, died in London at age 90.

In 1960, the first two-way telephone conversation by satellite took place with the help of Echo 1.

In  1961, East Germany sealed off the border between Berlin’s eastern and western sectors; within days, the Communist authorities began building a wall that would stand for the next 28 years.

In 1981, in a ceremony at his California ranch, President Ronald Reagan signed a historic package of tax and budget reductions.