This Day in History – 29 Elul/September 4

29 Elul

Fifth day of Creation: Hashem created all marine life and birds. He also created the two sea giants, the Livyasan and his female counterpart. Since the world would not be able to contain them were they to be fruitful and multiply, Hashem slaughtered the female and salted it away to feed tzaddikim in a future era.

In 5551/1791, the Jews of France were emancipated.

In 5699/1939, Nazi Germany occupied Miclec, Poland, killing all its Jewish population. Hy”d.

In 5702/1942, 8,000 Jews of the Stolin ghetto were killed in Stasino, about three miles from Stolin. Hy”d.

Yahrtzeiten

5493/1733, Harav Naftali Hertz, zt”l, Rav of Pintchov

5654/1894, Harav Rafael Landau, zt”l, son of Reb Avraham of Tchechenov

5674/1914, Harav Eliezer Deutsch of Bonihad, zt”l

5682/1922, Harav Yaakov Halevi Lipschitz, zt”l, mechaber of Zichron Yaakov

5735/1975, Harav Yisrael Rabinowitz, Skolya-Kishinev, zt”l


 

5771/2011

Harav Menashe Klein, zt”l, the Ungvarer Rav

Harav Menashe Klein was born on 1 Nisan 5685/1925 in the town of Ungvar. His father, Harav Eliezer Zev Klein, Hy”d, was renowned for never speaking about idle matters.

Already as a child, he began learning Torah from the Dayan of Dobrony. Even before his bar mitzvah, he accustomed himself to sleeping on a straw-filled sack and to toiling in Torah in poverty. He later learned under Harav Yisrael Menachem Alter Chaim Hoffman, zt”l, the Rav of Bendikovitz. He began his day at dawn with immersing in a mikveh, which was often covered with ice.

Still before his bar mitzvah, he began attending the famous yeshivah of Harav Yosef Elimelech Kahana, Hy”d. He was a talmid of Harav Chaim Tzvi Manheimer, zt”l, talmid of the Chasam Sofer. Throughout his life, Harav Klein considered himself a third-generation talmid of the Chasam Sofer.

During the Holocaust, he was deported to the ghettos and the concentration camps together with Harav Kahana. His parents  and most of his family were murdered by the Nazis. Yet, despite his losses, his faith was rock-solid.

While in a concentration camp, he vowed that if he were to survive he would devote his life to harbotzas Torah. Right after the war, while still in a refugee camp in Europe, he began helping his brethren spiritually by disseminating Torah, establishing a kosher kitchen and facilitating other religious needs.

In the capacity of his work, he came into contact with the Sanz-Klausenberger Rebbe, the Shefa Chaim. From that point on he considered himself a Chassid of the Rebbe. They shared a very close relationship.

In 5706/1946 he immigrated to America and renewed his contacts with the Rebbe, who chose him to head Yeshivas Shearis Hapleitah, which he founded.

Reb Menashe was the only person to receive semichah from the Shefa Chaim. In America, he married the Rebbetzin, tbl”c, the daughter of Harav Dovid Shlomo Frankel, zt”l, author of Be’er Dovid, who had served as a Dayan in Debrecen. The Rebbetzin served at his side devotedly for the rest of his life.

In 5709/1949 he began serving as Rav in the Liadi community in Williamsburg, at which time his tremendous abilities as a Rav and posek became apparent. American Jewry discovered that the new, young Rav among them personified the image of a Rav from prewar Europe.

Within a short time, his reputation spread. He was in close contact with Gedolim such as Harav Moshe Feinstein, Harav Yonasan Steif, Harav Eliyahu Henkin, Harav Aharon Kotler, the Tzelemer Rav, zecher tzaddikim livrachah, and others.

In 5723/1963 he was appointed chairman of the Vaad Halachah of Igud Harabbanim. Already, as a young man, he was consulted on complex halachic issues. Anyone perusing his early teshuvos is awestruck by the critical issues on which he was asked to rule.

In 5718/1958, he published his sefer Mishneh Halachos, a commentary on the sefarim of the Baal Halachos Gedolos (Beha”g) on Masechtos Kesubos, Nedarim and Nazir.

At the end of the sefer he printed the first volume of responsa with the same name as the sefer. It eventually evolved into his landmark work of responsa that comprised thousands of she’eilos and teshuvos in all areas of halachah. In 5719/1959, the second volume was released, followed a year later by the third volume. The set now numbers 18 volumes (the last was released posthumously).

In Boro Park, Reb Menashe established his community, Kehillas Ungvar, and opened Yeshivas Beis She’arim.

Reb Menashe lived primarily in the United States, paying visits to Eretz Yisrael. But in his last years, he settled in Kiryat Ungvar, in Yerushalayim.

Reb Menashe was niftar on 29 Elul, Erev Rosh Hashanah, 5771/2011, at the age of 86, after a short illness. He was buried in Tzfas, in the ancient cemetery near the tziyun of his grandfather, Harav Amram Chasida, near the kever of the Alshich and a short distance away from the kevarim of the Arizal and the Beis Yosef — which the Rav himself had devotedly worked to restore. No one had been buried in this part of the cemetery for more than 100 years.

Zecher tzaddik livrachah.


 

September 4

In 1781, Los Angeles was founded by Spanish settlers under the leadership of Governor Felipe de Neve.

In 1888, George Eastman received a patent for his roll-film box camera, and registered his trademark: “Kodak.”

In 1917, the American Expeditionary Forces in France suffered their first fatalities during World War I.

In 1957, Arkansas Gov. Orval Faubus used Arkansas National Guardsmen to prevent nine black students from entering all-white Central High School

In 1998, Google filed for incorporation in California.