This Day in History – 4 Iyar/April 23

In 4925/1165, the Rambam and his family left Fez, North Africa, for Eretz Yisrael. The Rambam observed this day as a fast day, commemorating his miraculous survival from a storm that hit the sea on 10 Iyar, a few days after he set sail.


5458/1698, Harav Yaakov Sasportes, Rosh Yeshivah of Yeshivas Eitz Chaim in Hamburg, author of She’eilos U’teshuvos Ohalei Yaakov. He was one of the strong opponents of Shabsai Tzvi.

5552/1792, Harav Yosef Teumim, author of Pri Megadim, Rosh Yosef on Chulin, Poras Yosef on Yevamos and Kesubos, and more. (According to some, his yahrtzeit is on 10 Iyar.)

5652/1892, Harav Yosef Ber Soloveitchik of Brisk, Rosh Yeshivah of Volozhin, author of Beis Halevi


5744/1984, Harav Shmuel Eliyahu Taub, The Imrei Aish of Modzitz, zt”l

The third Modzitzer Rebbe, Harav Shmuel Eliyahu Taub, zt”l, was born on 4 Adar 5665/1905 in Lublin, Poland. His father was Harav Shaul Yedidyah of Modzitz, the Imrei Shaul, zt”l. His mother, Rebbetzin Kayla Nechama, was a daughter of Rav Avraham Eiger, the Shevet MiYehudah, zt”l.

In his youth, Reb Shaul Yedidyah gained thorough knowledge in all aspects of Torah. At the age of 13 he went to live with his grandfather, Harav Yisrael, the Divrei Yisrael of Modzitz, where he elevated himself in Torah and avodas Hashem. After his grandfather’s petirah he moved back with his parents and in 5686/1926 he married Rebbetzin Rivkah Zlata, the daughter of Reb Moshe Chaim Kohn, a prominent Warsaw naggid.

In 5690/1930 he received semichah from Warsaw’s leading Rabbanim, and at a young age he was already a posek of note who paskened she’eilos of issur v’heter.

In the year 5695/1935 Reb Shmuel Eliyahu arrived in Eretz Yisrael for a visit, together with his father, Reb Shaul Yedidyah, for whom this was a third trip. They visited Meron on Lag BaOmer and the Kosel on Tishah B’Av, the entire visit so affecting Reb Shmuel that finally, when it was time to return to Poland, he said that he would like to remain. His father agreed, and within a year Reb Shmuel Eliyahu brought over his Rebbetzin and his son, Reb Yisrael Dan, zt”l (who later succeeded his father and became the fourth Modzitzer Rebbe; he was niftar 20 Sivan 5766/2006).

The young family settled in Tel-Aviv, where Reb Shmuel Eliyahu founded the Modzitzer shtiebel and, with his amazing personality, drew many Chassidim.

His father miraculously escaped the Holocaust via Vilna and eventually ended up in America. There he remained until 5607/1947, when he emigrated to Eretz Yisrael. He was niftar in 5608/1948, and upon his petirah his son succeeded him.

The Rebbe continued the exalted tradition of Modzitz and, as did the prior Rebbes, composed hundreds of holy niggunim that are sung throughout the world.

As he was the shaliach tzibbur on Rosh Hashanah, he composed 12 new niggunim every year to enhance various parts of the tefillos. His davening was heartrending and raised the spirits of his Chassidim to great heights.

Reb Shmuel Eliyahu conducted himself in a humble manner and was unassuming and selfless throughout his lifetime. His refined character drew many people to him, and he was also beloved by other Gedolim of the time.

He served as a member of the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah and founded Yeshivah Imrei Shaul in his father’s memory. His divrei Torah are found in the sefer Imrei Aish. After suffering from various ailments for a number of years, on 4 Iyar he returned his soul to its Maker. He was buried on Har Hazeisim next to his father.

Zechuso yagen aleinu.


April 23

In 1920, the national council in Turkey denounced the government of Sultan Mehmed VI and promulgated a temporary constitution.

In 1941, during World War II, the Greek government and King George II evacuated Athens before the attacking Wehrmacht.

In 1955, the Canadian Labour Congress was formed by the merger of the Trades and Labour Congress of Canada and the Canadian Congress of Labour.

In 1961, retired French army generals in French Algeria attempted to overthrow French President Charles de Gaulle and establish an anti-communist military junta. Known as the Algiers putsch, the attempt ultimately failed.

In 1990, Namibia became the 160th member of the United Nations and the 50th member of the Commonwealth of Nations.

In 2003, Beijing closed all schools for the next two weeks because of a SARS outbreak.

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