This Day in History – 5 Av/July 12


5332/1572, Harav Yitzchak Luria, zt”l, the Ari Hakadosh (5333/1573 according to others)

5419/1659, Harav Aharon, zt”l, Baal Ruach Hakodesh, Rav of Zlotchov

5510/1750, Harav Gedaliah Chiyun, Rosh Yeshivah, Beis Keil, rebbi muvhak and father-in-law of the Rashash

5553/1793, Harav Chaim of Krasna, talmid of the Baal Shem Tov

5567/1807, Harav Zev Lichtenstein, zt”l, Rav of Broistitz, author of Kedushas Yisrael

5571/1811, Harav Shimon Isserlish, zt”l, Rav of Slutzk, son of the Rema

5659/1899, Harav Ezriel Hildesheimer, zt”l, Rav of Adas Yisrael, Berlin

5700/1940, Harav Chaim Ozer Grodzenski, zt”l, Rav of Vilna

5760/2000, Harav Binyomin Paler, Rosh Yeshivah, Mekor Chaim, zt”l



Harav Meir Berabi, zt”l, Rav of Pressburg and author of Chiddushei Maharam Berabi

Harav Meir was born in 5485/1725, in Berabi, near the German city of Halberstat. His parents were Harav Shaul and Rebbetzin Yentl’che.

His father was his first teacher, who set him on the path of Torah and yiras Shamayim. When Reb Meir was still young, his father sent him to learn under Harav Tzvi Hirsh Charif, Rav of Halberstat, who immediately noticed the great potential of this young talmid. He put immense effort into his Torah development, and cared for his needs, so that his growth in Torah shouldn’t be disturbed.

From there, Reb Meir continued on to the yeshivah of Harav Yaakov Paprish, Rav of Frankfurt-on-Main, and author of Shev Yaakov. He stayed in this yeshivah for two years, advancing in Torah. After his stay in Frankfurt, he returned to Halberstat, making this his place of learning.

At the age of 13, in 5498/1738, Reb Meir married Rebbetzin Elkele, the daughter of Harav Michel of Halberstat. He dedicated himself solely to learning Torah, thanks to the support of his brother-in-law, Reb Nosson, who sustained him.

Even at this young age, Reb Meir was already known as an outstanding talmid chacham. Many men, seeking such a talmid chacham as a teacher, gathered round him in Halberstat. Later, he was appointed Dayan in the city, and in 5517/1757, when Harav Moshe Brisk, the local Rav, was niftar, Reb Meir was asked to fill his place. Reb Meir held this position for the next six years.

In 5523/1763, Reb Meir was accepted as Rav in Hali, Germany, but only resided in the city for one year. At the end of that year, Reb Meir assumed the position of Rav of Pressburg, Hungary, a position he held for the next 25 years, until his passing, in 5549/1789.

Reb Meir was zocheh to teach many talmidim in all the communities where he was Rav. Many of them went on to become leading Rabbanim and Gedolim.

Reb Meir was close with many of the generation’s Gedolim, and frequently discussed with them halachic she’eilos. Most notably, he was in frequent contact with the Noda B’Yehudah over all halachic topics. There are many teshuvos in the sefarim of the Noda B’Yehudah that are directed to Reb Meir.

Reb Meir was known as a Rav who always sought peace and harmony in all the communities where he officiated. It is related that one year, on Yom Kippur night, before Kol Nidrei, all the inhabitants of the city were waiting for Reb Meir to arrive in the shul for davening to begin. In the meantime, he was standing outside, in the shul’s lobby, trying to make peace between two long-time enemies, telling them that he would not enter the shul, and davening wouldn’t start, until they made up. Obviously, they made peace, and soon davening commenced.

In 5549/1789, Reb Meir took ill. Even though he was bedridden, he made all possible efforts to continue his normal learning seder. He continued to learn until his last minutes in this world.

Reb Meir was niftar on 5 Av 5549/1789, at the age of 64.

Zechuso yagen aleinu.


July 12

In 1690, forces led by William of Orange defeated the army of James II at the Battle of the Boyne in Ireland.

In 1862, President Abraham Lincoln signed a bill authorizing the Medal of Honor.

In 1909, the House of Representatives joined the Senate in passing the 16th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, allowing for a federal income tax, and submitted it to the states. (It was declared ratified in February 1913.)

In 1943, the World War II tank battle of Prokhorovka between German invaders and Soviet defenders took place with no clear victor.

In 1948, the Democratic National Convention, which nominated President Harry S. Truman for a second term of office, opened in Philadelphia.

In 1957, President Dwight D. Eisenhower was flown by helicopter from the White House to a secret mountaintop location as part of a drill involving a mock nuclear attack on Washington.

In 1967, six days of race-related rioting erupted in Newark, N.J.; the violence claimed 26 lives.

In 1984, Democratic presidential candidate Walter F. Mondale announced he’d chosen U.S. Rep. Geraldine A. Ferraro of New York to be his running-mate; Ferraro was the first woman to run for vice president on a major-party ticket.

In 1988, Democratic presidential candidate Michael S. Dukakis tapped Sen. Lloyd Bentsen of Texas as his running-mate.

In 1993, some 200 people were killed when an earthquake of magnitude 7.8 struck northern Japan and triggered a tsunami.

In Somalia, a mob enraged by a deadly United Nations attack on the compound of Mohamed Farrah Aidid killed an Associated Press photographer and three employees of Reuters.