This Day in History – 7 Kislev/November 19

Harav Shalom Elchanan Halevi Yaffe, zt”l, Rav of Beth Medrash HaGadol in New York City.
Harav Shalom Elchanan Halevi Yaffe, zt”l, Rav of Beth Medrash HaGadol in New York City.

3758/4 B.C.E., the wicked King Hordos (Herod) died. This day is commemorated in Megillas Taanis as a Yom Tov.



5470/1709, Harav Aryeh Leib of Amsterdam, zt”l, mechaber of Pnei Aryeh

5542/1781, Harav Aharon Epstein of Cracow, zt”l

5573/1812, Harav Dovid Sinzheim, zt”l, Rav of France

5744/1983, Harav Shlomo Binyamin Ashlag, zt”l


Shaar blatt of Pri Eshel.
Shaar blatt of Pri Eshel.

5684/1923, Harav Shalom Elchanan Halevi Yaffe, zt”l, Rav of Beth Medrash HaGadol in New York City

Harav Shalom Elchanan Halevi Yaffe was born in 5608/1858 in the town of Vabolnick, Lithuania, just outside Vilna. His father was Rav Shimon Peretz.

His primary teacher was his father, a noted talmid chacham and a descendant of Rav Mordechai Yaffe, the Baal Halevushim.

At the age of 14 he was sent to the Volozhiner yeshivah, where he studied diligently for six years. At the age of 18 he was married and at the age of 20 he received semichah from Harav Naftali Tzvi Yehudah Berlin, the Netziv, and from Harav Yitzchak Elchanan Spector, Rav of Kovna. Soon afterwards he began to serve as the Rav in the town of Upyna, and thereafter served in Zeimelis.

In 1887, Rav Shalom Elchanan traveled to New York to visit with relatives and accepted a temporary position as the acting Mara d’Asra of Congregation Sh’eirit Sefard in St. Louis, Missouri. A few months later he returned to Europe to serve in his home town of Vobolnick.

In 1891 he returned to St. Louis, where he was offered the positions of Av Beis Din and Mara d’Asra of the Bais Medrash HaGadol.

In 1897 he moved to New York. Rav Shalom Elchanan spent the next five years as the Mara d’Asra of Congregation Bais Hamedrash of Brooklyn. In 1902, soon after the passing of Chief Rabbi Yaakov Yosef, he was appointed Rav of the prestigious Beth Medrash HaGadol of Norfolk Street, where he stayed for the rest of his life.

Rav Yaffe was niftar after a prolonged illness on 7 Kislev 5684/1923, at the age of 65, and was buried in the Mount Judah Cemetery in Glenwood, Queens.

Rav Shalom Elchanan wrote many sefarim. Among those printed are Pri Eshel on masechta Yevamos; Siddur Tefillah Sheleimah; Shoel K’Inyan, his halachic responsa; Sichah Sheleimah; and She’eilas Shalom.

Yehi zichro baruch.

Directions to his kever at Mount Judah Cemetery (Office Side):

  1. Enter Section Two, proceed on Main Road (about 20 feet).
  2. Left on path 20 (on foot), about 150 feet on the right side.


This article was culled from a book by Baruch Amsel on Rabbanim and Admorim buried in the United States.


Nov. 19

In 1794, the United States and Britain signed Jay’s Treaty, which resolved some issues left over from the Revolutionary War.

In 1919, the Senate rejected the Treaty of Versailles by a vote of 55 in favor, 39 against, short of the two-thirds majority needed for ratification.

In 1942, during World War II, Russian forces launched their winter offensive against the Germans along the Don front.

In 1985, President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev met for the first time as they began their summit in Geneva.