This Day in History – 7 Tishrei/September 11

7 Tishrei

In 2449/1313 B.C.E., Hashem decreed that Dor Hamidbar should die in the wilderness because of chet ha’egel. A taanis tzaddikim commemorates the event (Orach Chaim 580:2). According to some (Kol Bo and others), the event took place one day earlier, on 6 Tishrei.

In 5700/1939, Germany occupied Lukow, Poland, killing many Jews. Hy”d.

Yahrtzeiten

2312/1450 B.C.E., Zevulun ben Yaakov Avinu, zt”l. He was also born on this day.

5497/1736, Harav Dovid Oppenheim, zt”l, Rav of Nicholsburg and Prague

5593/1832, Harav Noach of Lechovitz, zt”l

5612/1851, Harav Nachum of Makarov, zt”l, son of Harav Mordechai of Chernobyl

5573/1812, Harav Yitzchak Michoel Pintzo of Italy, zt”l, mechaber of Pri Yitzchak

5704/1943, Harav Yitzchak Isaac Friedman, zt”l, mechaber of Nachlas Yitzchak


 

5766/2005

Harav Binyomin Zeilberger, zt”l, Rosh Yeshivah, Bais Hatalmud of Bensonhurst

Harav Binyomin Zeilberger was born in 5682/1922 in the small German village of Koenig-Shaufen, not far from Wurzberg. In one of his sefarim, Harav Binyomin writes that his father was an ish tam v’yashar, v’yerei Elokim — “a straight, upright and G-d-fearing person.”

Harav Binyomin was educated in the German-Jewish schools of that time, where he learned both Jewish and secular subjects. Harav Shamshon Raphael Weiss, a German Jew who had learned in the Mirrer Yeshivah in Poland, was a teacher there. Rabbi Weiss often sent his students on trips to visit the Mirrer Yeshivah. One of these bachurim told the young Binyomin Zeilberger, 14 years old at the time, about his trip and the impression it made on him. Binyamin became enamored of the idea of going to learn in Mir.

At that point, Harav Binyomin was at a crossroads: he had to decide which of two German schools he would attend to complete his studies. “If I have to change schools, why shouldn’t I go to the Mirrer Yeshivah, about which I have heard such glowing reports?” he thought.

Soon afterwards, his parents realized that the situation for Jews in Hitler’s Germany was deteriorating. They decided it would be a good idea for their son to leave Germany, so they allowed him to go to learn in Mir.

He arrived in Mir after Pesach of 5696/1936. At that time the Mashgiach, Harav Yeruchem Levovitz, zt”l, was ailing. Nevertheless, the 14-year-old bachur from Germany managed to hear several shmuessen from the Mashgiach before his petirah two months later. Reb Yeruchem’s countenance and his approach to mussar had a profound impact on the bachur. He attached himself to the great talmidim of the Rav and through them forged a bond to Toras hamussar of Reb Yeruchem.

As the winds of war gathered over Europe in 1939, Reb Binyomin fled Poland with the Mirrer Yeshivah to independent Vilna, Lithuania. As is known, the yeshivah ultimately made its way across Russia to Japan and finally settled in Shanghai, where it remained for the duration of the war.

Arriving in America with the yeshivah in 5707/1947, Reb Binyomin learned in the newly-established Mirrer Yeshivah in Brooklyn, New York. He married the daughter of Harav Yisrael Chaim Kaplan, zt”l, son-in-law of Harav Yeruchem and a baal mussar who was Rosh Yeshivah and Mashgiach of Bais Medrash Elyon in Monsey. With his marriage, Reb Binyamin became a grandson to Harav Yeruchem Levovitz.

After his chasunah, Reb Binyomin joined the newly established Yeshivah Bais Hatalmud. Within its walls he transmitted Torah and yirah to generations of talmidim for the rest of his life, vigilant to ensure that the yeshivah’s unique ruach would remain unchanged from that forged by its founders.

During the last segment of his life, when Reb Binyomin was diagnosed with a terminal illness, the grandeur of a lifetime of Torah and middos was revealed. Although he was often in great pain, family members never heard him complain or cry out in pain. On the contrary, one usually saw him with a smile on his face.

On 7 Tishrei 5766/2005, Harav Binyomin Zeilberger was niftar. He was buried on Har Hazeisim next to his illustrious father-in-law, Harav Yisroel Chaim Kaplan.

Zecher tzaddik livrachah.


 

September 11

In 1777, during the American Revolution, forces under Gen. George Washington were defeated by the British in the Battle of Brandywine.

In 1814, an American fleet scored a decisive victory over the British in the Battle of Lake Champlain in the War of 1812.

In 1857, the Mountain Meadows Massacre took place in present-day southern Utah as a 120-member Arkansas immigrant party was slaughtered by Mormon militiamen aided by Paiute Indians.

In 1922, the British Mandate for Palestine went into effect.

In 1936, Boulder Dam (now Hoover Dam) began operation as President Franklin D. Roosevelt pressed a key in Washington to signal the startup of the dam’s first hydroelectric generator.

In 1941, groundbreaking took place for the Pentagon.

In a speech that drew accusations of anti-Semitism, Charles A. Lindbergh told an America First rally in Des Moines, Iowa, that “the British, the Jewish and the Roosevelt administration” were pushing the U.S. toward war.

In 1971, former Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev died at age 77.

In 1972, Northern California’s Bay Area Rapid Transit system began operations.

In 1973, Chilean President Salvador Allende died during a violent military coup.

In 1989, the exodus of East German refugees from Hungary to West Germany began.

In 2001, nearly 3,000 people were killed as 19 al-Qaida terrorists hijacked four passenger jetliners. Two planes smashed into NY’s World Trade Center, causing the Twin Towers to fall; a third plowed into the Pentagon; and the fourth was crashed into a field in western Pennsylvania.