28th Tamuz - Rashi

Today (28th Tamuz) is the yarzheit of probably the most famous and most influential of all Ashkenazi Rabbis - Rashi. Arguably he is still the most influential Jewish author since the time of the Talmud. It is virtually impossible to move in the world of Chumash (and Nach) or Talmud without Rashi's commentary.

He wrote on almost all areas of Torah, and was one of the first to write a linear commentary on the Torah and Talmud.

This is a small part of the wikipedia entry for Rashi (there is much more there which is recommended reading:

27th Tamuz - R' Shlomo Ganzfried

Yesterday (Shabbat, 27th Tamuz) was the Yarzheit of the author of the kitzur shulchan Aruch - Rabbi Shlomo Ganzfried.

He was born in Uzhhorod (Ungvar) in the Carpathian region of the Habsburg Empire (now Ukraine). His father Joseph died when he was eight. Rabbi Ganzfried was considered to be a child prodigy and Ungvar's chief rabbi and Rosh yeshiva, Rabbi Zvi Hirsh Heller assumed legal guardianship; Heller was known as "Hershele the Sharp-witted" for his piercing insights into the Talmud. Heller later moved to the city of Bonyhád, and Ganzfried, then fifteen, followed him. He remained in Heller's yeshiva for almost a decade until his ordination and marriage. After his marriage he worked briefly as a wine-merchant.

In 1843 he abandoned commerce and accepted the position of rabbi of Brezevitz. In 1849, he returned to Ungvar as a dayan, a judge in the religious court.

23rd Tamuz - R' Moshe Cordovero

Today is the anniversary of the death of one of the greatest kabbalists before the Arizal. R' Moshe Cordovero (RaMaK) wrote extensively on the Zohar attempting to resolve apparent contradictions in this text.

After the Arizal brought his new methodology and kabbalistic insights, the RaMaK's writings became less popular (apparently the Arizal said of his writings that they were 'olam he tohu' - 'world of confusion'). However Tomer Devorah (Palm Tree of Devorah) is still learnt today, as one of the basic mussar seforim, and the pardes is still studied by those trying to come to a deeper understanding of the Zohar and kabbalistic worlds.


"You shall be banished swiftly from the goodly Land that G-d gives you. You shall place these words ..." (Deuteronomy 11; 17 - 18). Rashi (based on Sifri 43) comments on this verse: "Even after you are exiled [from the Land of Israel] you should decorate yourselves with the Mitzvot, put on Tefillin, place a mezuzah on your doorposts etc. in order that they should not be new to you when you return [from your exile]. Similarly the prophet says "Set up signposts for yourselves" (Jeremiah 31; 20)."

15th Tamuz - Shaagas Aryeh

Yesterday (15th Tamuz) was also the yarzheit of the Shaagas Aryeh, one of the most fiery and brilliant Rabbis of his time. He was also fiery in his temperament. Unfortunately I couldn't find very much about him using google, and don't have time just now to do the proper research.

I seem to remember a story about him putting a curse on Prague, and the city being destroyed by fire. (But I may have got it confused with another city and another Rabbi). If anyone can add details about his life I would appreciate it.

Here are the wikipedia article and a couple of stories I found on the web.

Rabbi Aryeh Leib ben Asher Gunzberg (aka Shaagat Aryeh) (Hebrew: ???? ??? ????????) was born in Lithuania, c. 1700, and died at Metz, France June 23, 1785. He was a Rabbinical casuist often referred to by the name of his most famous book, Shaagat Aryeh (Hebrew, ???? ????, for 'Roar of the Lion').

12th Tamuz - R' Elchonon Wasserman

Rabbi Elchonon Wasserman was recognised by everyone as one of the most brilliant Talmudic scholars of his time.

Rabbi Elchonon Wasserman (1875-1941) was a prominent Rabbi and Rosh Yeshiva in pre-World War II Europe. He was one of the Chofetz Chaim's closest disciples and a Torah scholar of note.

His seforim on Talmud are learn in all the major Yeshivot today - 'Kovetz Maamarim' and 'Kovetz He'aros' are the most famous. You can read some exerpts of an article of his on faith here: Reb Elchonon

He was in the USA at the outbreak of WWII (and the holocaust). Although he had many offers to stay in the USA which would have been safer, he knew that his place was with his Yeshiva. A captain always stays with his ship. (In this sense he was the 'frum' version of Janos Korcak). He was arested by the Nazisin 1941 with 20 of his students.

(Quote from Wikipedia)

25th Sivan - Three Martyrs

Three of the 'Ten Martyrs' were killed on this date: Rabbi Chanina S'gan HaCohanim, Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel and Rabbi Yishmael ben Elisha. (this is brought down in the Tur and Shulchan Aruch OC 580). Their deaths are remembered in the kinah of Tisha B'Av 'Eileh Ezkera'.

Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel was the grandson of Hillel. He was the nasi durign the end of the Second Temple period and after the destruction, at the time when Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakkai was the Rosh Yeshiva. His grandson was Rebbe Yehuda HaNasi.

Rabbi Yishmael, Cohen Gadol went to learn Torah from Rabbi Nechuniah ben Hakanah at the age of 13. He was able to speak to angels, and when the Sages heard the decree that ten of their number were to be killed as atonement for the sin of Yosef's brothers it was R' Yishmael who ascended to Heaven to hear whether this was decreed from on High.

18th Sivan - R' Yerucham Levovitz

Today is the Yarzheit of the 'mashgiach' of Mir. R' Yerucham is possibly the most famous mashgiach.
I remember that R' Wolbe once said that for the first few months that he was at Mir he thought the Yeshiva had a different mashgiach specially for Shabbos. It was only after some time that he realised that R' Yerucham looked and acted so different on Shabbos (because of the Mitzvah to dress and behave differently, and because of the extra kedusha) that he looked like a different person.

This is Wikipedia's entry on the great man

Yeruchom Levovitz
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Rabbi Yeruchom Levovitz (ca. 1874-1936), or "The Mashgiach" as he was fondly referred to by his hundreds of students, was a famous mashgiach ruchani and Baal Mussar (ethicist) at the Mir yeshiva.

16th Sivan - R; Gedaliah Nadel

This Shabbat was the 3rd Yarzheit of one of the most exciting and radical Rabbis that you have never heard of. Rabbi Gedaliah Nadel was probably the closest student of the Chazon Ish, and was asked by the Chazon Ish to become the Rav of the neighbourhood. You have never heard of him because the B'nei Brak crowd decided that his thinking was heretical, and banned the only book of his material, before it was even published. The rumours have it that he was slightly off his rocker, but in fact it is more likely that this is historical revisionism (in his own lifetime) than actual fact.
This is what the Jerusalem Post has to say about him:

It is uncommon for the People of the Book to ban books - but that is precisely what three prominent rabbis of Bnei Brak have done. The ban was especially surprising considering who was responsible for the ideas in the banned book.


l'ilui nishmat R' Avraham ben Yona Ya'akov


“In the wilderness, in the plain” (1: 1)
Rashi explains (in the beginning of this verse) that these are the places that Israel angered G-d. Out of respect for Israel he didn’t list the sins themselves, but hinted to them by mentioning the place names where they occurred.

This seems difficult. In the continuation of the book of Devarim Moshe lists all the sins explicitly with all the details. for example in parshat Ekev (9: 7) “Remember how you angered G-d and made for yourselves a golden calf” It also says there “You would anger G-d”. In our parsha it states “Remember the incident of the spies”. Moshe wasn’t concerned in those cases about their honour.

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