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I will tell you, humanity, what is good, what God seeks from you:
Only to do justice,
Love kindness,
Walk humbly with your God.

Michah 6:8


July 25 in History

In 1656, Rabbi Menashe Ben Yisrael applied for official permission to practice Judaism in England. The Council of State granted permission. This took place during the period when Oliver Cromwell was in effect the ruler of England. Cromwell and his followers were devout Christians. The agreed to the readmission of the Jews to England because it was pointed out to them that the Second Coming could not take place until Jews populated all parts of the world.

July 26 in History

In 1629, Rabbi Yom Tov Lipmann Heller was imprisoned. Rabbi Yom Tov Lipmann Heller was born in 1579. He was the author of Tossafoth Yom Tov,a major commentary on the Mishna. While he was serving as a Rabbi in Prague, he was involved with the distribution of tax money. He was wrongfully accused by some of showing favoritism in his work. He ended up being taken to Vienna in chains. The Christian officials respected his integrity and released him. Considering that this took place during the Thirty Years War, it is surprising that Heller did not come to some barbarous end. He passed away in 1654, the same year in which the American Jewish Community began.

13 Tammuz in History

Today is the Yahrzeit of Rav Moshe Ravkash, the author of Be’er HaGolah. During the fury of the Cossacks in Vilna, most of the community did not believe that the danger was imminent, so they did not escape. A few of the great Torah scholars of that generation did, in fact, escape to freedom. Among them were the Shach, the Shaar Ephraim and the Be’er HaGolah. He spent a few years in Amsterdam until it was safe to return.

14 Tammuz in History

Today is the Yahrzeit of Rav Yaakov Halevi Ruderman, (1901-1987) Rosh Yesiva of Ner Israel, Baltimore. Born on Shushan Purim in 1901 in Dolhinov, Russia; studied in Yeshivas Knesset Yisrael in Slobodka, then headed by Rav Nosson Zvi Finkel (the Alter) and Rav Moshe Mordechai Epstein. Among his colleagues in Slobodka were Rav Reuven Grozovsky; Rav Ruderman’s first cousin, Rav Yaakov Kamenetsky; Rav Aharon Kotler; Rav Yitzchak Hutner;

In ~1926, Rav Ruderman published his only written work, Avodas Halevi.

In 1930, Rav Ruderman joined his father-in-law, Rav Sheftel Kramer, at the latter’s yeshiva in Cleveland.

In 1933, Rav Ruderman moved to Baltimore and founded the Ner Israel yeshiva, leading that yeshiva for 54 years until his passing. His death in 1987 followed less than one-and-a-half years after the passing of Rav Kaminetzky and Rav Moshe Feinstein.

Posthumously, Rav Ruderman’s students have published two volumes of his teachings: Sichos Levi contains mussar/ethical insights based on the weekly parashah, while Mas’as Levi contains lectures on the 19th century work Minchas Chinuch and other Tamudic and halachic insights.

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May 2020