Divrei Shmuel: Yitro
The 19th of Shevat is the Yahrtzeit of Rav Shmuel Weinberg of Slonim, the Divrei Shmuel (1916). Grandson of Rav Avraham of Slonim, the Yesod HaAvodah. He was succeeded by his sons, Rav Yissochor Leib and Rav Avraham, the Beis Avraham.
“And Yitro heard.” Yitro “heard” from all the events of the exodus and the miracles that followed that a person cannot fulfill his purpose in the world without direction from God.
Wisdom refers to that which a person learns from his Rebbi. Binah, or perception, refers to what a person can figure out on his own. Yitro had figured out on his own that God exists, and believed that he did not need a Rebbi, Moshe, to teach him.
However, once he saw that Amalek attacked Israel even when they were so protected and blessed by God, he understood that a person cannot only rely on what he can figure out on his own, his Binah. Otherwise, Amalek would never have attacked. It is too easy for a person to believe that he has figured out everything for himself and fool himself. He therefore, immediately ran to Moshe, in order to accept him as his Rebbi, and receive true Chochmah, or wisdom.
The 19th is also the Yahrtzeit of:
Rav Binyamin Zev Shapiro of Prague (1718)
Rav Yitzchak Baruch Sofer, father of the Kaf Hachaim (1905)
Rav Shimon Greenfeld of Somihali (Szemihaly), the Maharshag (1930), a student of the Maharam Shick. His nephew and talmid, Rav Shmaya, was 1st Rav of the Satmar Kehilla in Montreal.
Rav Elimelech Menachem Landau, first Admor of Strikov (1936). During his time, 150 botei medrash of Strikover chassidim were scattered throughout Poland. After his petirah, he was replaced by his son, Rav Yaakov Yitzchak Dan, the rav of Kinov, who led the group until he perished al kiddush Hashem in 1944.
Rav Shmuel Carlebach (1927-1999). Educational director of the Bnei Brak Or Hachaim Seminary and the Beis Yaakov Seminary of Ashdod. Born in Frankfort, Germany. He was sent to Belgium during the War. In 1939, the Carlebach family settled in Tel Aviv. Reb Shmuel merited to be one of the first students of Yeshivas Kol Torah under Rav Yechiel Michel Schlesinger, its founder. In 1946, he learned at Ponovezh and became close to Rav Abba Grossbard and Rav Eliyahu Dessler. After his marriage in 1951, he continued his studies at the Ponovezh Kollel In 1954, Rav Wolf asked him to direct the Or Hachaim Seminary for girls. He headed this institution for thirty years. In1985, he was appointed head of the Seminar Avos of the Ponovezh Institutions of Ashdod, and the educational director of Be’er Miriam in Bnei Brak, and remained in those capacities until his final day.
Rav Hershel Mashinsky, co-founder of Kupath Ezrah of Rockland County. He began teaching at Yeshiva of Spring Valley in 1947, then after marrying Malka leah Felsenburg and moving to Monsey, at the Talmud Torah and Mesivta Ohr Reuven. (1925-2004)