Rav Moshe Isserles

I do not usually read Wikipedia, but I recently noticed in Wikipedia that Rabbi Moshe Isserles died in 1572. That is how it appears on his tombstone in Krakow. Yet, the Chida in his “Shem Ha’Gedolim” mentions 1573. We know he had two wives: Golda and Kreindel.
Wikipedia claims that his second wife was the sister of Joseph ben Mordechai Gershon Ha-Kohen. This, too, is a mistake, since the legend is that she was the daughter of Mordechai Gershon Ha-Kohen Katz. The name “Joseph” is also a mistake. This Mordechai had a son, Yosef, the author of the classic: “Shearith Yosef.” This might have caused the confusion.
His only daughter, Dreizel, who is buried next to him and died in 1602, was born from the second marriage. She was born in 1562, ten years before her father passed away (at the age of fifty-two). She was only forty years old when she died.

L’Shem Yichud

In an earlier blog, we discussed how the Jewish people pay their respects to the memory of Rav Moshe Isserles, the champion of Ashkenazi custom, every Lag B’Omer.
I recently discovered a similar (item). I was in the Belzer shtibel in Boro Park during the Omer and they counted the Omer without the beautiful chanting of “L’shem Yichud.” I was shocked. It seems that one of the Belzer Admorim instituted the custom of not saying “L’shem Yichud” on the 17th of Iyar. Why? It is the Yartzeit of Rav Yecheskel Landau, of blessed memory, the famous “Nodah B’Yehudah.” As is well-known, he was vehemently opposed to this prayer. Indeed, his student, Rabbi Eliezer Flekels, tells us that his teacher, Rabbi Landau, would not permit anyone to make a blessing over his lulav and esrog, if the person was going to recite the “L’shem Tichud” prayer. Out of respect for the opinion of the Noda B’Yehudah, Belzer chassidim do not say the prayer on 17 Iyar.

1) Cf. Noda B’Yehuda, (item), #93 for a clear and concise explanation of his position.
2) Teshuva Mai’ahava, intro.

Lag B’Omer

I had always been bothered by this holiday name. After all, when we count the Omer every day, the text of nusach Sefard is “L’Omer”: to the Omer.” Why, then, is the holiday called “Lag B’Omer”?
I had the pleasure of having Seudat Shabbat with my first cousin, the Admor of Dinov, Rabbi Yaakov Yitzchak Rabinowitz, Shilta, of Williamsburg. When I raised the issue, he told me that he had once heard, in the name of a great Rabbi, that in honor of Rav Moshe Isserles, the Rema, who was the champion of Ashkenazi custom, we say B’Omer. The reason: He died on Lag B’Omer! And this is our way of honoring his memory since he always said: “B’Omer,” the Ashkenazi custom.