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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').
At one time Gunzberg was Rabbi in Pinsk, and then later founded a yeshivah in Minsk. Here however he engaged in hostile dispute with the Gaon Yechiel Halpern, whose supporters eventually drove Gunzberg from the city.
His book ‘Shaagat Aryeh’ was first published in Frankfurt-am-Main in 1755 and is still frequently quoted in rabbinical debate, as are many of his responsa.
He became Rabbi in Metz in 1765, but an early argument with his congregation led to him refusing to enter the synagogue except to give four sermons a year. Despite this he retained his post until his demise.
Rabbi Aryeh Leib (The author of “Shaagat Aryeh”) lectured in the Beis Midrash of Minsk. He expounded deep thoughts, and uprooted mountains with his sharp reasoning. The scholars of the city who were present could not understand the depth of his rhetoric. When he finished his lecture, the heads of the community and scholars approached him to wish him “Yasher Koach” .
He told them, “What is said of the wise men of Minsk is greater than what is said about the angels of Heaven”.
The listeners were surprised.
Rabbi Aryeh Leib told them: “Is it not said about the angels of Heaven (Ezekiel 1, 7), and their feet are like the feet of a calf, but as for you, your heads are also the heads of calves…”
The Sha’agas Aryeh (R’ Aryeh Leib Ginsberg) was seventy years old when he was appointed Rav of Metz. Upon arriving in Metz, he heard that there were members of the community grumbling over the selection of such an elderly rabbi. “We should have appointed a younger Rabbi, one who will remain at the helm of our community for many years,” they said.
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