I received two emails for the 132nd Yahrzeit of Rav Hirsch z’l. Now simple math would tell you that from 1888 until 2021 is 133 years. I almost was going to email both parties (Agudas Yisroel and Rabbi Eiseman in Passaic) about this miscalculation.
Luckily, I reached out to Reb Sidney Yisroel S. about this first. His response:
” The KAJN letter of which I am one of the proofreaders also said 132. 132 is correct. He was niftar on the 2nd 27 of Teves of 1888 (the one in 5649 not 5648). Note that 1889 had no 27th of Teves. 5781 minus 5649 = 132.”
I.e. The year 1888 had two 27th of Teveth in it. The first in January 1888. The second in December. It was a very early year that year- with part of Chanukah in November. Looking on Hebcal, I find that Rav Hirsch passed away on December 31st of 1888.
This corroborates a well-known story (I found it in Professor Leo Levi’s article in Jewish Action magazine. It does not appear in E.M. Klugmann’s book as far as I can see) quoted below from that article:
“He had many opponents, some of them quite virulent; but no one ever challenged his absolute integrity. On the first day of each quarter, his congregation paid his salary for that quarter. When he started feeling weak in his old age, he instructed his family that when he died they should return the overpayment for the remainder of the quarter. Perhaps it is more than a coincidence that Rabbi Hirsch passed away on December 31, 1888, the last day of the quarter.”
Below is a description of Rav Hirsch’s levaya from of Hermann Schwab’s “History of Orthodox Jewry in Germany” pg. 90:
“On the 27th of Teveth 5649(December 31st, 1888) Samson Raphael Hirsch passed away. On the following day the present writer and his classmates were standing in a vast crowd before Hirsch’s house. They, the preparatory class at the grammar school of the Religiongesellschaft, were to take their places immediately behind the sons and the relatives. Before the carriage were to walk the senior pupils, carrying Hirsch’s works in their hands- “Thy righteousness shall go before thee, the glory of the L-rd shall be thy reward”.
The writer goes on to frame Rav Hirsch as a lover of peace, one who longed for peace, were it not for the need to save his people. He writes further:
“And if the community which he founded in Frankfort and all the others built on its model have disappeared, and his literary legacy too is in danger of being lost to the world (published in 1950 ed.) the interpretation of Judaism which he gave to 19th century Germany is still a spiritualising force. Like a ray of light it travels over the earth and no one can detect it or divine its goal. But whoever crosses its path is shown the greatness of Judaism- “even one is enough, Israel’s cause is not lost.”