Thanks to Phil Chernofsky of the OU/NCSY Israel Center for Including
This Material in His Remarkable Torah
Tidbits, based on the book Day by Day in Jewish History by Rabbi
Abraham P. Bloch z''l
This Day in Jewish
Beginning of the Plague of Darkness.
Yahrzeit of Ibn Ezra, 1164.
Private Purim of Rabbi Yom Tov Lipmann Heller, Rav
of Cracow, 1643.
Yahrzeit of the "Shakh" (major commentator of the
Shulchan Aruch), 1662.
Yahrzeit of Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Shklov, 1827. (He
was the leader of the Aliya of the followers of the
Vilna Gaon to Eretz
This is significant because of the many Minhagei Yerushalayim that were
established by that Ashkenazi community).
Byzantine Emperor Justinian ordered
the public reading of the Greek translation to Parshat Hashavuah on Shabbat
morning and prohibited Rabbis from giving drashot on the Torah portion, 553.
Nazis confiscated all books and Torah scrolls of the Kovno ghetto, 1942.
- Anti-Jewish riots in Cracow, 1682.
- Greek Jews
from Solonika transported to Nazi extermination camps, 1943. (of 50,000 Jews in
Solonika, only 1,200 survived the Holocaust.)
- Knesset bill defining a Jew as one
born to a Jewish mother or one converted to Judaism, 1970. (30 years later,
there are still fights over the definition.)
The body of Rabbi Meir of Rothenburg
was released for burial, 1307, 14 years after his death.
Jews of Rome declared
free citizens by the French army, 1798.
- 9 more days (that's 8 more hamantashen-baking
days) to Purim (make that 10 days, in Jerusalem).
Moshe Rabeinu completed his review
of the Torah and was told by G-d that his death was coming near. R. Shmuel b.
Natronai, one of the Baalei Tosefot, was tortured and martyred , 1197.
printed edition of the whole Chumash with Onkelos and
Rashi was published in Bologna,
1482 (same day as Moshe finished teaching it).
Expulsion of the Jews of the Free
City of Lubeck, Germany, 1816, 117 years (almost to the day) after they were
expelled the first time.
Birthday and Yahrzeit of Moshe
Rabeinu a"h (therefore, the day is used by Chevra Kadisha as a fast
Jews expelled from Austria, 1670.
All copies of the Talmud were seized from the Jews of France, 1240.
This led to the decline of Rabbinic scholarship in France. First burning at
the stake of the Inquisition, 1481.
Jews of Barbados were granted
permission to take an oath on the Old Testament, 1674. This was a first for the
New World. 151 years later, also on 8 Adar, Jews of Maryland were allowed to
take a non-Christian oath. A declaration of belief in Reward and Punishment in
the World to Come was part of their oath.
Yahrzeit of Levi Eshkol, 1969.
Yeshiva Etz Chaim, the first elementary school
with secular studies in the U.S., established 1886.
Massacre of the Jews of Freiburg,
Germany, 1349, in the Black Death riots.
Jews of the Austrian Empire were
granted equal civil and political rights, 1849. (Expelled, given equal rights,
Nazi sympathizer partner in the government - some of the ups and downs of Jewish
life in galut.)
Pope prohibits anti-Jewish sermons,
First printing of Rashi on Torah, Italy, 1475. (This first printing of
Rashi was without the text of the Torah. Subsequent printing - for the next 500
years and counting - were done the way we are familiar with.)
First printing of
the whole Tanach, 1488.
Yahrzeit of the Chida, 1806.
- King Agrippa I began the construction of a
gate for the wall of Jerusalem, 42 c.e. The day was designated a holiday.
- Jews were excluded from public offices and
dignities in the Roman Empire, 418.
- Jews of New Amsterdam were denied the right to
erect a synagogue, 1656. (It seems that the Pilgrims' idea of religious
freedom did not include Jews and other non-Christians.)
- The ghetto pillars of Ferrara, Italy, were
destroyed by the professors and students of the Athenaeum, 1848.
- Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary, the
first Orthodox Jewish rabbinical seminary in the United States, was
- The Bulgarian commissar for Jewish affairs,
Alexander Belev, signed an agreement permitting Germany to deport 26,000
Jews to extermination camps, 1943.
- The Jewish quarter of Old Jerusalem was
besieged by Arabs, 1948.
- The Jews of the Old Quarter of Jerusalem were
cut off from the Jewish community of New Jerusalem when access to the gates
in the walls of Jerusalem was barred to them.
The restriction of the sale of Arab land to
Jews in Palestine, as stated in the MacDonald White Paper, went in effect,
Capture of Ein Gedi by Israel,
1949, brought to an end the military engagements of the War of Independence.
Choni Ha'M'agel's prayer for rain
Private Purim of the Jews of Frankfort, from 1616, in celebration
of the execution of Vincent Fettmilch.
Yahrzeit of the Ba"Ch, major
commentator on the Shulchan Aruch, 1640.
Commodore Uriah Phillips Levy, father of the
law abolishing corporal punishment in the U.S. Navy, died, 1862.
Purim of Narbonne, oldest private
Purim on record, commemorated the community's escape from a mob, 1236.
of the No'am Elimelech, 1787.
Yahrzeit of R. Isaac Elchanan
talmudic scholar, communal leader, author of responsa Be'er Yizhak, 1896. Rabbi
Spektor, Adolf Cremieux, and Sir Moses
Montefiore were the three outstanding Jewish communal leaders of the 19th
- Jews of Uberlingen, Switzerland, were
- Yahrzeit of Rabbi Yechiel Michal Epstein
HaLevi of Novogrudok, Russia, author of the Aruch haShulchan, 1908.
- The beginning of the seven-day practice period
of assembling the Mishkan.
- The Second Beit HaMikdash was dedicated, 516
Massacre of the Jews of Estella,
Yahrzeit of the Chidushei HaRim, first Gerer Rebbe, 1866.
Jews of Gluchor massacred by Ukrainian mob, 1918.
German troops marched into Prague, 1939.
YHS, NC, 5711.
- Jews of Wurtzburg were massacred by the
- The Pope issued a bull banning all social
intercourse between Christians and Jews. 1451.
- Jews of Lithuania were granted permission to
return to the country after a brief exile of 8 years, 1503.
- First organized Arab assault on a Jewish
settlement (Petach Tikva), 1886.
King of France orders the detention
for ransom of all Jews in Paris attending shul on Shabbat, 1181.
Strasbourg burned at the Jewish cemetery, 1349.
Petition circulated among
prominent Americans (not Jews) requesting U.S. government aid to reestablish a
sovereign Jewish state in Eretz Yisrael, 1891. (Imagine if it would have borne
- Jews of Carinthia, Austria, were expelled,
1496 (and not readmitted until 1848).
- U.S. President Harrison was petitioned in 1891
to aid in the reestablishment of Palestine as a sovereign Jewish state,
1891. The petition was signed, by Cyrus McCormick, J. P. Morgan, William
McKinley, John D. Rockefeller, Russel Sage, and Cardinal Gibbons, among
others. It was a spontaneous expression of American sympathy for Zionism,
totally independent of Jewish Zionist activities. The petition was motivated
by Biblical influences and by intense indignation aroused by Russian pograms.
- World Mizrachi was founded in Vilna, Russia,
- The Jewish community of Newport, R.I. bought land
for burial, 1677. (New Jewish communities always were concerned about a shul,
school, and cemetery. It seems that cemeteries often came before shuls and
schools - strange.)
- The Pope issued a bull ordering the burning of
the Talmud, 1244.
- The Jewish community of Newport, R.I.
purchased a plot of land for a burial ground, 1677.
- Operation Nahshon, Haganah's first large-scale
offensive began, 1948.
- Tzidkiyahu HaMelech, last King of Judea, died in
Babylonian captivity, 561B.C.E.
- Jews massacred in England, 1190.
- King of Austria
grants favorable rights to Jews, 1255.
- Jews were massacred by rioters in
Stamford-fair, England, 1190.
- Antiochus V granted religious freedom and
autonomy to the Jews of Eretz Yisrael, 163B.C.E. Date was celebrated as a
holiday marking the cancellation of decrees prohibiting circumcision, Torah
study and Shabbat observance.
- Jews of Prussia were granted rights, 1277.
- Purim of Cairo was observed annually in
commemoration of an escape from massacre, 1524.
- Jews of Austria were required by law to belong to
the government-established religious community in their town, 1890 (this is an
example of government interference in Jewish communal life.)
- Napoleon captured the city of Jaffa,
- The first Jewish immigrant to Israel to
disembark at the Port of Eilat, 1957.
- Only Adar Rishon (in a 13-month year, of course)
can have 30 days, in our fixed calendar.
- Headquarters of the Jewish Agency in
Jerusalem was bombed, resulting in the death of many Jews, 1948.
This Day in Jewish