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
Three leaders of Babylonian Jewry
were arrested by Persian officials, 468, sparking a wave of persecution of the
Jews of Babylonia.
Supposed liberties granted Russian Jews by the Czar in 1804,
actually spelled economic ruin for much of the Jewish community.
government decreed that Jewish services must be conducted in strict adherence to
Jewish Tradition, 1823. The decree was "solicited" by the Traditional
Jewish community in order to fight against the new Reform movement. Ultimately,
however, we suffer much more harm from governmental intervention than good.
First translation of the Torah into
a foreign language (Greek). Considered a tragic event; ancient fast day.
Eichmann sentenced to death, 1961.
Yahrzeit of Ezra Hasofer and Nechemia. Ancient fast day.
Yahrzeit of Rabbi Ezra HaNavi, Tosafist, Kabbalist,
Teacher of the Ramban, 1227.
B'Tevet, one of the four
commemorative fasts mentioned by Zecharia
Beginning of the siege around
Jerusalem, 588 b.c.e.
Yirmiyahu bought a field and prophesied that we will once
again buy homes and land in Eretz Yisrael, 587 b.c.e.
Yahrzeits of Zecharia and
King Herod captured Jerusalem,37 b.c.e.
3,000 Jews killed in Bucharest
Memorial day for the six million Jews killed by the Nazis.
Yechezkial prophesied the downfall
of Egypt and the triumph of Bavel, 587 b.c.e.
A violent earthquake rocked Eretz
Yisrael seriously damaging the walls of Jerusalem and Tower of David, 1033.
Another Mordechai and Esther (of Medzibezh) saved the Jews from Chmielnicki's
First issue of the Hebrew printing
press of Amsterdam (the Siddur), 1627.
Rumanian Jews were excluded from the
medical profession, 1868.
Jews of Laibach, Austria expelled,
Window Purim. celebrated by the S'fardic community of Hebron.
of Israel reached three million, 1971.
First printed edition of Sefer
Mitzvot Gadol, Soncino, Italy, 1488. [Day-by-Day includes many similar items for
various dates. The early printing of Judaica is noteworthy for its significance
in the transmission of Torah throughout the generations. Imagine how many more
Jews had access to Jewish books since the advent of printing. Especially in
contrast to the commemoration of the tragic event of the translation of the
Torah into Greek on 8 Tevet, these "anniversaries" of the
"healthy spread of Torah" are all the more special.]
Emperor Joseph II of Austria
issued an Edict of Toleration in 1782 which repealed most restrictions on Jews
that had been imposed by the Church. [Nice? No! The intention of the edict was
not the emancipation of the Jews but their assimilation. Similarly, Napoleon's
efforts had similar motives. On the other hand, the emancipation of the Jews in
England and Holland beginning in the 17th century, stemmed from liberal policies
rather than anti-Jewish prejudices and hopes of assimilating and converting
Jews. Ironically, the former type of motivation was often successfully fought by
Jews who saw what was behind the easing of restrictions against Jews. The latter
type of removal of restrictions often led to an increase of assimilation.]
The organization of the Jewish
community of Rome was approved by the pope, 1524.
Frederick William of
Brandenburg issued a decree safeguarding the privileges of the Jews of Berlin,
1676. [Thank you, I guess, but we must realize that outside of Eretz Yisrael -
and inside, for that matter, when Israel is under foreign rule - the "state
of Jewish Life" was very often subject to the whim, mood, caprice or plan
of rulers who didi not often have our best interests in mind.]
The yahrzeit of
the Dubno Maggid, 1804.
Rabbi Huna Mori bar Mar Zutra, the
head of Babylonian Jewry, and Mesharshya b. Pekuda were executed in Pumpedita,
Two ships with "illegal" immigrants were taken by the British
to Cyprus, 1947.
Two years later - to the day - the British announced their
intention to release the Cyprus internees.
795th yahrzeit of the Rambam
(1204). On his 279th yahrzeit in 1483, the first printed edition of Gemara
Brachot was published in Soncino, Italy. It contained Rambam's commentary on Mishna.
The Jewish community of Ancona, Italy miraculously escaped unharmed from
an earthquake, 1690. They declared a fast day in commemoration.
prohibited Jews from congregating in shuls and private homes for prayer, 1940.
So too, did they forbid Jews from changing residences - this, a precursor of the
Birthday of Shimon, son of Yaakov
Purim Ancona, followed the fast day mentioned above, for the 20
Anti-Jewish riots in Ancona,
Italy, 1798 (day after the "local" Purim which had been celebrated
Roman mobs attempted to set fire to the ghetto and to sack it, 1798
(Why should Anconians be the only ones to attack Jews?)
A fire which started in the home
of the rabbi of Frankfort-on-the-Main nearly destroyed the whole Jewish ghetto,
Yahrzeit of Nathan Straus, for whom the city of Netanya and the
Center's street are both named, 1931.
Purim of Sherif celebrated by the
Jews of Tripoli, from 1745.
Yahrzeit of Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Lyady, the Baal HaTanya, founder of
Anti-Jewish riots in different
parts of Austria, 1312.
First critical edition of Chovot HaLevavot published in
Italy, 1559. (Next time you buy a sefer, such as Chovot
HaLevavot, or anything
older, realize that Jews have been buying them for about 500 years - but not
more than that, in print, that is.)
Yahrzeit of Rabbi Shimshon Raphael
Hirsch, 1888. [Rabbi Bloch z"l includes an anecdote in this entry,
something he hardly ever does. SRH was paid a salary by his community for three
months at a time, in advance. He instructed his family that they were to return
a prorated amount to the community for the remainder of the three month period
during which he would die. His family was spared the effort, however, for he
died precisely at the end of the three-month period.]
R. Shimon b. Shetach ridded the
Sanhedrin of its Tzadoki members. The day was subsequently celebrated as a
Jews of Switzerland were granted civic equality, 1866, upon pressure
exerted by the United States which had interceded on behalf of American Jewish
Earliest authorization for the
establishment of a university, including medical and law studies, under Jewish
auspices granted, Sicily, 1466. (It never happened because the Jews of Sicily
were expelled some years later.)
Recife, Brazil conquered by Portugal, ending
the legal existence of the prosperous Jewish community there, 1654.
Tripoli, celebrating the downfall of the Burgel Pasha, 1793.
This Day in Jewish