February 5, 2014

[1 Adar]

  • 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 Yisrael. This is significant because of the many Minhagei Yerushalayim that were established by that Ashkenazi community).

[2 Adar]

  • 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.)

[3 Adar]

  • Building of the second Beit HaMikdash was completed, 515 bce.

[4 Adar]

  • 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.

[5 Adar]

  • 9 more days (that’s 8 more hamantashen-baking days) to Purim(make that 10 days, in Jerusalem).
  • [6 Adar]
  • 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.
  • The first printed edition of the whole Chumash with Onkelos andRashi 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.

[7 Adar]

  • Birthday and Yahrzeit of Moshe Rabeinu a”h (therefore, the day is used by Chevra Kadisha as a fast day).
  • 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.

[8 Adar]

  • 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.

[9 Adar]

  • Traditional date of the first dispute between Beit Hillel and Beit Shammai. Observed as a fast day in the past.

[10 Adar]

  • 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.)

[11 Adar]

  • Pope prohibits anti-Jewish sermons, 1434.
  • 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.

[16 Adar]

  • 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 incorporated, 1897.

[17 Adar]

  • 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.

[18 Adar]

  • Jews of Smyrna, Turkey were attacked by Greeks charging the Jews with ritual murder, 1901.
  • The Pope reaffirmed a Church rule forcing Christianity upon a Jewish child who was baptized against the will of his parents and in violation of canonical law, 1747. [It takes a lot of apologizing for all of these historical tidbits, doesn’t it?
  • David Emmanuel, the first Jewish governor in the United States, was sworn in as governor of Georgia, 1801. [Adar 18 is the anniversary of three important “firsts” in American Jewish history: the swearing in of the first Jewish governor; the publication of the first Anglo-Jewish periodical, 1823, with the “politically impolite” name, The Jew; and the Yahrzeit of the first Jew in the Foreign Service.
  • Napoleon I issued a decree suspending for a decade the emancipation of Jews in the French-occupied European countries, 1808.
  • A Russian imperial decree ordering the expulsion of all Jewish artisans, brewers, and distillers from Moscow, 1891.

[19 Adar]

  • The restriction of the sale of Arab land to Jews in Palestine, as stated in the MacDonald White Paper, went in effect, 1940.
  • Capture of Ein Gedi by Israel, 1949, brought to an end the military engagements of the War of Independence.

[20 Adar]

  • Choni Ha’M’agel’s prayer for rain was answered.
  • 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.

[21 Adar]

  • Purim of Narbonne, oldest private Purim on record, commemorated the community’s escape from a mob, 1236.
  • Yahrzeit of the No’am Elimelech, 1787.
  • Yahrzeit of R. Isaac Elchanan Spektor, 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 century.

[22 Adar]

  • Jews of Uberlingen, Switzerland, were massacred, 1349.
  • Yahrzeit of Rabbi Yechiel Michal Epstein HaLevi of Novogrudok, Russia, author of the Aruch haShulchan, 1908.

[23 Adar]

  • The beginning of the seven-day practice period of assembling theMishkan.
  • The Second Beit HaMikdash was dedicated, 516 B.C.E.
  • Massacre of the Jews of Estella, Spain, 1328.
  • Yahrzeit of the Chidushei HaRim, first Gerer Rebbe, 1866.


[24 Adar]

  • Jews of Gluchor massacred by Ukrainian mob, 1918.
  • German troops marched into Prague, 1939.
  • Germany occupied Hungary, 1944.
  • YHS, NC, 5711.
  • Jews of Wurtzburg were massacred by the Crusaders, 1147.
  • 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.

[25 Adar]

  • King of France orders the detention for ransom of all Jews in Paris attending shul on Shabbat, 1181.
  • Jews of 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 fruit!)
  • 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, 1902.

[26 Adar]

  • 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.

[27 Adar]

  • 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.

[28 Adar]

  • 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.

[29 Adar]

  • 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, Palestine, 1799.

[30 Adar]

  • 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.