This Day In History 5 Nisan/March 21

5 Nisan

In 2449/1312 B.C.E., the Nasi of Shevet Shimon, Shelumiel ben Tzurishadai, brought his korban.

In 5702/1942, 2500 Jews of Lublin were killed al kiddush Hashem and the rest were deported


5662/1902, Harav Shneur Zalman of Lublin, zt”l, mechaber of Toras Chessed

5670/1910, Harav Malkiel Tzvi of Lomza, zt”l, mechaber of Divrei Malkiel

5684/1924, Harav Tzvi Elimelech Shapiro, zy”a, the Tzvi Latzaddik of Bluzhov

5750/1990, Harav Reuven Yosef Gershonowitz, zt”l, Rosh Yeshivah of Yeshivas Hanegev.

5585/1825, Harav Avraham Yehoshua Heschel, Zy”a, the Ohev Yisrael of Apta

Harav Avraham Yehoshua Heschel of Apta was born in 5508/1748 in Zhmigrod, to Harav Shmuel.

Rav Avraham Yehoshua Heschel was brought to the Rebbe Reb Elimelech of Lizhensk, zy”a, by Harav Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev, zy”a, and Harav Moshe Leib of Sassov, zy”a. He became one of the Noam Elimelech’s prime talmidim, and was one of the four who inherited his spiritual virtues.

These four were the Chozeh of Lublin, zy”a, who received Rav Elimelech’s vision; the Maggid of Koshnitz, zy”a, who received his heart; Harav Mendele of Rimanov, zy”a, who received his intelligence in ruchniyus; and the Apta Rav, who received his power of speech.

While in his early 30s, Rav Avraham Yehoshua Heschel became Rav in Kolbosov. It was there that he also first began to lead Chassidim, after the petirah of his Rebbe, Rav Elimelech, in 5546/1786.

In 5560/1800, he moved to Apta and, eight years later, to Yassi, but he promised the Apta community that his name would always be associated with their town. After four years in Yassi, he became Rav in Mezhibuzh, where he remained for the rest of his life.

Once, upon arriving at a certain town, the Apta Rav was met by an uneasy welcoming committee. There were two people who could host him, and they were unsure which was more suitable. One gvir was a lamdan, but was haughty, while the other gvir was a baal chessed, but people had complaints about him. The Ohev Yisrael chose the unpopular baal chessed. “Are you sure?” the committee asked.

“Yes. Hakadosh Baruch Hu does not dwell with the haughty, and if there is no room for Hashem Yisborach in a person’s house, there is surely no room for a lowly person such as me.”

The Apta Rav lived to the age of 77 and was considered the elder tzaddik of his generation. The day before his petirah, Rav Avraham Yehoshua Heschel walked through his house, taking leave of every object. He kissed each sefer and took leave of all his talmidim. He was niftar on 5 Nisan 5585/1825, and is buried near the kever of the Baal Shem Tov in Mezhibuzh, where he resided for the last 12 years of his life.

Zechuso yagen aleinu.

March 21

In 1804, the French civil code, or the “Code Napoleon” as it was later called, was adopted.

In 1918, during World War I, Germany launched its Spring Offensive on the Western Front, hoping to break through the Allied lines before American reinforcements could arrive. (Although successful at first, the Spring Offensive ultimately failed.)

In 1935, Persia officially changed its name to Iran.

In 1990, Namibia became an independent nation as the former colony marked the end of 75 years of South African rule.