This Day in History – 1 Iyar/May 1

In 2449/1312 B.C.E., the incident of the Mekoshesh Eitzim, in which one of Bnei Yisrael was mechallel Shabbos in the Midbar, occurred.

In 2450/1311 B.C.E., Hashem ordered Moshe Rabbeinu to count Bnei Yisrael.

In 2929/832 B.C.E., Shlomo Hamelech began the construction of the first Beis Hamikdash. Construction began on this date for the second Beis Hamikdash as well.



5306/1546, Rabbeinu Yaakov Beirav, zt”l, known for his attempt to reintroduce the concept of semichah.

5460/1700, Harav Yosef Yuska, zt”l, Rav of Minsk and mechaber of Yesod Yosef and Ne’imah Kedoshah

5478/1718, Harav Tzvi Hersh Ashkenazi, zt”l, the Chacham Tzvi

5538/1778, Harav Shmuel Shmelke Horowitz, zt”l, the Rebbe Reb Shmelke of Nikolsburg

5548/1788, Harav Menachem Mendel of Vitebsk, zt”l

5598/1838, Harav Yechezkel, zt”l, mechaber of Toras Yechezkel

5682/1922, Harav Akiva Yosef Schlesinger, zt”l, mechaber of Lev Ha’ivri

5693/1933, Harav Avraham Weinberg (the second), the Beis Avraham of Slonim, zt”l


Harav Moshe Shmuel Shapira, zt”l, Rosh Yeshivah Be’er Yaakov

Harav Moshe Shmuel Shapira was born on 19 Av 5677/1917. His father, Harav Aryeh Shapira, was the Rav of Bialystok, where the young Moshe Shmuel learned in the city’s yeshivah ketanah.

Young Moshe Shmuel’s aspirations in Torah knew no bounds, and immediately after Sukkos in the year 5693/1932, he “exiled” himself to Baranovitch, where he heard shiurim from Harav Elchanan Wasserman, Hy”d, and was considered the most outstanding in his breadth of knowledge, diligence in study, and exemplary behavior.

In the summer of 1936, Reb Moshe Shmuel traveled to learn in the Mir. In Mir, he learned with Harav Aryeh Leib Malin.

When he reached the age of eligibility for the military draft, Reb Moshe Shmuel made great efforts to procure an exemption, but was eventually left with no option but to flee the country. This was the guiding hand of Hashgachah, which rescued him from the Holocaust.

On Erev Rosh Hashanah 5698/1937, Reb Moshe Shmuel reached Eretz Yisrael and began learning in the Lomza Yeshivah in Petach Tikva, headed by Harav Yechiel Michel Gordon, zt”l, and Harav Reuven Katz, zt”l.

While Reb Moshe Shmuel was learning at the Lomza Yeshivah, Harav Eliezer Menachem Shach,  zt”l, who went on to become Rosh Yeshivah of Ponevezh, was appointed maggid shiur in the yeshivah, and Reb Moshe Shmuel and Harav Shmuel Rozovsky, zt”l, were asked to deliver shiurim once a week. As a result, many students in the yeshivah at this time, such as Harav Chaim Kanievsky,  shlita, and, lhbc”l, Harav Yissachar Meir and Harav Chaim Sarna, zt”l, considered themselves talmidim of Rav Shapira.

In the winter of 5704/1944, Reb Moshe Shmuel went to Yerushalayim to learn under his cousin, Harav Yitzchak Ze’ev Soloveitchik, zt”l, of Brisk. Many of the Brisker Rav’s printed chiddushim on Kodshim come from Reb Moshe Shmuel’s notes.

In 5706/1946, Reb Moshe Shmuel married the daughter of Harav Aharon Weinstein, author of Darkei Aharon and Rosh Yeshivas Beis Yosef (in Mezeritch and later in Tel Aviv). Later, Reb Moshe Shmuel learned for one year in the kollel of the Chazon Ish.

Afterward, Reb Moshe Shmuel learned in Kollel Slabodka, Bnei Brak. From there, he was asked to serve as a R”M in Yeshivas Kol Torah in Yerushalayim. During this period, he was given semichah by Harav Isser Zalman Meltzer, zt”l.

In 5709/1949, he was sent, with the encouragement of the Chazon Ish and the Brisker Rav, to set up a yeshivah in the distant town of Be’er Yaakov together with Harav Shlomo Wolbe.

In 5723/1963, Reb Moshe Shmuel published the first part of his work, Kuntras Habiurim.

His talmidim felt Reb Moshe Shmuel was like a father to them.

In his later years, Reb Moshe Shmuel was greatly weakened. He was niftar on 1 Iyar 5766/2006, at the age of 89, and was buried in Bnei Brak, near the kever of Rav Shach.

Zecher tzaddik livrachah.


May 1

In 1707, the Kingdom of Great Britain was created as a treaty merging England and Scotland took effect.

In 1898, Commodore George Dewey gave the command, “You may fire when you are ready, Gridley,” as an American naval force destroyed a Spanish squadron in Manila Bay during the Spanish-American War.

In 1931, New York’s 102-story Empire State Building was dedicated.

In 1960, the Soviet Union shot down an American U-2 reconnaissance plane over Sverdlovsk and captured its pilot, Francis Gary Powers.

In 1961, the first U.S. airline hijacking took place as Antulio Ramirez Ortiz, a Miami electrician, commandeered a National Airlines plane that was en route to Key West, Fla., and forced the pilot to fly to Cuba.

In 1963, James W. Whittaker became the first American to conquer Mount Everest as he and Sherpa guide Nawang Gombu reached the summit.

In 1964, the computer programming language BASIC (Beginner’s All-Purpose Symbolic Instruction Code) was created by Dartmouth College professors John G. Kemeny and Thomas E. Kurtz.

In 1971, the intercity passenger rail service Amtrak went into operation.

In 1982, the World’s Fair in Knoxville, Tenn., was opened by President Ronald Reagan.

In 1992, on the third day of the Los Angeles riots, a visibly shaken Rodney King appeared in public to appeal for calm, pleading, “Can we all get along?”