This Day in History – 10 Teves/January 1

In 3336/426 B.C.E., Nevuchadnetzar, the Babylonian emperor, began the siege of Yerushalayim. Thirty months later, on 9 Tammuz 3338/423 B.C.E. (the 17th day of Tammuz was designated to commemorate this event), the city walls were breached, and on 9 Av of that year, the first Beis Hamikdash was destroyed.

In 5701/1941, 3,000 Jews were killed in riots in Bucharest, Romania. Hy”d.



3442/320 B.C.E., Zechariah and Malachi Hanevi’im (some say 3448/313 B.C.E.). According to the Midrash, Malachi is the same person as Ezra Hasofer. (See yesterday’s essay on Ezra.) Their petirah marked the end of the era of prophecy.

5371/1610, Harav Yehudah Eilenberg, zt”l, mechaber of Minchas Yehudah

5605/1844, Harav Nosson Sternberg of Breslav, zt”l, mechaber of Likutei Halachos

5664/1903, Harav Noach of Hordishitz, zt”l

5750/1990, Harav Avraham Abba Leifer, zt”l, the Pittsburgher Rebbe of Ashdod


5662/1901, Harav Meir Shalom Rabinowitz Of Kalushin, zt”l

Reb Meir Shalom was born in 5611/1851. His father was Harav Yehoshua Asher of Zhelichov, the son of the Yehudi Hakadosh of Peshischa. He became a son-in-law of his older brother, Harav Yaakov Tzvi of Porisov, mechaber of Atarah l’Rosh Tzaddik.

Reb Meir Shalom, whose lineage was esteemed, reached great heights in avodas Hashem. He learned and absorbed Chassidus under the tutelage of his brother/father-in-law, under Reb Yitzchak of Neshchiz, and under Reb Yechezkel Shraga of Shinova.

As a Rav he was accorded the utmost honor and respect. He served as Rav in the kehillos of Porisov, Gravlin and Kalushin, the town with which his name became associated.

With the petirah of his brother/father-in-law in 5649/1889, Reb Meir Shalom assumed his post and became Rebbe of the Chassidim. He led the eidah hakedoshah, thus continuing the unbroken chain of his ancestors.

Reb Meir Shalom’s humility was outstanding. When he was accepted as Rav in Kalushin, the town arranged a great reception in his honor. He later commented, “I did not feel the honor at all. It meant so little to me that I did not have to break my heart in order not to become haughty.”

He is credited with many intricate Torah thoughts and insights into Chassidus. In the introduction to Nahar Shalom, his son and successor, Reb Yehoshua Asher, describes at great length the elaborate divrei Torah he heard from his holy father, little of which was printed.

Reb Meir Shalom was niftar on Erev Shabbos, Asarah B’Teves 5662, before lichtbentchen. Immediately before his petirah he recited a passuk from the weekly parashah, “Velo yachol Yosef le’hisapek” — and Yosef could not contain himself any longer,” after which his holy neshamah departed.

Zechuso yagen aleinu.


Jan. 1

In 1515, Louis XII, King of France, died; he was succeeded by Francis I.

In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, declaring that slaves in rebel states shall be “forever free.”

In 1913, the U.S. Parcel Post system went into operation.

In 1935, The Associated Press inaugurated Wirephoto, the first successful service for transmitting photographs by wire to member newspapers.

In 1959, Fidel Castro and his revolutionaries overthrew Cuban leader Fulgencio Batista, who fled to the Dominican Republic.

In 1975, a jury in Washington found Nixon administration officials John N. Mitchell, H.R. Haldeman, John D. Ehrlichman and Robert C. Mardian guilty of charges related to the Watergate cover-up; a fifth defendant, Kenneth Parkinson, was acquitted, and Mardian’s conviction for conspiracy was later overturned on appeal.

In 1984, the breakup of AT&T took place as the telecommunications giant was divested of its 22 Bell System companies under terms of an antitrust agreement.

In 1995, the World Trade Organization (WTO) came into being, replacing the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). Sweden, Finland and Austria joined the European Union. Fernando Henrique Cardoso took office as Brazil’s president.