This Day in History – 11 Nisan/April 16

Apollo 16 launches from the Kennedy Space Center on April 16, 1972

11 Nisan

In 2449, the Nasi of the tribe of Naftali, Achira Ben Einan, brought his Korban.

In 2488, at Yehoshua’s behest, all the Yidden who crossed the Yarden performed bris milah.

In 3413, Ezra Hasofer and his followers departed from the Eihu River on their way to Yerushalayim.

In 5424/1664, a massive gathering of the Va’ad Arba Aratzos was held in Lublin. Rabbanim of the four major Eastern Europe countries convened to strengthen vital Yiddishkeit issues.


5030/1270, Rabbeinu Moshe ben Nachman (Ramban), zt”l

5599/1839, Harav Shlomo Zalman Lipshitz, zt”l, the Chemdas Shlomo

5634/1874, Harav Betzalel Hakohen of Vilna, zt”l, mechaber of Reishis Bikkurim and Mar’eh Kohen.


Harav Yeshaya Halevi Horowitz, The Shelah Hakadosh, Zy”a

The Shelah Hakadosh was born in Prague around 5320/1560. His father, Harav Avraham Halevi, was a Dayan in Prague, Krakow and Lemberg. The illustrious Horowitz dynasty, known for its exceptional yichus, could be traced back to Shmuel Hanavi.

The Shelah Hakadosh married Rebbetzin Chaya, daughter of Rabbi Avrohom Moyal, one of the prominent members of the Vienna kehillah.

Over the years, the Shelah was Rav in various communities: In 5366/1606, he took over the Rabbanus of Frankfurt, leading this prestigious kehillah and establishing a thriving yeshivah until the Yidden were expelled from the city on 27 Elul 5374/1614.

While in Frankfurt, he served as a pillar of the Vaad Arba Aratzos, and a member of its governing board. When the Shelah was exiled from Frankfurt together with his flock he returned to Prague, where he was appointed Dayan in 5375/1615.

His Rebbetzin was niftar on 4 Adar 5380/1620. At that time the Shelah Hakadosh decided to move to Eretz Yisrael. He settled in Yerushalayim and was appointed Chief Rabbi of Eretz Yisrael.

Seeing the poverty of Yidden there, the Shelah sent messengers throughout the golah, particularly to the communities where he had served as Rav, initiating a tzedakah campaign that he called “Yachatz” — a Hebrew acronym for the three cities of Yerushalayim, Chevron and Tzefas. Later, he himself traveled back to Europe to raise funds.

The Shelah was niftar on 11 Nisan 5390/1630 and is buried in Teveria, close to the kever of Rabi Yochanan ben Zakkai. In his will he wrote that no hespeidim should be said over him.

His holy sefarim, which he completed in Eretz Yisrael, were accepted and beloved by Jews the world over, which is shown by the number of times his great sefer, Shnei Luchos Habris, had to be reprinted.

He penned a famous siddur, Shaar Hashamayim. In his haskamah, the Bach wrote, “I guarantee that whoever davens from this siddur will have his tefillah accepted.” In addition, the Shelah Hakadosh authored Sheimos Hagittin, Mitzvas Tefillin and Bigdei Yesha.

The Shelah is one of three tzaddikim — along with the Alshich and the Ohr Hachaim — who are known by the title “Hakadosh.”

Zechuso yagen aleinu.

April 16

In 1789, President-elect George Washington left Mount Vernon, Virginia, for his inauguration in New York.

In 1862, during the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln signed a bill ending slavery in the District of Columbia. The Confederacy conscripted all white men between the ages of 18 to 35.

In 1922, the Soviet Union and Germany signed the Treaty of Rapallo, under which Germany recognized the Soviet Union and diplomatic and trade relations were restored.

In 1972, Apollo 16 blasted off on a voyage to the moon with astronauts John W. Young, Charles M. Duke Jr. and Ken Mattingly on board.

In 2003, the Bush administration lowered the terror alert level from orange to yellow, saying the end of heavy fighting in Iraq had diminished the threat of terrorism in the United States.