This Day in History – 13 Adar II/March 23

In 3405/356 B.C.E., the Jews fasted as they battled enemies who wished to destroy them. In commemoration of their fast, a fast day is observed. According to others, the fast commemorates the three days in the month of Nissan when the Jews fasted before Esther appeared before Achashverosh.



4977/1217, Rabbeinu Yehudah HeChassid, zt”l, mechaber of Sefer HaChassidim

5328/1568, Harav Yisrael Isserles, zt”l, father of the Rema

5581/1821, Harav Betzalel Margules, zt”l, mechaber of Kesser Shabbos (Adar II)

5746/1986, Harav Moshe Feinstein, zt”l, mechaber of Igros Moshe and Dibros Moshe; Posek Hador and Rosh Yeshivah of Yeshivas Tiferes Yerushalayim (Adar II)


5555/1795, Harav Meir Ashkenazi, zt”l, Rav of Old Konstantin

Harav Meir Ashkenazi was born in approximately 5477/1717, the oldest son of Harav Yaakov Emden, the Yaavetz, son of the Chacham Tzvi, in Brodie, where his father served as Rav. His mother was the daughter of Harav Mordechai Katz, the son of Harav Naftali Katz, the Semichas Chachamim.

When Meir was one year old, the Yaavetz had to leave home when his father was niftar, to tend to his orphaned younger siblings. When his mother passed away a year later, he had to remain in Lvov, where he undertook the printing of his father’s responsa, She’eilos U’teshuvos Chacham Tzvi.

In 5484/1724 Rav Yaakov returned home, happy to see his son Meir successfully learning Gemara.

In 5489/1729, the Yaavetz served as Rav in Emden, learningprivately with his son. At age 15, he went to learn in Hamburg.

An iluy and a budding talmid chacham, Reb Meir became the chassan of Reb Moshe of Lisa, a parnass of the Vaad Arba Aratzos, in 5492/1732, and led the local yeshivah for ten years.

In 5503/1743, Reb Meir became the Rav of Old Konstantin, in Volyn, Ukraine, where he served for over 40 years. He was niftar on Taanis Esther, 13 Adar 5555/1795. He was buried in Old Konstantin.

Of his many works, only his works on Mishnayos Nashim and on the Rambam, titled Hamaor Hagadol, were published.

Zecher tzaddik livrachah.


March 23

In 1775, Patrick Henry delivered an address to the Virginia Provincial Convention in which he is said to have declared, “Give me liberty, or give me death!”

In 1919, Benito Mussolini founded his Fascist political movement in Milan, Italy.

In 1933, the German Reichstag adopted the Enabling Act, which effectively granted Adolf Hitler dictatorial powers.

In 1983, President Ronald Reagan first proposed developing technology to intercept incoming enemy missiles — an idea that came to be known as the Strategic Defense Initiative.