This Day in History – 15 Adar/February 20

In 3341, nineteen months after the destruction of the Beis Hamikdash, Yechezkel Hanavi received an additional prophecy about Mitzrayim, which is found in Perek 32.

In 3406, the Jews of Shushan celebrated after an additional day of fighting their enemies. Thus, the victory celebrations in Shushan were held on the 15th of Adar, and the observance of the festival of Purim was instituted for that day in Shushan and all walled cities (commemorated this year in Adar II).

In 5679/1919, over 1500 Jews were murdered in a pogrom in Proskorov, Ukraine. At the time, this was the largest number of Jews killed in a single pogrom. During that era (the Bolshevik Revolution of 5678/1918–5680/1920), thousands of Jews were killed in cities throughout Russia and Ukraine.


Yahrtzeiten

5430/1670, Harav Tzvi Hersh Koidinover, zt”l, mechaber of Kav Hayashar (Adar I)

5443/1683, Harav Avraham Abeli Segal, zt”l, the Magen Avraham

5529/1769, Harav Yaakov Kopel of Likov, zt”l

5676/1916, Harav Avraham Simcha Horowitz, Rebbe of Barinov, zy”a, mechaber of Chamra Tava

5726/1966, Harav Yosef Leifer, Rebbe of Pittsburgh, zy”a, the Tzidkas Yosef


5630/1870, Harav Dov Berish Meisels, Zt”l, Rav of Warsaw

Harav Dov Berish Meisels, born in 5558/1798, was the son of Harav Yitzchak, zt”l, Rav of Kaminetz and mechaber of Choshen Yeshuos. The family descended from the Rema, the Shach and the Bach, among other Gedolei Yisrael.

Rav Dov Berish was an outstanding talmid chacham. He was a statesman as well, with access to the royal family and government ministers.

For a while Rav Dov Berish dealt in business. Nominally running a bank, he was actually always involved in Torah learning.

In 5591/1831 Rav Dov Berish was chosen to serve as Rav in Krakow, holding this position for the next 24 years. (During Rav Dov Berish’s tenure, Rav Shaul Refael Landau also served as Rav in Krakow.)

In 5598/1838, Rav Dov Berish was chosen as the Polish representative to the Austrian parliament. He was active in the Freedom Party, and in all his public appearances, he demanded rights for the Poles. He was also adamant that Jews have equal rights.

In 5615/1855, Rav Dov Berish was appointed Rav of Warsaw. He was the last undisputed Rav of the city, serving all kehillos.

As he was devoted to the welfare of his kehillah, he was widely admired.

Rav Dov Berish was a Polish patriot and backed the movement for independence from Russia. He stimulated patriotism in the Jews as well, and they participated in the uprisings of 1830, 1846 and 1863. Because of that, the Jews were not victimized in the riots of the Polish army.

Despite his klal work, Rav Dov Berish dedicated all his available time to learning Torah. He also answered she’eilos.

Rav Dov Berish published his father’s sefarim; later his own work on Sefer Hamitzvos of the Rambam, Chiddushei Maharadam, was published.

Rav Dov Berish was niftar in Warsaw on 15 Adar, 5630/1870, at the age of 72. He was buried there.

His son, Harav Yisrael, was Rav in Shedlitz.

Zecher tzaddik livrachah.


Feb. 20

In 1792, President George Washington signed an act creating the United States Post Office Department.

In 1907, President Theodore Roosevelt signed an immigration act which excluded “idiots, imbeciles, feebleminded persons, epileptics, insane persons” from being admitted to the United States.

In 1950, the U.S. Supreme Court, in United States v. Rabinowitz, ruled 5-3 that authorities making a lawful arrest did not need a warrant to search and seize evidence in an area that was in the “immediate and complete control” of the suspect.

In 1962, astronaut John Glenn became the first American to orbit Earth as he flew aboard Project Mercury’s Friendship 7 spacecraft, which circled the globe three times in a flight lasting 4 hours, 55 minutes and 23 seconds before splashing down safely in the Atlantic Ocean 800 miles southeast of Bermuda.

In 1965, America’s Ranger 8 spacecraft crashed on the moon, as planned, after sending back thousands of pictures of the lunar surface.