This Day in History – 17 Iyar/May 2

Mandela casting his vote in the 1994 election.

In 1656, according to Rabi Yehoshua (who says that “the second month” refers to Iyar), it began raining, marking the beginning of the Mabul.

In 5038/1278, English Jews were thrown into prison on charges of coining.

In 5701/1941, the Nazis jailed 3,600 Jews of Russian origin.

In 5705/1945, Hitler committed suicide in his underground bunker in Berlin.


5553/1793, Harav Yechezkel Halevi Landau, zt”l, the Noda B’Yehudah

5560/1800, Harav Moshe Chaim Efraim of Sudlikov, zy”a, grandson of the Baal Shem Tov and mechaber of Degel Machaneh Efraim

5587/1827, Harav Yisrael Rottenberg, zt”l, Rav of Ger

5601/1841, Harav Yehoshua Heshel Babad, zt”l, Rav of Tarnipol

5680/1920, Harav Mordechai, Rebbe of Rachmastrivka, zy”a

5703/1943, Harav Pinchas of Ostilla, Hy”d, son of Harav Mordechai of Rachmastrivka. He was killed al kiddush Hashem during the Holocaust with his entire extended family, Hy”d, except for one daughter, the Rebbetzin of Harav Yaakov Yosef of Skver, a”h. The exact date is unknown, so the Chassidim mark this day, his father’s yahrtzeit, as his yahrtzeit as well.

5467/1707, Harav Shaul, Zt”l, Rav of Cracow

Harav Shaul was the son of the famed Rebbe Rav Heshel of Cracow, zt”l. He was named for his maternal great-grandfather, Harav Shaul Wahl, zt”l.

Rav Shaul married the daughter of Harav Aryeh Leib Fishelis.

His first rabbinic position was in Lokatch; later he was Rav in Apt. He was appointed Rav of his grandfather’s beis medrash in Brisk in 5448/1688. He was also chairman of the Vaad Arba Aratzos.

The Rabbanim of the surrounding cities respected Rav Shaul and held him and his rulings in the highest esteem.

In 5457/1697, Rav Shaul was appointed Rav of the Cracow area. At that time Rav Aryeh Leib, grandson of the Bach, held the position of Rav of Cracow. In 5461/1701, when Rav Aryeh Leib was appointed Rav in Brisk, Rav Shaul became Rav of Cracow proper.

A few years later, in 5464/1704, Rav Shaul decided to leave the rabbinate as it was causing him much strife. He moved to Breslau and settled there.

On 17 Iyar 5467/1707, Rav Shaul was niftar in Galnona.

Rav Shaul was survived by two sons, Harav Yehoshua Heshel, Rav in Vilna, and Harav Aryeh Leib, Rav in Lvov. He also had two sons-in-law, Harav Yehoshua Pollack of Posen and Harav Moshe Auerbach.

Zecher tzaddik livrachah.

May 2

In 1865, U.S. President Andrew Johnson offered $100,000 reward for the capture of Confederate President Jefferson Davis.

In 1994, Nelson Mandela claimed victory in the wake of South Africa’s first democratic elections; President F. W. de Klerk acknowledged defeat.

In 2016, the first U.S. cruise ship in nearly 40 years pulled into Havana Harbor, restarting commercial travel on waters that had served as a stage for a half-century of Cold War hostility.