This Day in History – 17 Iyar/May 25

In 1656/2105 B.C.E., according to Rabi Yehoshua, who holds that “the second month” refers to Iyar, the rain began to fall, marking the beginning of the Mabul.


5560/1800, Harav Moshe Chaim Efraim of Sidlikov, zt”l, mechaber of Degel Machaneh Efraim

5587/1827, Harav Yisrael Rottenberg, zt”l, father of the Chiddushei Harim

5601/1841, Harav Yehoshua Heschel Babad, zt”l, Rav of Tarnopol

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

Harav Yechezkel Landau was born in Apta, Poland, on 18 Cheshvan 5474/1713. His father, Harav Yehudah Halevi, was a leading figure in Apta and a member of the Vaad Arba Aratzos. His mother, Chayah, was the daughter of Harav Eliezer, Rav of Dubno.

In 5492/1732, at 18, he married Liba, daughter of the naggid Reb Yaakovka of Dubno. After his wedding, Reb Yechezkel continued to devote himself to Torah, returning home only for Shabbos.

A while later his father-in-law moved to Brod. In 5493/1734 Reb Yechezkel was asked to serve as head of the beis din there.

In 5515/1755, he was appointed the Rav of Prague.

Some members of the community felt that Reb Yechezkel, who was relatively young at the time, was not an appropriate choice for the position and tried to undermine his authority. In the end, however, they recognized his greatness.

His home became the place to turn when looking for the right halachic ruling, as Reb Yechezkel became known as Rabban shel kol bnei hagolah.

During Reb Yechezkel’s first two years as Rav of Prague, its Jewish community flourished. But then the Seven Years War broke out. Reb Yechezkel’s students advised him to flee the city, but he refused to abandon his flock.

In 5537/1777, he published his monumental work Noda b’Yehudah, so named to credit his father, Harav Yehudah Landau.

Rav Yechezkel was niftar on 17 Iyar 5553/1793. In his will, he requested that only a simple matzeivah be erected over his kever, and that no praises be inscribed on it.

Zechuso yagen aleinu.

May 25

In 1787, the Constitutional Convention began at the Pennsylvania State House (Independence Hall) in Philadelphia after enough delegates had shown up for a quorum.

In 1946, Transjordan (Jordan) became a kingdom and proclaimed its monarch, Abdullah I.

In 1961, President John F. Kennedy told Congress: “I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth.”

In 1986, an estimated 7 million Americans participated in “Hands Across America” to raise money for the nation’s hungry and homeless.