This Day In History 2 Teves/December 20

Flag raising in the Place d’Armes of New Orleans, marking the transfer of sovereignty over French Louisiana to the United States, December 20, 1803

In 3400/362 B.C.E., “And Esther was taken to King Achashverosh, to his palace … He placed the royal crown on her head and made her queen in Vashti’s stead” (Esther 2:16-17).


Yahrtzeiten

5513/1752, Harav Yaakov Ibn Tzur of Pas, Morocco, zt”l, mechaber of Mishpat U’Tzedakah B’Yaakov

5649/1888, Harav Yaakov Tzvi of Porisov, zt”l


5547/1786, Harav Mordechai Zev Orenstein, Zt”l, Rav of Lvov

Harav Mordechai Zev Orenstein, born in Zlakovah in 5495/1735, was the son of Reb Moshe, the parnass of the kehillah. The other sons of Reb Moshe included Rav Menachem Mendel of Zlakovah and Harav Meshulam Zalman Ashkenazi, Rav of Pomrein, zecher tzaddikim livrachah. Reb Moshe was a grandson of the Chacham Tzvi, zt”l.

Rav Mordechai Zev was a Gaon fluent in all facets of the Torah. At the age of just 19, he was appointed Rav in Kaminka; later he was Rav in Yompala. In 5532/1772 he was appointed Rav of Satnov, and this appointment led to his being named Chief Rabbi of the entire Poland.

Rav Mordechai Zev married the daughter of Harav Shaul Charif, Rav of Alesk. They had one son, Harav Yaakov Meshulam Orenstein, zt”l, the Yeshuos Yaakov.

After his wife’s petirah, Rav Mordechai Zev married the daughter of the nagid Rav Elyakim Getzel of Lubertov. The children of his zivug sheini were his second son, Harav Moshe Yehoshua Heschel, Rav of Tarnigrad, zt”l, and daughters. His sons-in-law were Harav Aryeh Leib Katzenelenbogen, Rav of Brisk; Harav Yudel Broida, the author of Zichron Yehudah; Harav Yitzchak Etinga, Rav of Lvov; Harav Avraham Abish Ashkenazi of Broida; and Harav Dov Berish Heilprin of Brezhan, zecher tzaddikim livrachah.

In 5538/1778, Rav Mordechai Zev was chosen to serve as Rav of Lvov in place of Harav Shlomo of Chelema, zt”l, the Mirkeves Hamishnah. Rav Mordechai Zev was pleased to be appointed Rav in the same city that his grandfather, the Chacham Tzvi, had earlier lived in, while the kehillah was happy to have such a famous and admired Rav.

In Lvov, Rav Mordechai Zev founded a yeshivah and headed it, teaching many talmidim who went on to become Gedolei Yisrael and Rabbanim.

Rav Mordechai Zev served as Rav of Lvov for just ten years, until his petirah on 2 Teves 5547/1786, at the age of 52.

Zecher tzaddik livrachah.


Dec. 20

In 1790, the first successful cotton mill in the United States began operating at Pawtucket, Rhode Island.

In 1803, the Louisiana Purchase was completed as ownership of the territory was formally transferred from France to the United States.

In 1864, Confederate forces evacuated Savannah, Georgia, as Union Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman nearly completed his “March to the Sea.”

In 1945, the Office of Price Administration announced the end of tire rationing, effective Jan. 1, 1946.

In 1989, the United States launched Operation Just Cause, sending troops into Panama to topple the government of Gen. Manuel Noriega.