This Day in History – 23 Cheshvan/November 21

In 3598, the stones that gentiles set up in the Beis Hamikdash during the rule of the Greeks were removed.

In 5699/1938, the Italian anti-Semitic code was published.


5538/1777, Harav Aharon Katzenellenbogen of Brisk, zt”l, mechaber of Minchas Aharon

5581/1820, Harav Refael Yosef Chazan of Izmir, zt”l, the Chikrei Lev

5665/1904, Harav Avraham Chaim Horowitz (the second) of Linsk, zt”l

5672/1911, Harav Yehosef, Rebbe of Kosson, zt”l, the Bnei Sheleishim

5690/1929, Harav Moshe Midner of Slonim, zt”l

5709/1948, Harav Yaakov Dovid Gordon, Chief Rabbi of Norfolk, Virginia, Zt”l

Harav Yaakov Dovid Gordon was born in 5633/1873 in a suburb of Kovno, Lithuania, into a prestigious rabbinical family: both his father, Rav Yehudah, zt”l, and his uncle, Rav Yosef, zt”l, were Rabbanim there. At the age of five, Yaakov Dovid lost his father, and went to live with his uncle Rav Yosef Gordon. In 5644/1884, after a fire destroyed his uncle’s house, he was sent to the Yeshivah of Harav Yosef Resnik, zt”l.

After becoming bar mitzvah, he went to Yeshivas Telshe. While in there, Rav Yaakov Dovid enjoyed a close relationship with the Rosh Yeshivah, Harav Eliezer Gordon, zt”l. Rav Yaakov Dovid was known for his hasmadah as well as his vast knowledge of Sidrei Nashim and Nizikin.

In 5650/1890, Rav Yaakov Dovid left Telshe and joined Kollel Knesses Bais Yitzchok, the Kovno Kollel, forerunner of Yeshivas Knesses Yisrael of Slabodka. It was headed by Harav Nosson Tzvi Finkel, zt”l, and Harav Moshe Mordechai Epstein, zt”l. The kollel had been founded in 5637/1877 by Harav Yisroel Salanter, zt”l, and later headed by Harav Yitzchok Elchonon Spector, zt”l, Rav of Kovno.

While in the kollel, Rav Yaakov Dovid was given semichah by Harav Moshe Danishevsky, zt”l, Chief Dayan of Slabodka, and Harav Tzvi Hirsh Rabinowitz, zt”l, Chief Dayan of Kovno, as well as others. A year later he got married.

Rav Yaakov Dovid authored many books on Torah, Aggadah, and Halachah, among them Dor V’Dorshov and Zichron Yaakov.

In 5665/1905, Rav Yaakov Dovid accepted an invitation from the Chicago Jewish Community to serve as their Rav. A year and a half later he was appointed the Chief Rabbi of Norfolk, Virginia. Rav Gordon was also an influential member of Agudath HaRabbonim of America.

Rav Yaakov Dovid was Rav of Norfolk for over forty years, until his passing on 23 Cheshvan, 5709/1948. He was buried in Union Field Cemetery in Ridgewood, Queens. Many of his descendants are bnei Torah living in Lakewood, Monsey, and Brooklyn.

Yehi zichro baruch.

Nov 21

In 1789, North Carolina became the 12th state to ratify the U.S. Constitution.

In 1967, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Air Quality Act.

In 1990, junk-bond financier Michael R. Milken, who had pleaded guilty to six felony counts, was sentenced by a federal judge in New York to ten years in prison. (Milken served two.)

In 1992, a three-day tornado outbreak that struck 13 states, began in the Houston area before spreading to the Midwest and eastern U.S.; 26 people were killed.

In 2001, Ottilie Lundgren, a 94-year-old resident of Oxford, Conn., died of inhalation anthrax; she was the apparent last victim of a series of anthrax attacks carried out through the mail system.

In 2009, the Senate voted 60-39 to open debate on health-care legislation.

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