This Day in History – 23 Kislev/December 15

In 5109/1348, Rudolph of Oron claimed Jews had confessed to poisoning wells (he was later proven to have lied), prompting the Black Death riots against the Jews of Europe which cost tens of thousands of lives over the next years, Hy”d.


5453/1692, Harav Avraham Oppenheim, zt”l

5516/1755, Harav Mordechai Heilpren of Ostraha, zt”l

5575/1814, Harav Avraham of Oleinov, zt”l

5597/1836, Harav Dovid of Novardok, zt”l, mechaber of Gayla Maseches


5703/1942, Harav Elimelech Lowy of Tosh, zt”l

Harav Elimelech was the son of Harav Meshulam Feish of Tosh. Harav Meshulem Feish was a great tzaddik and attracted a devoted following in Tosh (Nyirtass), Hungary. He did not have a son for many years. When already quite elderly, he decided to make the arduous trip to distant Lizhensk, to the kever of the Rebbe Reb Elimelech, where he davened for a son. His tefillos were answered; within a year a son was born to him. On the day of his son’s bris,he named the child Elimelech after the holy Rebbe Reb Elimelech of Lizhensk, in whose merit he was zocheh to this son.

Harav Elimelech Lowy became the Rav and Rebbe in Tosh after his brother-in-law, Harav Yosef Rottenberg, zt”l, left the post to become Rav in Kosoni. Continuing the tradition of his father, he led his court with great devotion and diligence. Many people were blessed through his brachos, and many miracles were told of people who were helped by his tefillos.

Even though Reb Elimelech founded a court and attracted many Chassidim of his own, he considered himself a Chassid of his Rebbe, Harav Tzvi Elimelech Shapiro of Bluzhev, and continued traveling to him, much as his father traveled to Reb Tzvi Elimelech’s father, Reb Dovid of Dinov.

Purim in Tosh was the highlight of the year. The Rebbe’s avodas hakodesh was filled with a special intense inspiration. Interestingly, a special sefer about Purim in Tosh was published under the name Purim Hameshulash b’Tosh.

The Tosher dynasty continues to thrive under the guidance of the current Tosher Rebbe, shlita, who resides in Kiryas Tosh, a small town outside of Montreal. The Rebbe, Harav Meshulem Feish, shlita, is a grandson of Harav Elimelech, son of his son Harav Mordechai, Hy”d, who was killed in the Holocaust.

Zechuso yagein aleinu.


Dec. 15

In 1791, the Bill of Rights went into effect following ratification by Virginia.

In 1814, the “Hartford Convention” began as New England Federalists opposed to the War of 1812 secretly gathered in the Connecticut capital. (America’s victory in the Battle of New Orleans and the war’s end effectively discredited the Convention.)

In 1864, the two-day Battle of Nashville began during the Civil War as Union forces commanded by Maj. Gen. George H. Thomas attacked Confederate troops led by Gen. John Bell Hood; the result was a resounding Northern victory.

In 1890, Sioux Indian Chief Sitting Bull and 11 other tribe members were killed in Grand River, South Dakota, during a confrontation with Indian police.

In 1938, groundbreaking for the Jefferson Memorial took place in Washington, D.C., with President Franklin D. Roosevelt taking part in the ceremony.

In 1944, the U.S. Senate approved the promotions of Henry H. Arnold, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Douglas MacArthur and George C. Marshall to the five-star rank of General of the Army and the nominations of William D. Leahy, Ernest J. King and Chester W. Nimitz as Admirals of the Fleet.

In 1944, U.S. forces invaded Mindoro Island in the Philippines, encountering little resistance from the Japanese.

In 1965, two U.S. manned spacecraft, Gemini 6A and Gemini 7, maneuvered to within 10 feet of each other while in orbit.

In 1989, a popular uprising began in Romania that resulted in the downfall of dictator Nicolae Ceausescu.

In 1991, an Egyptian-registered ferry, the Salem Express, hit a reef and sank in the Red Sea; at least 470 people died, although some estimates are much higher.

In 2001, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, Italy, was reopened to the public after a $27 million realignment that had dragged on for over a decade.