This Day in History – 23 Teves/January 14

In 5256/1496, on this date, just four years after the expulsion of the Jews from Spain, a decree was issued in Portugal giving the Jews one year to either convert to Christianity or leave the country. Over the next 350 years, the leaders of the infamous Inquisition persecuted, tortured and burned at the stake thousands of Marranos throughout Spain, Portugal and their colonies for continuing to secretly practice the Jewish faith.

In 5465/1704, “Purim Sharif” was established in Tripoli, Libya, to commemorate the day that Ibraham Al-Sharif withdrew — in humiliation — his forces from attacking Tripoli (and its Jews). It was also commonly known as “Purim Kedivna,” the “False Purim,” to distinguish it from the traditional Purim.



5525/1765, Harav Yitzchak Zerachya, father of the Chida

5597/1837, Harav Yehuda Aryeh Leib (ben Yechiel Michel) HaLevi Epstein of Ozorov

5662/1901, Harav Hillel of Radoshitz He was succeeded by his son Harav Eliezer Dovid as Rav and Rebbe of Radoshitz.


5597/1837, Harav Aryeh Leib Epstein of Ozorov, zy”a

Harav Aryeh Leib Epstein of Ozorov was the son of Harav Yechiel Mechel. He later became the son-in-law of Harav Reuven Halevi of Zhanrnovtza, the Duda’im Basadeh.

His primary Rebbe was the holy Chozeh, Harav Yaakov Yitzchak Horowitz of Lublin, zy”a, but he was also a talmid of the Yehudi Hakadosh, Harav Yaakov Yitzchak Rabinowitz of Peshischa, zy”a. After the Chozeh’s petirah, Reb Aryeh Leib traveled to Harav Avraham Yehoshua Heschel, the Ohev Yisrael of Apt, and to Harav Meir of Apt, the Ohr Lashamayim.

The talmidim of the Chozeh revered him. Harav Yeshayah of Pshedburzh declared that his neshamah was that of the Ran, while the Yehudi Hakadosh said that both of their neshamos originated with the Baalei Tosafos.

In 5572/1812, Reb Aryeh Leib was asked to serve as Rav in Ozorov, Poland. After Harav Meir of Apt was niftar in 5587/1827, Reb Aryeh Leib became Rebbe, and many Chassidim of Harav Meir became his ardent followers. Later, Reb Aryeh Leib moved to the town of Ophla, where he served as both Rav and Rebbe. His son, Harav Yechiel Chaim, succeeded him. His Torah thoughts were published in the sefer Birchas Tov.


Jan. 14

In 1784, the United States ratified the Treaty of Paris ending the Revolutionary War; Britain followed suit in April 1784.

In 1914, Ford Motor Co. greatly improved its assembly-line operation by employing an endless chain to pull each chassis along at its Highland Park plant.

In 1969, 27 people aboard the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise, off Hawaii, were killed when a rocket warhead exploded, setting off a fire and additional explosions.

In 1975, the House Internal Security Committee (formerly the House Un-American Activities Committee) was disbanded.