This Day in History – 25 Kislev/December 17

In 2450/1312 B.C.E., the Mishkan was completed. It was not assembled, however, until three months later.

In 3622/140 B.C.E., after defeating the powerful armies of the Syrian-Greek king Antiochus IV, the Maccabim liberated the Beis Hamikdash in Yerushalayim The victorious Jews repaired and rededicated the Beis Hamikdash.

The oil had been defiled by the invaders; the Jews could find only one small cruse of pure olive oil to light the Menorah. Miraculously, the one-day supply burned for eight days, until new, pure oil could be obtained.



5546/1785, Harav Uziel Meiseles, zt”l, mechaber of Menorah HaTehorah

5587/1826, Harav Avraham Shalom Mizrachi Sharabi, zt”l, mechaber of Divrei Shalom

5759/1998, Harav Yochanan Twersky, zt”l, the Tolner Rebbe


5632/1871, Harav Yaakov Yokel Ettlinger, zt”l, the Aruch LaNer

Harav Yaakov was born in 5558/1798 in the town of Karlsruhe, Germany. His father, Harav Aharon, was the local Rosh Yeshivah. His childhood years were spent learning from his father, whom he considered his “rebbi muvhak.” Later he studied under Harav Asher, the son of the Shaagas Aryeh. He married into the famous Warmzer family.

He gained a reputation as a great gaon and baki, and after returning to his hometown, many talmidim flocked to him. In 5584/1824, he became Rosh Yeshivah in Mannheim. Some of his many famous talmidim in Mannheim were Harav Samson Raphael Hirsch; his brother, the Maadanei Melech; and many others.

In the year 5596/1836, he was called upon to serve as Rav in the city of Altona. He led the kehillah with a strong hand, and his beis din not only enjoyed legislative recognition but even the police implemented his piskei din.

The city of Altona was also extraordinary because it was the only German city at that time that did not have a Reform presence.

He wrote several sefarim: famous among them the Aruch Laner on many masechtos of Shas.

Harav Yaakov Ettlinger was niftar in Altona at the age of 74 on the first night of Chanukah.

Yehi zichro baruch.


Dec. 17

In 1903, Wilbur and Orville Wright of Dayton, Ohio, conducted the first successful manned- powered airplane flights near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, using their experimental craft, the Wright Flyer.

In 1939, the German pocket battleship Admiral Graf Spee was scuttled by its crew, ending the World War II Battle of the River Plate off Uruguay.

In 1957, the United States successfully test-fired the Atlas intercontinental ballistic missile for the first time.

In 1979, Arthur McDuffie, a black insurance executive, was fatally injured after leading police on a chase with his motorcycle in Miami. (Four white police officers accused of beating McDuffie were later acquitted, sparking riots.)