This Day in History – 25 Kislev/December 3

25 Kislev

First day of Chanukah

In 2450, the Mishkan was completed. It was not assembled, however, until three months later.

In 3622, the Maccabees liberated the Beis Hamikdash in Yerushalayim, after defeating the vastly more numerous and powerful armies of the Syrian-Greek king Antiochus IV, who had tried to forcefully uproot the beliefs and practices of Yiddishkeit from Klal Yisrael. The victorious Jews repaired and rededicated the Beis Hamikdash.

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


5546/1785, Harav Uziel Meisels, zt”l, mechaber of Menorah Hatehorah

5574/1813, Harav Baruch Yitteles, zt”l, mechaber of Taam Hamelech

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

5632/1871, Harav Yaakov Yokel Ettlinger, zt”l, the Aruch La’ner

5650/1889, Harav Meshulem Zusya, Rebbe of Nadvorna-Tzefas, zt”l

5692/1931, Harav Chaim of Antinoya, zt”l, mechaber of Tal Chaim

5752/1991, Harav Avraham Mordechai Nissim Harari-Raful, zt”l, zekan rabbanei Sephard

5759/1998, Harav Yochanan Twersky, zy”a, the Tolna Rebbe


Harav Shlomo Zalman of Vilna, Zt”l, father of the Gra

Harav Shlomo Zalman Kremer was born about 5455/1695 in Vilna, Lithuania, the son of Harav Yissachar Ber. On his father’s side he was a descendant of Harav Eliyahu Chassid, zt”l, the son of Harav Moshe Kremer, zt”l, Rav of Vilna; on his mother’s side, of the Be’er HaGolah, Harav Moshe Ravkash, zt”l.

Rav Shlomo Zalman, a talmid chacham, was renowned for his piety.

He married Treina, the daughter of Harav Meir, who was the son of Harav Binyamin Wolf of Seltz (near Grodno), Byelorussia (Belarus).

Rav Shlomo Zalman dedicated his life to learning Torah. He was supported from the earnings of the estates of his maternal grandfather the Be’er Hagolah, who appreciated his talents and goals, and allocated him this part of the inheritance.

On the first day of Pesach, 5480/1720, the home of Reb Shlomo Zalman was filled with simchah; a baby boy was born. This boy, named Eliyahu, went on to become one of foremost leaders of Jewry of all time who enlightens Klal Yisrael to this very day – the Gaon of Vilna.

Rav Shlomo Zalman was active in klal work in Vilna, and was a community leader.

In his humility he asked that no elaborate titles be written on his matzeivah.

He was niftar in Vilna on 25 Kislev, the first day of Chanukah 5519/1758.

Zecher tzaddik livrachah.

Dec. 3

In 1818, Illinois was admitted as the 21st state.

In 1835, in Rhode Island, the Manufacturer Mutual Fire Insurance Company issued the first fire insurance policy.

In 1910, the neon lamp was displayed for the first time at the Paris Motor Show. The lamp was developed by French physicist Georges Claude.

In 1967, a surgical team in Cape Town, South Africa, led by Dr. Christiaan Barnard, performed the first human heart transplant on Louis Washkansky. He lived 18 days with the donor organ, which came from Denise Darvall, a 25-year-old bank clerk who had died in a traffic accident.

In 1967, the famed luxury train, 20th Century Limited, completed its final run from New York to Chicago.

In 1984, thousands of people died after a cloud of methyl isocyanate gas escaped from a pesticide plant operated by a Union Carbide subsidiary in Bhopal, India.

In 1992, the first telephone text message was sent by British engineer Neil Papworth from his work computer in Newbury, Berkshire, to Vodafone executive Richard Jarvis’ mobile phone.

In 2013, a federal judge ruled Detroit could use bankruptcy to cut employee pensions and relieve itself of other crushing debts, shifting the case into a delicate new phase.