25 Kislev: First day of Chanukah
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., 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 Meshulam Zusya of Nadvorna-Tzfas, 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, zt”l, the Tolna Rebbe
Harav Shlomo Zalman of Vilna, zt”l, father of the Gra
Harav Shlomo Zalman Kremer was born c. 5455/1695 in Vilna, Lithuania, the son of Harav Yissachar Ber. On his father’s side he was a descendant of Harav Eliyahu Chassid, the son of Harav Moshe Kremer, Rav of Vilna; on his mother’s side, of the Be’er HaGolah, Harav Moshe Ravkash.
Reb Shlomo Zalman, a talmid chacham, was renowned for his piety.
He married Treina, the daughter of Harav Meir, who was the son of Harav Benyamin Wolf of Seltz (near Grodno), Byelorussia.
Reb 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 the foremost leaders of Jewry of all time who enlightens Klal Yisrael to this very day — the Gaon of Vilna.
Reb 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.
In 1520, Portuguese navigator Ferdinand Magellan reached the Pacific Ocean after passing through the South American strait that now bears his name.
In 1861, the Confederate Congress admitted Missouri as the 12th state of the Confederacy after Missouri’s disputed secession from the Union.
In 1919, American-born Lady Astor was elected the first female member of the British Parliament.
In 1922, Captain Cyril Turner of the Royal Air Force gave the first public skywriting exhibition, spelling out, “Hello USA. Call Vanderbilt 7200” over New York’s Times Square; about 47,000 calls in less than three hours resulted.
In 1943, President Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Soviet leader Josef Stalin began conferring in Tehran during World War II.
In 1961, President John F. Kennedy dedicated the original permanent headquarters of the Central Intelligence Agency in Langley, Va.
In 1964, the United States launched the space probe Mariner 4 on a course to Mars.
In 2001, Officials recovered the body of CIA officer Johnny “Mike” Spann from a prison compound in Mazar-e-Sharif, Afghanistan, after northern alliance rebels backed by U.S. airstrikes and special forces quelled an uprising by Taliban and al-Qaida prisoners.