This Day In History 28 Cheshvan/November 17

The Jewish streets of Girondi, where Rabbeinu Yonah lived.

In 1593, anti-Jewish riots erupted in Bucharest, Romania, costing many Jewish lives, Hy”d.


5447/1686, Harav Zev Wolf, zt”l, Rav of Salik and mechaber of Nachlas Binyamin

5531/1770, Harav Eliezer Lieber Hagadol, zt”l, the Maggid of Berditchev

5024/1263, Rabbeinu Yonah, Zt”l, the Chassid of Girondi

Son of Rabbeinu Avraham, Rabbeinu Yonah, was born in Girondi (Girona, Spain).

Rabbeinu Yonah traveled to France to learn under the great Rishonim, and became a talmid of Rav Shlomo Min Hahar and the brothers Rabbeinu Shmuel and Rabbeinu Moshe of Ivra.

He was a first cousin to the Ramban. (The Ramban’s mother was a sister of Rabbeinu Yonah’s father.) Rav Shlomo, the son of the Ramban, later married the daughter of Rabbeinu Yonah, making them mechutanim as well.

Rabbeinu Yonah was mechaber numerous sefarim, the most famous of which is Shaarei Teshuvah. Harav Chaim of Volozhin, zt”l, is quoted as saying that, generally, not every mussar sefer is suitable for every person. For some, the Reishis Chochmah is most appropriate; for others it might be Shevet Mussar, Chovos Halevavos or Mesilas Yesharim. An exception is Shaarei Teshuvah by Rabbeinu Yonah. This sefer, he said, is suitable for every Yid, in every era, until the coming of Moshiach.

In 5004/1244, after the petirah of Rabbeinu Meir Ben Todros Halevi, Rabbeinu Yonah traveled to the city of Tolitolia where he was a great marbitz Torah. Some of his talmidim are the Rashba and the Ra’ah, among others.

Rabbeinu Yonah was one of the main opponents of the Rambam, because of his Sefer Hamada and Moreh Nevuchim.

However, after a while, when he realized the Rambam’s greatness and that all he did was l’shem Shamayim, Rabbeinu Yonah traveled from place to place preaching about the need to back away from matters that cause division among the Jewish People.

During a speech given in the kehillah of Porish, he promised to travel to the Rambam’s kever and beg his forgiveness. Unfortunately, during one of his stops in the above-mentioned city of Tolitolia where he was begged to remain and where he founded a yeshivah, he was niftar without fulfilling this promise.

All of Klal Yisrael mourned his petirah, and the Ramban even composed a special kinah commemorating the event.

His yahrtzeit is generally accepted as being 28 Cheshvan. Others, however, cite his yahrtzeit as 1, 8, or 11 Cheshvan.

Yehi zichro baruch.

President Richard Nixon.

Nov. 17

In 1800, Congress held its first session in the partially completed U.S. Capitol building.

In 1869, the Suez Canal opened in Egypt.

In 1889, the Union Pacific Railroad Co. began direct, daily railroad service between Chicago and Portland, Oregon, as well as Chicago and San Francisco.

In 1973, President Richard Nixon told Associated Press managing editors in Orlando, Florida: “People have got to know whether or not their president is a crook. Well, I’m not a crook.”