This Day in History – 28 Shevat/January 29

28 Shevat

In 3598/163 B.C.E., Antiochus V (successor to Antiochus of the Chanukah miracle; this incident occurred about a year after Chanukah) abandoned his siege of Yerushalayim, and his plans for the city’s destruction were annulled.

During the siege, the Jews had suffered greatly, unable to move around freely except at night. Antiochus left for home in response to bad reports he had received from there; he was killed soon afterwards. The day is observed as a Yom Tov, as cited in Megillas Taanis.

In 4950/1190, the Jews of Norwich, England, were massacred. Hy”d.


5572/1812, Harav Dovid Zintzheim, zt”l, mechaber of Yad Dovid

5633/1873, Harav Aryeh Leib Nathansohn of Berzhan, zt”l, mechaber of Beis Kel

5696/1936, Harav Menachem Nachum of Rachmastrivka, zt”l



Harav Mordechai Goldman of Zhvill, zt”l

Harav Mordechai Goldman was born in Zhvill, in Volhynia, in present-day Ukraine, on 11 Cheshvan 5666/1905. His father, Harav Gedalyah Moshe, was the son of the famous Harav Shloime of Zhvill.

In 5685/1925, Reb Mordechai moved to Eretz Yisrael, where he learned in Yeshivas Sfas Emes in Yerushalayim. He was known there for his amazing hasmadah; he would literally fall asleep over his Gemara.

Reb Mordechai married the daughter of Harav Shmuel Mordechai of Neshchiz.

Reb Mordechai’s father, Harav Gedalyah Moshe, came to Eretz Yisrael in 5697/1937, after many years in exile in Siberia.

Following the petirah of Reb Shloime, in 5705/1945, Reb Gedalyah Moshe was named Rebbe, a post he held until his petirah some four years later, in 5709/1948.

Reb Mordechai was appointed Rebbe in his father’s stead. He was noted for his unique hanhagah; unlike most other Rebbes and Rabbanim, he had no set time for receiving petitioners; his door was always open. He was also known for not having any gabbai or attendant; in his humility, he tended to his own needs.

Reb Mordechai was niftar on 28 Shevat 5739/1979, at the age of 74. He was buried on Har Hazeisim.

He was succeeded by his sons, Harav Avraham, zt”l (who was niftar this year); and Harav Shlomo, shlita, Zhviller Rebbe in Union City.

Reb Mordechai’s sons-in-law are, shlita, the Shomrei Emunim Rebbe; the Kamarna Rebbe; the Zutchka Rebbe and Harav Yitzchak Leifer, the son of the Temeshvar Rebbe.

Zechuso yagen aleinu.


January 29

In 1676, Theodore III became Czar of Russia upon the death of his father, Alexis.

In 1801, France and Spain issued an ultimatum to Portugal to break its allegiance to Britain.

In 1819, Sir Stamford Raffles landed on Singapore and concluded a treaty with a local ruler to set up a British trading post.

In 1850, Henry Clay introduced in the U.S. Senate a compromise bill on slavery that included the admission of California into the Union as a free state.

In 1916, Germans staged the first Zeppelin raid on Paris in World War I.

In 1919, Czechoslovak forces defeated Poles at Galicia, Poland.

In 1942, Ecuador and Peru signed the Rio de Janeiro protocol, ending their war over a large swath of Amazon jungle. The treaty established the present-day border, which is still disputed.

In 1947, the United States abandoned its mediation role in China.

In 1949, Britain granted de facto recognition to the new state of Israel.

In 1950, the first series of riots occurred in Johannesburg, provoked by South Africa’s racial apartheid policy.

In 1963, Britain was refused entry into the European Common Market by a French veto.

In 1973, the United States, Soviet Union and 17 other nations agreed to meet in Vienna to try to reach an accord on cutting the strength of armed forces in Europe.

In 1989, Syrian and Iranian foreign ministers reached agreement on a peace formula to end fighting between their Shiite surrogates in Lebanon.

In 1990, ousted East German Communist Party leader Erich Honecker was arrested and ordered to stand trial for high treason.

Former Exxon Valdez skipper Joseph Hazelwood went on trial in Anchorage, Alaska, on charges stemming from the U.S. oil spill disaster. He was later acquitted.

In 1991, South African political rivals Mangosuthu Buthelezi and Nelson Mandela met for the first time in 30 years and called for a cease-fire between their supporters.

In 1992, Russian President Boris Yeltsin unveiled a nuclear weapons reduction plan.

In 1993, French Marines entered Zaire’s capital. Dozens of civilians, soldiers and foreigners died in the bloodshed.

In 1998, British Prime Minister Tony Blair announced a new inquiry into the 1972 “Bloody Sunday” violence, in which British troops killed Catholic protesters in Northern Ireland.