This Day in History – December 17/2 Teves

2 Teves

In 3400, “And Esther was taken to King Achashveirosh, to his palace … He placed the royal crown on her head and made her queen in Vashti’s stead” (Megillas Esther 2:16-17).


5513/1752, Harav Yaakov Ibn Tzur of Pas, Morocco, zt”l, mechaber of Mishpat u’Tzedakah b’Yaakov

5649/1888, Harav Yaakov Tzvi, Rebbe of Porisov, zt”l


Harav Mordechai Zev Orenstein, Zt”l, Rav of Lvov

Harav Mordechai Zev Orenstein, born in Zlakovah in 5495/1735, was the son of Reb Moshe, the parnas of the kehillah. The other sons of Reb Moshe included Rav Menachem Mendel of Zlakovah and Harav Meshulam Zalman Ashkenazi, Rav of Pomrein, zecher tzaddikim livrachah. Reb Moshe was a grandson of the Chacham Tzvi.

Rav Mordechai Zev was a Gaon fluent in all facets of the Torah. At the age of just 19, he was appointed Rav in Kaminka; later he was Rav in Yompala. In 5532/1772 he was appointed Rav of Satnov, and this appointment led to his being named Chief Rabbi of the entire Poland.

Rav Mordechai Zev married the daughter of Harav Shaul Charif, zt”l, Rav of Alesk. They had one son, Harav Yaakov Meshulam Orenstein, zt”l, the Yeshuos Yaakov.

After his wife’s petirah, Rav Mordechai Zev married the daughter of the naggid Harav Elyakim Getzel of Lubertov. The children of his zivug sheini were his second son, Harav Moshe Yehoshua Heschel, zt”l, Rav of Tarnigrad, and daughters. His sons-in-law were Harav Aryeh Leib Katzenelenbogen, Rav of Brisk; Harav Yudel Broida, the author of Zichron Yehudah; Harav Yitzchak Etinga, Rav of Lvov; Harav Avraham Abish Ashkenazi of Broida; and Harav Dov Berish Heilprin of Brezhan, zecher tzaddikim livrachah.

In 5538/1778, Rav Mordechai Zev was chosen to serve as Rav of Lvov in place of Harav Shlomo of Chelema, zt”l, the Mirkeves Hamishnah. Rav Mordechai Zev was pleased to be appointed Mara d’Asra in the same city where his grandfather, the Chacham Tzvi, had earlier lived, while the kehillah was happy to have such a famous and admired Rav.

In Lvov, Rav Mordechai Zev founded a yeshivah and headed it, teaching many talmidim who went on to become Gedolei Yisrael and Rabbanim.

Rav Mordechai Zev served as Rav of Lvov for just 10 years, until his petirah on 2 Teves 5547/1786.

Zecher tzaddik livrachah.

Dec. 17

In 1777, France recognized American independence.

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 1938, German chemists Otto Hahn and Fritz Strassmann discovered nuclear fission by splitting the nuclei of uranium into lighter elements.

In 1944, the U.S. War Department announced it was ending its policy of excluding people of Japanese ancestry from the West Coast.

In 1975, Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme was sentenced in Sacramento, Calif., to life in prison for her attempt on the life of President Gerald R. Ford. She was paroled in Aug. 2009.

In 1992, President George H.W. Bush, Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and Mexican President Carlos Salinas de Gortari signed the North American Free Trade Agreement in separate ceremonies.

In 2001, Marines raised the Stars and Stripes over the long-abandoned American Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan.

In 2007, Gov. Jon S. Corzine signed a measure making New Jersey the first state in more than 40 years to abolish the death penalty.

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