This Day in History – February 21, 2019

The first telephone directory, printed in New Haven, Connecticut, in November 1878. (Connecticut District Telephone Company)

16 Adar

In 4178, a decree that Jews were to be excluded from public offices in the Roman Empire went into effect.

In 5416/1656, the Jews of New Amsterdam (later known as New York) were forbidden to erect a shul.


5643/1883, Harav Elazar Menachem, Rebbe of Lelov, zt”l

5651/1891, Harav Menachem Katz of Prustitz, zt”l, Rav of Tzehlim

5671/1911, Harav Naftali Reiter, zt”l, Rav of Congregation Mogen Avraham Anshei Dukler

5756/1996, Harav Pinchas Menachem Alter, zt”l, the Pnei Menachem of Ger


Harav Shalom Charif Ulman, Zt”l, Rav of Lakenbach

Harav Shalom Ulman was born in Fiorda on 16 Adar, 5515/1755. His father, Harav Yisrael Isser, was the mechutan of Harav Yosef Steinhart, zt”l, Rav of Fiorda.

Rav Shalom learned in the yeshivah of Rav Steinhart, and from there he went on to the yeshivah of Harav Pinchas Horowitz, zt”l, (the Hafla’ah) in Frankfurt. He was later appointed a Rosh Yeshivah there. He also learned in the yeshivah of Harav Nosson Adler, zt”l, in Frankfurt. He was esteemed in shittas hapilpul.

He corresponded with some of the generation’s leading Gedolim, among them Harav Aryeh Leib Ginzburg, zt”l, the Shaagas Aryeh.

Rav Shalom married the daughter of Harav Refael Reiss, zt”l, Rav of Edingen in Switzerland. In 5544/1784, he was appointed Rav of Ansbach, and in 5552/1792 Rav of Stampfen; he became Rav of Nad-Attad in 5559/1799, and 10 years later, Rav of Lakenbach. Harav Mordechai Bannet, zt”l, Rav of Nikolsburg, would send many of his excellent talmidim to learn under Rav Shalom in Lakenbach.

Famed in the Torah world for his sharp mind and thorough knowledge of both nigleh and nistar, Rav Shalom was aptly called Rav Shalom Charif.

Rav Shalom wrote many sefarim, but only his Divrei Rosh on the Torah and Shas was published.

Towards the end of his life, Rav Shalom said that he knew when he was going to be niftar. In his later years he barely spoke at all.

Four weeks before his petirah, in a letter to his son, Rav Shalom signed off saying that he was writing briefly, as he was preparing for his judgment. On 16 Adar, 70 years to the day that he was born, 5585/1825, Reb Shalom was niftar.

Rav Shalom had two well-known sons. Harav Avraham, zt”l, succeeded his father as Rav of Lakenbach and wrote Sheilos U’teshuvos Beis Avraham; and Harav Shlomo Zalman, zt”l, was Rav of Makava and author of Yerios Shlomo.

Zecher tzaddik livrachah.

Feb. 21

In 1804, the first self-propelled locomotive on rails was demonstrated in Wales.

In 1878, the first telephone directories issued in the U.S. were distributed to residents in New Haven, CT. It was a single page of only 50 names.

In 1916, the World War I Battle of Verdun began in France as German forces attacked; the French were able to prevail after 10 months of fighting.

In 1945, during the World War II Battle of Iwo Jima, the escort carrier USS Bismarck Sea was sunk by kamikazes with the loss of 318 men.

In 1958, the USS Gudgeon (SS-567) became the first American submarine to complete a round-the-world cruise, eight months after departing from Pearl Harbor in Hawaii.