This Day in History – May 1/7 Iyar

In 3318, the chomah around Yerushalayim was dedicated. The day is cited in Megillas Taanis as a Yom Tov.

In 5058/1298, the notorious Rindfleisch massacres of thousands of Jews began at Rottingen, and spread across Southern Germany and Austria, decimating more than 150 Jewish communities, in which thousands of Jews resided.


5379/1619, Harav Shlomo Efraim of Luntshitz, zt”l, mechaber of Kli Yakar and Olelos Efraim.

5571/1811, Harav Yeshayah Yaakov, Rav of Alesk, Zt”l, Mechaber of Cherev Pifiyos

Harav Yeshaya Yaakov was born about 5500/1740 to Harav Yehudah Leib, zy”a. He was a close talmid of Harav Chaim Sanzer, zy”a, who was the head of the famous kloiz in Brody. Rav Yeshaya Yaakov delved into the depths of Torah, barely leaving the beis medrash, and would always ask questions of the other talmidei chachamim until he became himself very well versed not just in the revealed Torah, but in the hidden Torah, Toras Hakabbalah, as well.

His Rebbe, Harav Chaim Sanzer, held him in high esteem, and taught him as a father would a son. Harav Shalom Halevi of Kaminka, zy”a, once said that Harav Chaim Sanzer attested that his talmid, Rav Yeshaya Yaakov was destined for greatness, saying that his mind could contain the minds of a thousand others.

Rav Yeshaya Yaakov served as Rav in the kehillos of Tshian, and in his later years in Alesk.

He wrote many sefarim of chiddushei Torah on all facets of the Torah, most notably on Kabbalah, with thirty-two volumes on Kabbalah extant. Harav Shalom of Kaminka, zt”l, bought these sefarim from Rav Yeshaya Yaakov, and over the years many of them have been published.

Rav Yeshaya Yaakov’s most famous sefer is V’Cherev Pifiyos, which he first published in 5547/1787. It is a kabbalistic work on the words of Krias Shema and the “intentions” behind them. It is divided in three parts; Kessem Zahav on the first parashah, Glilei Zahav on the second, and Amudei Sheish on the third.

The leading Gedolim of his era praised his sefarim greatly.

His peirush on Shir Hashirim, Beis Chachmah, was printed in 5658/1898, together with his peirush on Tehillim 107, which are both recited by many before Minchah on Erev Shabbos,

Among his other sefarim are Beis Malchus on Megillas Rus; Nesiv Chochmah on measurements used in the Gemara; Tapuchei Zahav and Chok Umishpat on the mitzvah of tekias shofar; Eretz Tov, on the holy names of Hashem in everything in this world; and Atzei Eden, his drushim on the Torah based on Kabbalah.

Rav Yeshaya Yaakov was niftar on 7 Iyar, 5571/1811, and buried in Alesk.

Zecher tzaddik livrachah.

May 1

In 1707, the Kingdom of Great Britain was created as a treaty merging England and Scotland took effect.

In 1915, the RMS Lusitania set sail from New York, headed for Liverpool, England. (It was torpedoed and sunk by Germany off the coast of Ireland six days later.)

In 1931, New York’s 102-story Empire State Building was dedicated.

In 1963, James W. Whittaker became the first American to conquer Mount Everest as he and Sherpa guide Nawang Gombu reached the summit.

In 1971, the intercity passenger rail service Amtrak went into operation.

In 2010, Pakistan-born U.S. citizen Faisal Shahzad failed in an attempt to set off a homemade bomb in an SUV parked in New York’s Times Square. (Shahzad is serving a life prison sentence.)

In 2011, President Barack Obama announced the death of Osama bin Laden during a U.S. commando operation (because of the time difference, it was early May 2 in Pakistan, where the al-Qaida leader met his end).

In 2015, Baltimore’s top prosecutor charged six police officers with felonies ranging from assault to murder in the death of Freddie Gray, who’d suffered a spinal injury while riding in a police van.