This Day in History – May 4/10 Iyar

In 2449, according to the Yalkut Shimoni, the incident of the mekoshesh eitzim occurred, in which a Jew was mechallel Shabbos in the Midbar.

In 2870, 30,000 Jews were killed; the Plishtim captured the aron kodesh and killed Chofni and Pinchas, sons of the Kohen Gadol, Eli, who himself was niftar as he heard the events of the day. (Shmuel I, Perek 4) A taanis tzaddikim commemorates these tragic events. (Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 580:2)


5551/1791, Harav Meir Margulies, zt”l, author of Meir Nesivim.

5591/1831, Harav Moshe Goldman, zy”a, Rebbe of Zvhil, son of Harav Yechiel Mechel Zlotchov, zy”a,.

5634/1874, Harav Yitzchak Eizik, Rebbe of Komarna, zy”a,.

5651/1891, Harav Hillel Lichtenstein of Kalamei, author of Maskil El Dal.

5677/1917, Harav Mordechai Landau, zy”a, Rebbe of Strikov.

5642/1882, Harav Dovid Twersky, Tolna Rebbe, Zy”a

Harav Dovid of Tolna was born in 5568/1808. His father was Harav Mordechai of Chernobyl, zy”a. He was named after Harav Dovid Leikes, zt”l, one of the prime talmidim of the Baal Shem Tov.

Rav Dovid married Rebbetzin Yente Devora, the daughter of Harav Yisrael Avraham of Tcharni-Ostraa, zy”a, son of the Rebbe Harav Zusha of Anipoli, zy”a.

Rav Dovid first became a maggid in Wasilkiov; after the petirah of his father, he established his court there. In 5614/1854 he moved to Tolna, Ukraine, which was considered a friendlier environment for Jews. He remained in Tolna for the rest of his life, except for a year and a half (5638-9/1878-9) when he was forced to flee from Russian persecution, due to slander and libel by the maskilim.

Rav Dovid placed great emphasis on the role that neginah (song) has in avodas Hashem. In addition, he personally collected large sums of money for tzedakah. He was devoted to this mitzvah to such an amazing extent that at times he would undertake arduous journeys to Chassidim in outlying areas to accumulate funds.

The Tolna court drew thousands of chassidim, including many prominent and wealthy Jews. He helped many Yidden through his tefillos, mofsim and chochmah. The Tolna Rebbe’s wonders were not all miraculous; sometimes he accomplished the impossible with chochmah, as when he helped people change their mazel by changing their middos.

The Tolna Rebbe was niftar on Shabbos Parashas Achrei Mos-Kedoshim, on 10 Iyar 5642/1882; he was buried in Tolna. Since his son Rav Mordechai was niftar at a young age (during Rav Dovid’s lifetime), Rav Dovid was succeeded by his grandson, Harav Menachem Nachum, zy”a, who was 13 years old at the time. His sons-in-law were Harav Nachum of Trisk, Harav Nachum of Shpikov, and Harav Chaim Meir of Bardichov, zechusam yagein aleinu.

Rav Dovid published three sefarim: Magen David, Birkas David and Kehillas David. These were recently enhanced and reprinted by Harav Yeshayah Dovid Malkiel of Beit Shemesh.

May 4

In 1626, Dutch explorer Peter Minuit landed on present-day Manhattan Island.

In 1916, responding to a demand from President Woodrow Wilson, Germany agreed to limit its submarine warfare. (However, Germany resumed unrestricted submarine warfare the following year.)

In 1945, during World War II, German forces in the Netherlands, Denmark and northwest Germany agreed to surrender.

In 1961, the first group of “Freedom Riders” left Washington, D.C. to challenge racial segregation on interstate buses and in bus terminals.

In 1970, Ohio National Guardsmen opened fire during an anti-war protest at Kent State University, killing four students and wounding nine others.

In 1998, Unabomber Theodore Kaczynski was given four life sentences plus 30 years by a federal judge in Sacramento, California, under a plea agreement that spared him the death penalty.

In 2006, a federal judge sentenced Zacarias Moussaoui to life in prison for his role in the 9/11 attacks, telling the convicted terrorist, “You will die with a whimper.”