This Day in History – September 23/5 Tishrei

In 3884, the Tanna Rabi Akiva was arrested by the Romans. He was subsequently tortured and killed al kiddush Hashem on Yom Kippur. The story of his killing, along with the other nine Harugei Malchus, is related in the stirring piyut Eileh Ezkerah, recited during the Yom Kippur davening.

A taanis tzaddikim was established to commemorate this event, as well as the killing of 20 Jews during that time. (Shulchan Aruch 180:2)


2327, Naftali, zt”l, the son of Yaakov Avinu. He was born on this date, in 2196/1566 B.C.E.

5592/1831, Harav Eliezer Brish, zt”l, Rav of Kutna

5668/1907, Harav Mordechai Schneerson, Rav of Vitebsk, zt”l

5752/1991, Harav Baruch Shalom Ashlag, zt”l, mechaber of Birkas Shalom

5406/1645, Harav Naftali Katz, Rav of Lublin, Zt”l

Harav Naftali HaKohen Katz was born in Prague, the son of Harav Yitzchak HaKohen, zt”l, son-in-law of the Maharal of Prague, zt”l, and descendant of Maharam Padwa, zt”l.

His grandson and namesake, the Semichas Chachamim, records that Rav Naftali was one of the most respected Rabbanim of his time, who exchanged halachic correspondence with the Taz, among other Gedolim.

Rav Naftali was a Maggid in Prague, and then a Dayan in Prostitz, Nicholsburg, and Pinsk. His final position was in Lublin, where he was Dayan and Rav.

At the same time, the famous Harav Heschel of Cracow, zt”l, headed the yeshivah in Lublin.

His sons were Harav Yitzchak, Maggid in Prague and Lublin, and Harav Chaim, who succeeded him.

Rav Naftali was niftar on 5 Tishrei 5406/1645, and is buried in Lublin.

Zecher tzaddik livrachah.

Sept. 23

In 1806, the Lewis and Clark expedition returned to St. Louis more than two years after setting out for the Pacific Northwest.

In 1846, Neptune was identified as a planet by German astronomer Johann Gottfried Galle (GAH’-luh).

In 1932, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was founded.

In 1987, Sen. Joseph Biden (D-Del.) withdrew from the Democratic presidential race following questions about his use of borrowed quotations and the portrayal of his academic record.

In 1999, the Mars Climate Orbiter apparently burned up as it attempted to go into orbit around the Red Planet.

In 2001, President George W. Bush returned the American flag to full staff at Camp David, symbolically ending a period of national mourning following the 9/11 attacks.

In 2002, Gov. Gray Davis signed a law making California the first state to offer workers paid family leave.

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