This Day in History –11 Nisan/March 31

In 2449/1312 B.C.E., the nasi of the tribe of Asher, Pagiel ben Ochron, brought his korban.

In 2488/1273 B.C.E, at Yehoshua’s behest, all the Yidden who crossed the Yarden performed bris milah.

In 5424/1664, a massive gathering of the Vaad Arba Aratzos was held in Lublin. Rabbanim of the four major Eastern European countries convened to strengthen vital Yiddishkeit issues.



5030/1270, Rabbeinu Moshe ben Nachman (Ramban), zt”l

5599/1839, Harav Shlomo Zalman Lipshitz, zt”l, the Chemdas Shlomo

5634/1874, Harav Betzalel Hakohen of Vilna, zt”l, mechaber of Reishis Bikkurim and Mar’eh Kohen


5390/1630, Harav Yeshayah Halevi Horowitz, The Shelah Hakadosh, zy”a

The Shelah Hakadosh was born in Prague c. 5320/1560. His father, Harav Avraham Halevi, was a Dayan in Prague, Cracow and Lemberg. The illustrious Horowitz dynasty, known for its exceptional yichus, could be traced back to Shmuel Hanavi.

The Shelah Hakadosh married Rebbetzin Chaya, daughter of Rabbi Avraham Moyal, one of the prominent members of the Vienna kehillah.

Over the years, the Shelah was Rav in various communities. In 5366/1606 he took over the rabbanus of Frankfurt, leading this prestigious kehillah and establishing a thriving yeshivah until the Yidden were expelled from the city on 27 Elul 5374/1614. While in Frankfurt he served as a pillar of the Vaad Arba Aratzos and a member of its governing board. When the Shelah was exiled from Frankfurt together with his flock, he returned to Prague, where he was appointed Dayan in 5375/1615.

His Rebbetzin passed away on 4 Adar 5380/1620. At that time the Shelah Hakadosh decided to realize his dream of living in Eretz Yisrael. He settled in Yerushalayim and was appointed Chief Rabbi of Eretz Yisrael.

Appalled by the poverty of the settlers in the Holy Land, the Shelah sent messengers throughout the golah, particularly to the communities where he had served as Rav, initiating a tzedakah campaign that he called “Yachatz” — a Hebrew acronym for Yerushalayim, Chevron and Tzfas. Later, he himself traveled back to Europe to collect money for the destitute Yidden of Eretz Yisrael, and spent a Pesach in Constantinople.

The Shelah Hakadosh was niftar on 11 Nisan 5390/1630 and is buried in the old cemetery in Teveria, close to the kever of Rabi Yochanan ben Zakkai. In his will he wrote explicitly that no hespeidim should be said over him.

His holy sefarim, which he completed in Eretz Yisrael, were accepted and beloved by Jews the world over, as is evident by the number of times his great sefer, Shnei Luchos Habris, had to be reprinted. His famous siddur, Shaar Hashamayim, is also world renowned. In his haskamah, the Bach wrote, “I guarantee that whoever davens from this siddur will have his tefillah accepted.” In addition, the Shelah Hakadosh authored Sheimos Hagittin, Mitzvas Tefillin and Bigdei Yesha.

The Shelah is one of three tzaddikim — the others are the Alshich and the Ohr Hachaim — who are known by the title “Hakadosh.”

Zechuso yagen aleinu.


March 31

In 1814, Paris was occupied by a coalition of Russian, Prussian and Austrian forces; the surrender of the French capital forced the abdication of Emperor Napoleon.

In 1889, French engineer Gustave Eiffel unfurled the French tricolor from atop the Eiffel Tower, officially marking its completion.

In 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Emergency Conservation Work Act, which created the Civilian Conservation Corps.

In 1949, Newfoundland (now called Newfoundland and Labrador) entered confederation as Canada’s tenth province.

In 1968, President Lyndon B. Johnson stunned the country by announcing he would not seek re-election.

In 2005, Terri Schiavo, 41, died at a hospice in Pinellas Park, Florida, 13 days after her feeding tube was removed in a wrenching right-to-die dispute.