This Day in History – 14 Adar I/February 23

Shaar blatt of Shaarei Yerushalmi.
Shaar blatt of Shaarei Yerushalmi.

Today is Purim Kattan. No Tachanun is recited, and no eulogies are conducted. The Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim (697:1) cites an opinion that joy and festivity should be increased, but rules that there is no obligation to do so; “nevertheless, a person should increase somewhat in festivity … for ‘One who is of good heart is festive always’ (Mishlei 15:15).” In many Chassidishe courts, tischen are conducted on Purim Kattan.

In 5751/1991, the Gulf War, led by the United States of America against Iraq, ended. Thirty-nine Scud missiles were lobbed into Eretz Yisrael by the murderous Saddam Hussein, then the dictator of Iraq. Miraculously, only one missile caused extensive damage, and only one person was killed.


 

Yahrtzeiten

5586/1826, Harav Yaakov Kahana, zt”l, mechaber of Geon Yaakov

5689/1929, Harav Moshe Mordechai Morgenstern of Pilov, zt”l

5755/1995, Harav Shimon Schwab, zt”l

5765/2005, Harav Chaim Kamil, zt”l, Rosh Yeshivas Ofakim


 

5612/1852, Harav Dov Berish Ashkenazi, zt”l, Rav of Slonim and Lublin

Harav Dov Berish Ashkenazi was born in 5562/1802. His father, Rav Moshe, was a descendant of Harav Tzvi Ashkenazi, the Chacham Tzvi.

In the generation of Harav Akiva Eiger, the Chasam Sofer and others of that caliber, Rav Dov Berish was one of the leading Torah lights.

In 5595/1835, at the age of 33, Rav Dov Berish was appointed Rav in Slonim. He was a charismatic leader, as well as one who stood by his principles. He was not shy about reprimanding people when he saw a need for improvement. For example, when a Dayan was appointed in the city as a result of bribery, Rav Dov Berish fought it, quoting the psak of the Shulchan Aruch (Choshen Mishpat 8:61): “It is forbidden to stand in front of any Dayan who is appointed because of gold and silver, and furthermore it is a mitzvah to … denigrate him.” Yet he was always kind and available to help the poor and underprivileged.

Rav Dov Berish was a foremost halachic authority, and many she’eilos were addressed to him.

In 5604/1844, following the petirah of Harav Meshulam Zalman Ashkenazi, Rav Dov Berish was called by the kehillah of Lublin to be their Rav. He held this position until his petirah on Purim, 14 Adar 5612/1852. He was buried in Lublin.

After Rav Dov Berish’s demise, his brother published his sefarim. In his hakdamah he writes that Rav Dov Berish was not zocheh to arichus yamim, passing away in his fiftieth year and leaving no children. Among his better-known sefarim are Noda Ba’she’arim, she’eilos u’teshuvos on all four parts of Shulchan Aruch, with a section dedicated to maseches Gittin and the related halachos; and Shaarei Yerushalmi, a compilation of his chiddushim on Talmud Yerushalmi.

Zecher tzaddik livrachah.


 

Feb. 23

In 1836, the siege of the Alamo began in San Antonio, Texas.

In 1870, Mississippi was readmitted to the Union.

In 1903, President Theodore Roosevelt signed an agreement with Cuba to lease the area around Guantanamo Bay to the United States.

In 1927, President Calvin Coolidge signed a bill creating the Federal Radio Commission, forerunner of the Federal Communications Commission.

In 1954, the first mass inoculation of schoolchildren against polio using the Salk vaccine began in Pittsburgh as some 5,000 students were vaccinated.