This Day in History – 15 Av/July 22

15 Av

The Mishnah in maseches Taanis (Perek 4, Mishnah 8) enumerates a number of significant events that occurred on this day:

In 2488/1273 B.C.E., the decree of death for the Dor Hamidbar came to an end; no more died after this day.

In the time of the Beis Hamikdash, the annual cutting of firewood for the Mizbei’ach was concluded.

In 2504/1257 B.C.E., the restrictions that were in place in order to ensure the orderly division of Eretz Yisrael were lifted.

In 2533/1228 B.C.E., Shevet Binyamin, which had been excommunicated in the incident of the pilegesh b’Givah, was readmitted into the community of Israel (as related in Shoftim 19–21).

In 3187/574 B.C.E., Hoshea Hamelech removed the roadblocks installed by Yeravam Hamelech, which had prevented the Jews of Israel from
making pilgrimages to Yerushalayim.

In 3908/148 C.E., the Romans finally permitted the Jews to bury Bar Kochba’s supporters who had fallen at Betar, after 15 years in which their remains were left scattered on the battlefield.

In 4972/1212, the power of the Almohads, a fanatical anti-Jewish Muslim sect in Spain, was broken in battle.

In 5446/1686, Jews of Cochin, India, received a large shipment of sifrei Torah and other tashmishei kedushah from Amsterdam. The day was celebrated as an annual Yom Tov.

In 5618/1858, Baron Lionel de Rothschild became the first Jew in the British Parliament, after a new version of the oath of office, containing no reference to Christianity, was agreed upon.


5633/1873, Reb Asher of Stolin, zt”l, son of Reb Aharon of Karlin

5638/1878, Harav Yaakov Leiner of Ishbitza, zt”l, mechaber of Beis Yaakov and other works

5678/1918, Harav Tzvi Hirsch Halberstam, zt”l, Rav of Rudnik

5722/1962, Harav Bentzion Yadler, zt”l, the Maggid of Yerushalayim and mechaber of B’tuv Yerushalayim

5760/2000, Harav Chanoch Henich Padwa, zt”l, Rav of London



Harav Shimon ibn Lavi of Tripoli, zt”l, mechaber of Kesem Paz and composer of the piyut “Bar Yochai”

Harav Shimon ibn Lavi was born in Spain a few years before geirush Sepharad in 5252/1492. As a result of the expulsion his family fled to Fez, Morocco. There, young Shimon learned Torah, both niglah and nistar, under the local talmidei chachamim.

All his life Harav Shimon longed to settle in Eretz Yisrael. In 5309/1549, when he was close to 60, he set off for the Holy Land. En route to Eretz Yisrael, Harav Shimon stopped over in Tripoli, Libya. Noting the low levels of Torah and mitzvah observance among the local population — many weren’t even fluent in the most basic tefillos — Harav Shimon decided to stay there and be mechazek them. “It is better to help be mekarev these Jews to the Torah than to travel to Eretz Yisrael,” he said.

Harav Shimon was accepted without question and his every word was revered.

He wrote Kessem Paz on the Zohar and composed the piyut Bar Yochai,” in which the first letter of each stanza spells out his name, Shimon Lavi.

Harav Shimon was niftar on 15 Av 5348/1588, at close to 100 years of age. His kever in Tripoli was known as a place of tefillah.

Zecher tzaddik livrachah.


July 22

In 1587, an English colony fated to vanish under mysterious circumstances was established on Roanoke Island off North Carolina.

In 1796, Cleveland, Ohio, was founded by General Moses Cleaveland.

In 1893, Wellesley College professor Katharine Lee Bates visited the summit of Pikes Peak, where she was inspired to write the original version of her poem “America the Beautiful.”

In 1916, a bomb went off during a Preparedness Day parade in San Francisco, killing 10 people.

In 1933, American aviator Wiley Post completed the first solo flight around the world as he returned to New York’s Floyd Bennett Field after traveling for 7 days, 18 ¾ hours.

In 1942, the Nazis began transporting Jews from the Warsaw Ghetto to the Treblinka concentration camp.

Gasoline rationing involving the use of coupons began along the Atlantic seaboard.

In 1943, American forces led by Gen. George S. Patton captured Palermo, Sicily, during World War II.

In 1946, Jewish extremists blew up a wing of the King David Hotel in Jerusalem, killing 90 people.

In 1975, the House of Representatives joined the Senate in voting to restore the American citizenship of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.

In 2011, Anders Breivik massacred 69 people at a Norwegian island youth retreat after detonating a bomb in nearby Oslo that killed eight others in the nation’s worst violence since World War II.