This Day in History – 17 Iyar/May 6

In 1656/2105 B.C.E., it began to rain, marking the beginning of the Mabul (according to Rabi Yehoshua who says that “the second month” refers to Iyar).

In 3826/66 C.E., the Roman garrison, on its way to seize the Temple, was attacked by Jewish defenders and forced to retreat.

In 5701/1941, the Nazis jailed 3,600 Jews of Russian origin.



5553/1793, Harav Yechezkel Landau of Prague, author of She’eilos U’teshuvos Noda BiYehudah and Tzelach

5560/1800, Harav Moshe Chaim Efraim of Sidlikov, grandson of the Besht, and author of Degel Machaneh Efraim

5587/1827, Harav Yisrael Rottenberg, father of the Chiddushei Harim

5601/1841, Harav Yehoshua Heshel Babad, Rav of Tarnopol

5703/1943: Harav Pinchas of Ostila, son of Harav Mordechai of Rachmastrivka. The exact date of his petirah is unknown, but since he was killed al kiddush Hashem during these days, the Chassidim mark this date as his yahrtzeit.


5680/1920, Harav Mordechai of Rachmastrivka, zy”a

Harav Mordechai of Rachmastrivka was born in the fall of 5599–5600/1839. His father was Harav Yochanan of Rachmastrivka, son of Harav Mordechai of Chernobyl and Rebbetzin Chana, daughter of Harav Pinchas Kalk.

He married Rebbetzin Trana, the daughter of Harav Chanina Lipa of Zhitomir, of the Koritzer dynasty. His second wife was the daughter of Harav Dovid of Tolna.

At his father’s request, Reb Mordechai received semichah from his uncle, Harav Yitzchak of Skver, and he began leading Chassidim during his father’s lifetime. After Reb Yochanan’s petirah, Reb Mordechai assumed the leadership of the court of Rachmastrivka, together with his brothers Harav Menachem Nachum and Harav Zev.

Reb Mordechai was strikingly humble and refined. He remarked, “I don’t know why people come to me. I am not a baal tefillah, nor a composer of niggunim, nor do I say Torah. The only possible explanation is that before davening each day I wholeheartedly accept the mitzvah of loving one’s fellow. And since ‘the hearts of people reflect each other like water reflects faces’ [Mishlei 27:19], people return my love and come to me.”


May 6

In 1840, Britain’s first adhesive postage stamp, the Penny Black, officially went into circulation five days after its introduction.

In 1889, the Paris Exposition formally opened, featuring the just-completed Eiffel Tower.

In 1910, Britain’s Edwardian era ended with the death of Edward VII; he was succeeded by George V.

In 1937, the hydrogen-filled German airship Hindenburg burned and crashed in Lakehurst, New Jersey, killing 35 of the 97 people on board and a Navy crewman on the ground.

In 1942, 15,000 Americans and Filipinos on Corregidor surrendered to Japanese forces.