This Day in History – 18 Elul/September 2

In 3620/140 B.C.E., Shimon the Chashmona’i was appointed Kohen Gadol and governor of the Jews, marking the beginning of the dynasty of the ­Chashmona’im.

In 5458/1698, the Baal Shem Tov was born.



5567/1807, Harav Tzvi Hersh of Zamutch, zt”l, mechaber of Tiferes Tzvi

5590/1830, Harav Yosef of Ostillah, zt”l

5683/1923, Harav Eliyahu Zinger, zt”l, Rav of Kalisch and Peshischa

5369/1609, Harav Yehudah Lowy, the Maharal of Prague, zt”l


5649/1889, Harav Ovadiah (Abdallah) Somech, zt”l, Leader of Iraqi Jewry

Harav Ovadiah Somech was born in Baghdad, Iraq, in 5573/1813. He was known as Abdallah, the translation of Eved Keil, servant of Hashem. Abdallah was the eldest of eight brothers and eight sisters, who were known for their gemilus ­chassadim.

At a young age, he studied under Harav Yaakov Harofeh, a leading Dayan in Baghdad and mechaber of many sefarim, whom Harav Abdallah considered his rebbi muvhak.

He married his cousin, daughter of his uncle, Harav Yitzchak Yosef Somech, who was well-to-do; enabling him to dedicate himself solely to Torah learning.

Harav Abdallah’s first venture was establishing a yeshivah in his native Baghdad. Most of the Torah leaders of that generation were talmidim of Harav Abdallah, most prominent among them the Ben Ish Chai, who succeeded Harav Abdallah as Rosh Hagolah when he was niftar.

At the end of 5649/1889, a cholera epidemic broke out in Iraq. Harav Abdallah himself contracted a serious case of cholera and many people all over Baghdad davened for his recovery. Harav Abdallah was niftar on Shabbos night, 18 Elul 5649/1889.

Because Harav Abdallah had contracted the disease, the governor did not allow the Jews to bury him in the cemetery where his forebears were buried, on the eastern side of the Chidekel (Tigris) River.

Harav Abdallah wrote Zivchei Tzedek, which consists of his psakim in Yoreh Deah, Etz Hasadeh on Maseches Beitzah and other masechtos, and other sefarim.

Zechuso yagen aleinu.


September 2

In 1789, the United States Treasury Department was established.

In 1864, during the Civil War, Union Gen. William T. Sherman’s forces occupied Atlanta.

In 1901, Vice President Theodore Roosevelt offered the advice, “Speak softly and carry a big stick” in a speech at the Minnesota State Fair.

In 1945, Ho Chi Minh declared Vietnam an independent republic.