This Day in History – 19 Teves/January 1

The shaar blatt of Divrei Simchah.
The shaar blatt of Divrei Simchah.

In 5243/1482, the first volume of the Talmud Bavli, Maseches Brachos, was printed in Soncino, Italy.

In 5450/1689, the Jewish community of Ancona, Italy, miraculously escaped unharmed from an earthquake. They declared a fast day in commemoration and the following day, 21 Teves, was celebrated as a Purim.



4965/1204, Rabbeinu Moshe ben Maimon, the Rambam, zt”l

5640/1880, Harav Yaakov Abuchatzeira, zt”l, the Abir Yaakov

5741/1980, Harav Rafael Eliyahu Eliezer Mishkovski, zt”l, Rosh Yeshivah of Kfar Chassidim


5674/1914, Harav Simchah Yissachar Ber Halberstam of Chechanov, zt”l

Harav Simchah Yissachar Ber Halberstam was the son of Harav Yechezkel Shraga of Shinive. He was born in 5629/1869 in Stropkov. He was cherished by his father, who said of him: “He is my chiyus.”

Once his mother took the child to his grandfather, the Divrei Chaim of Sanz, who promised her that her son would enlighten the world. Reb Simchah Yissachar Ber would later say that he was pleased that he knew his grandfather, since while the Gemara (Bava Metzia 85a) says that a talmid chacham whose son and grandson are talmidei chachamim is guaranteed that the Torah will never forsake his descendants, this only applies if the first three generations actually see one other.

In 5646/1886, Reb Simchah Yissachar Ber married the daughter of Harav Yehoshua of Belz, zy”a.

In 5653/1893, Reb Simchah Yissachar Ber was appointed Rav in Chechanov. After the petirah of his father on 6 Teves 5659/1898, Reb Simchah Yissachar Ber became Rebbe in Chechanov. Even though he was a younger son of his father, his court attracted thousands, among them many prominent Rabbanim.

Reb Simchah Yissachar Ber was known as a Gadol baTorah and a kana’i. He fought against the Zionist movement.

The divrei Torah and letters of Reb Simchah Yissachar Ber were collected as Divrei Simchah.

Reb Simchah Yissachar Ber was niftar on 20 Teves 5674/1914 at the age of 44. He was buried in Chechanov.

Zechuso yagen aleinu.


Jan. 1

In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, declaring that slaves in rebel states shall be “forever free.”

In 1913, the U.S. Parcel Post system went into operation.

In 1959, Fidel Castro and his revolutionaries overthrew Cuban leader Fulgencio Batista, who fled to the Dominican Republic.

In 1994, the North American Free Trade Agreement went into effect.