This Day in History – 20 Av/August 5

In 5318/1558, the first printed edition of the Zohar was published.



5536/1776, Harav Yosef Steinhart, author of Zichron Yosef.

5704/1944, Harav Levi Yitzchak Schneerson, father of the previous Lubavitcher Rebbe, zy”a, Rav of Yekaterinoslav (currently Dnepropetrovsk). He was arrested by the Stalinist regime and exiled to Kazakhstan, where he was niftar.


5677/1917, Harav Aharon Twersky of Skver-Kiev, zy”a

Harav Aharon was born in 5632/1872. His father was Harav Dovid of Skver, a son of Harav Yitzchok of Skver, the founder of the Skverer dynasty, and the son of the Chernobyler Maggid, Harav Mordechai.

Rav Aharon, as he was known, married Rebbetzin Bracha, the daughter of Harav Yitzchok Friedman of Bohush, the founder of the Bohush dynasty, and grandson of Harav Yisrael of Ruzhin.

Rav Dovid of Skver, father of Rav Aharon, fled the notorious Communist Revolution in 5679/1919 and traveled with his family to Kiev. The Rebbe was severely weakened by the plight of thousands of Jews, among them many of his family members, who were uprooted from their communities throughout Russia or killed during those terrible years. In 5759/1919 Rav Dovid was niftar and was buried in Kiev.

His son, Rav Aharon, had come to Kiev before his father’s arrival. While there, he was a devoted Rebbe to the local chassidim. To everyone’s sorrow, however, he was niftar at a very young age, 45.

Rav Aharon’s brothers, Harav Mordechai, Harav Moshe and Harav Shlomo were all niftar during the years 5679-80/1919-20. They, too, are buried in Kiev. Their youngest brother was Harav Yaakov Yosef of Skver, who later emigrated to America.

Another brother, Harav Menachem Nachum, moved to New York and is buried in the Beth David cemetery in Queens.

A son, Harav Shlomo, z“l, who lived in Yerushalayim, survived Reb Aharon.

Zechusam yagen aleinu.


August 5

In 1864, during the Civil War, Union Adm. David G. Farragut led his fleet to victory in the Battle of Mobile Bay, Alabama.

In 1884, the cornerstone for the Statue of Liberty’s pedestal was laid on Bedloe’s Island in New York Harbor.

In 1914, what’s believed to be the first electric traffic light system was installed in Cleveland, Ohio, at the intersection of East 105th Street and Euclid Avenue. Also, Montenegro declared war on Austria-Hungary, at the start of World War I.

In 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt established the National Labor Board, which was later replaced with the National Labor Relations Board.

In 1962, South African anti-apartheid activist Nelson Mandela was arrested, beginning 27 years of imprisonment.