This Day in History – 22 Adar I/March 2

In 5190/1430, a miracle happened in the kehillah of Rome: When the authorities decreed that every Jew must either convert or be killed, an earthquake rocked the city and the decree was annulled.


 

Yahrtzeiten

5662/1902, Harav Yaakov of Novominsk, zt”l

5687/1927, Harav Eliezer Dovid of Radoshitz, zt”l

5718/1958, Harav Reuven Grozovsky, zt”l

5763/2003, Harav Yisrael Moshe Dushinsky, zt”l


 

5668/1908, Harav Yechiel Michel Epstein, zt”l, the Aruch HaShulchan

Harav Yechiel Michel was born on 20 Shevat 5590/1830 in Boibrisk, Lithuania. His father was Harav Aharon Yitzchak, a pious Jew who had Torah u’gedulah b’makom echad.

Yechiel Michel was a diligent talmid, admired by the townspeople as their young iluy. When he was merely 10 years old, he participated in Torah discussions with the Torah scholars of Boibrisk.

He married the daughter of the wealthy Rav Yaakov Berlin (the father of the Netziv of Volozhin), and after his chasunah he devoted his energy to learning and growing in Torah and avodas Hashem. Unfortunately, this period of tranquility did not last long; his father-in-law lost his wealth and was no longer able to support him.

Unwilling to accept a rabbanus, he opened a small clothing shop that his Rebbetzin managed with great devotion for over 30 years while Reb Yechiel Mechel sat and learned all day. She never even permitted him to step into the store!

His first position was as Rosh Yeshivah in Yeshivas Reb Altshul in Boibrisk; he was later appointed Rav in Novozovkov, where his first sefer, Ohr Layesharim, appeared. Subsequently he became Rav in the city of Novardok. He commanded great respect from Jews and gentiles alike.

Aruch Hashulchan, written while he was Rav in Novardok, expands on the Shulchan Aruch, elucidating it based on the ­Rishonim and Acharonim and giving authoritative piskei halachah. He said that, without siyatta ­diShmaya, he would not have been able to complete this monumental work. He also authored Aruch Hashulchan He’asid, in which he brilliantly sorts out the dinim that will be relevant with the coming of Moshiach.


 

March 2

In 1865, Congress established the position of Naval Judge Advocate General.

In 1917, Puerto Ricans were granted U.S. citizenship as President Woodrow Wilson signed the Jones-Shafroth Act.

In 1955, nine months before Rosa Parks’ famous act of defiance, Claudette Colvin, a black high-school student in Montgomery, Alabama, was arrested after refusing to give up her seat on a public bus to a white passenger.

In 1972, the United States launched the Pioneer 10 space probe, which flew past Jupiter in late 1973, sending back images and scientific data.