This Day in History – 24 Av/July 31

Astronaut James Irwin beside the Rover parked near the lunar module, looking northeast, with Mount Hadley in the background, 1971.(AP Photo)
Astronaut James Irwin beside the Rover parked near the lunar module, looking northeast, with Mount Hadley in the background, 1971.(AP Photo)

24 Av

According to Megillas Taanis the Chashmona’im reinstated the rule of Jewish civil law, replacing Hellenic secular law, and declared this day a Yom Tov.

According to the Gemara, however (Bava Basra 115), this incident took place on 24 Teves.


5501/1741, Harav Aharon of Terebeli, zt”l, mechaber of Machneh Aharon

5588/1828, Harav Ephraim Zalman Margulies, zt”l, Rav of Brody

5699/1939, Harav Shalom Halperin, the first Vaslauer Rebbe, zt”l



Harav Dovid Ortinberg of Berditchev, zt”l,
the Tehillah LeDovid

Harav Dovid Ortinberg was the son of Harav Yisrael Tzvi, who was one of the inner group of Chassidim of the Saraf of Strelisk. Reb Yisrael Tzvi was a descendant of Harav Zev Wolf of Zhitomir, the Ohr Hameir.

After the petirah of the Strelisker Rebbe, Reb Yisrael Tzvi went to the Ruzhiner Rebbe. His son, Reb Dudia as he was called, was a devoted Chassid of the Ruzhiner and later of his children.

Shortly after his marriage at age 18, Reb Dudia was asked by the kehillah of Berditchev to serve as Dayan in their city. This was just 40 years after the petirah of the Kedushas Levi of Berditchev, whose influence was still strong in the city. (After the petirah of the Kedushas Levi, no one was ever named Rav of Berditchev, only Dayan; no one, it was agreed, could replace the Kedushas Levi.) This was a prestigious position, as the city was home to many talmidei chachamim.

Even as Rav, Reb Dudia continued to travel to the Ruzhiner Rebbe, and later to his son, Harav Avraham Yaakov, the Sadigura Rebbe, and then to his son, the Boyaner Rebbe. He was noted for his bitul to his Rebbes, despite being a Rav and talmid chacham or, as some Chassidim said, because of that.

Reb Dudia wrote several well-known halachah sefarim: Tehillah LeDovid on Hilchos Shabbos and Shoham Veyoshpeh on Rambam.

Reb Dudia was niftar on 24 Av 5670/1910, and buried in Berditchev.

Zecher tzaddik livrachah.


July 31

On July 31, 1777, the Marquis de Lafayette, a 19-year-old French nobleman, was made a major-general in the American Continental Army.

In 1875, the 17th president of the United States, Andrew Johnson, died in Carter County, Tenn., at age 66.

In 1919, Germany’s Weimar Constitution was adopted by the republic’s National Assembly.

In 1942, Oxfam International had its beginnings as the Oxford Committee for Famine Relief was founded in England.

In 1953, Sen. Robert A. Taft of Ohio, known as “Mr. Republican,” died in New York at age 63.

In 1971, Apollo 15 crew members David Scott and James Irwin became the first astronauts to use a lunar rover on the surface of the moon.

In 1972, Democratic vice-presidential candidate Thomas Eagleton withdrew from the ticket with George McGovern following disclosures that Eagleton had once undergone psychiatric treatment.

In 1991, President George H.W. Bush and Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev signed the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty in Moscow.