This Day in History – 28 Nisan/April 17

In 2489/1272 B.C.E., the walls of the fortified city of Yericho fell and the Jews entered and conquered the city. For seven days, Bnei Yisrael marched around the city walls carrying the Aron, preceded by Kohanim sounding the shofar. On the seventh day, a Shabbos, the walls crumbled and the city was conquered (Yehoshua 6). Yehoshua then composed the tefillah of Aleinu Leshabei’ach.


5420/1660, Harav Shabsi Sheftel Horowitz, zt”l, son of the Shelah Hakadosh, mechaber of Vavei Ha’amudim

5681/1921, Harav Yehoshua Pinchas Bombach, zt”l, of Ushpitzin

5688/1928, Harav Yissachar Leib Weinberg of Slonim, zt”l


5761/2001, Harav Aharon Hakohen Rosenfeld, the Pinsk-Karliner Rebbe, zt”l

The Pinsk-Karliner Rebbe’s father, Harav Yitzchak Menashe Hacohen, zt”l, named his son, born in 5687/1927, “Aharon” because his bris took place on Yom Kippur, when the Kohel Gadol would perform his sacred avodah.

The young Aharon attended the Chayei Olam cheder until his bar mitzvah, after which he studied in the Karliner yeshivah in Yerushalayim.

Reb Aharon married the daughter of Harav Chaim Yisrael Halitovsky, z”l.

The tenet he held most dear was the importance of time and the prohibition against wasting it. There was nothing he abhorred more than indolence.

When he was still a young avreich his wife became ill and passed away, leaving him a widower with five young children to care for. During this challenging period, he showed his loving acceptance of Hashem’s decree but did not reduce his punctuality. In spite of the heavy burden that had been thrust upon his inexperienced shoulders, he was careful not to miss any of his sedarim or shiurim. The mussar he gave to others always achieved its goal, since he practiced what he preached.

The Rebbe eventually remarried the almanah of Harav Chaim Tzvi Halberstam, zt”l.

He shared in the experiences of others, living their joys and sorrows, and he became famous for bringing about yeshuos. Even before he became a Rebbe, whenever someone voiced the need for a yeshuah he would immediately open a sefer Tehillim and then, daily, he would recite heartfelt, tearful perakim until he heard that that person had merited a yeshuah.

On Pesach 5751/1991 he became the Rebbe of Pinsk-Karlin. He was like a father to his Chassidim, a spiritual shepherd who humbly and lovingly tended his flock.

The Rebbe was meticulous regarding curriculum and chinuch. Every so often he would assemble the staff of melamdim and maggidei shiur and offer them guidance and encouragement. He would talk about the role of the mechanech in our generation, and how to instill Torah and yiras Shamayim in both young and teen-aged boys.

A year and a half before his petirah he underwent open-heart surgery, after which he remained in critical condition. His uncomplaining acceptance of pain, and his efforts never to offend anyone made a strong impression.

Friday night, parashas Acharei Mos, he led his final tisch and at 2:00 a.m. he felt ill and was rushed to the hospital. All efforts to save his life were futile and he returned his soul to his Maker.

He was buried on Har Hamenuchos in chelkas hachassidim.

Zechuso yagen aleinu.


April 17

In 1492, a contract was signed by Christopher Columbus and a representative of Spain’s King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, giving Columbus a commission to seek a westward ocean passage to Asia.

In 1861, the Virginia State Convention voted to secede from the Union.

In 1905, the U.S. Supreme Court, in Lochner v. New York, struck down, 5–4, a New York State law limiting the number of hours that bakers could be made to work. This ruling was effectively overturned in 1937 by the High Court’s West Coast Hotel Co. v. Parrish decision.

In 1941, Yugoslavia surrendered to Germany during World War II.

In 1961, some 1,500 CIA-trained Cuban exiles launched the disastrous Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba in an attempt to topple Fidel Castro, whose forces crushed the incursion by the third day.

In 1970, Apollo 13 astronauts James A. Lovell, Fred W. Haise and Jack Swigert splashed down safely in the Pacific, four days after a ruptured oxygen tank crippled their spacecraft while en route to the moon.

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