This Day in History – 3 Sivan/May 21

In 2449/1313 B.C.E., Moshe Rabbeinu conveyed Bnei Yisrael’s affirmative reply to Hashem as they prepared themselves for Mattan Torah.

In 4446/68 C.E., Vespasian Caesar, father of Titus, captured Yericho and killed its inhabitants.

In 4856/1096, Crusaders massacred the Jews of Magentze (Mayence, Mainz) Germany on this date and again on 6 Sivan.

In 4925/1165, the Rambam reached Eretz Yisrael safely after a turbulent journey. He designated this day as a personal Yom Tov.

In 5550/1790, anti-Jewish riots erupted in Warsaw, Poland.



5490/1730, Harav Yosef Irgas of Livorno, Italy, author of Divrei Yosef and Shomer Emunim (according to some, his yahrtzeit is 20 Sivan)

5561/1801, Harav Yaakov Shimshon of Shpitivka


5704/1944, Harav Yisrael Tzvi Rottenberg of Kosson, the Or Malei, Hy”d

Harav Yisrael Tzvi was born on Sukkos 5650/1890. His father, Harav Yehosef of Kosson, author of Bnei Shileishim, was the founder of the Kosson dynasty.

Rav Yosef settled in Kosson (Kossyny, Ukraine, on the southern border with Hungary, south of the Carpathian Mountains) in 5657/1897. There he served as Rav and Rebbe and enhanced Yiddishkeit to a great degree. He had five sons: Harav Chaim Shlomo of Kosson; Harav Moshe Shmuel of Kleinvardein; Harav Yisrael Tzvi of Kosson; Harav Meir Shalom; and Harav Yom Tov Menachem of Nafkur-Kaliv.

Rav Yisrael Tzvi married the daughter of his oldest brother, Harav Chaim Shlomo. After her untimely petirah, he married her younger sister. Later yet, he married the daughter of Harav Shalom Eliezer Halberstam of Ratzfert, from the Sanzer dynasty.

After the petirah of his brother Harav Chaim Shlomo in 5680/1920, Rav Yisrael Tzvi was called upon, as his brother and son-in-law, to succeed him. The Rebbe established a thriving yeshivah in which over 100 bachurim studied and refined themselves to higher spiritual levels under his fatherly guidance.

During WWII, when thousands of Polish Jews fled to Hungary and other areas, Rav Yisrael Tzvi sheltered over 40 refugees in his own home.

When the Nazis invaded that area, he and all his children and grandchildren were transported to Auschwitz, where they were killed al kiddush Hashem. His brother, Rav Yom Tov Menachem, had been killed a few days earlier. Hashem yinkom damam. Only his son-in-law, Harav Chananya Yom Tov Lipa Teitelbaum of Nirbater, survived the war.

Rav Yisrael Tzvi’s Torah thoughts were published as Or Malei (New York: 5718/1958). The current Kossoner dynasty is descended from Harav Chaim Shlomo, whose son, Harav Moshe Shmuel, moved to New York before the war. He later ascended to Eretz Yisrael, in 5721/1961.


May 21

In 1542, Spanish explorer and conquistador Hernando de Soto died along the Mississippi River while searching for gold.

In 1819, bicycles were first seen in the U.S. in New York City. They were originally known as “swift walkers.”

In 1881, Clara Barton founded the American Red Cross.

In 1927, Charles A. Lindbergh landed his Spirit of St. Louis monoplane near Paris, completing the first solo airplane flight across the Atlantic Ocean in 33 1/2 hours.

In 1941, a German U-boat sank the American merchant steamship SS Robin Moor in the South Atlantic after the ship’s passengers and crew were allowed to board lifeboats.

In 1982, during the Falklands War, British amphibious forces landed on the beach at San Carlos Bay.