This Day in History – 8 Adar I/February 17

In 5434/1674, the Jews of Barbados were granted permission to take an oath on the Torah. Also on this date, but 151 years later, Jews of Maryland were allowed to take a non-Christian oath.



5548/1788, Harav Gershon of Lotzk, zt”l, talmid of the Mezhritcher Maggid

5549/1789, Harav Aryeh Leib Hanover, zt”l, son of the Pnei Yehoshua

5692/1932, Harav Avraham Noach Paley, zt”l, of ­Shklov-Yerushalayim (Adar I)


5690/1930, Harav Yosef Yedid, zt”l, mechaber of Yemei Yosef

Harav Yosef Yedid Halevi was born in Chalav (Aleppo) Syria in 5627/1867. His father, Harav Mordechai, was a close talmid of Harav Avraham Addes.

Initially, Rav Yosef assisted his father in his job as melamed in the local Talmud Torah. In 5650/1890, at the age of 23, Rav Yosef moved to Eretz Yisrael and settled in Tzfas. In 5671/1911, he moved on to Yerushalayim, where he was appointed Av Beis Din of its Syrian community.

Rav Yosef lived in dire poverty all his life and experienced much tragedy. Four sons and a daughter passed away during his lifetime; only one son survived him.

Rav Yosef would travel as a shaliach for tzedakah matters to North Africa.

He authored four sefarim: Toras Chacham, various halachos and minhagim in regard to the respect of a talmid chacham; Yemei Yosef, a two-part work, a collection of his halachic responsa on the four parts of Shulchan Aruch (She’eiris Yosef, a compilation of various halachic discussions and drashos, was added as an appendix); Birkas Yosef, on hilchos brachos; and Vayechi Yosef, on the halachic ramifications of various names in regard to gittin.

All of his sefarim received warm haskamos from the leading Rabbanim of Yerushalayim, of both the Ashkenazic and Sephardic communities.

Rav Yosef was niftar on 8 Adar 5690/1930 in Yerushalayim, at age 63.

Zecher tzaddik livrachah.


Feb. 17

In 1815, the United States and Britain exchanged the instruments of ratification for the Treaty of Ghent, ending the War of 1812.

In 1863, the International Red Cross was founded in Geneva.

In 1944, during World War II, U.S. forces invaded Eniwetok Atoll, encountering little initial resistance from Imperial Japanese troops. (The Americans secured the atoll less than a week later.)

In 1964, the Supreme Court, in Wesberry v. Sanders, ruled that congressional districts within each state had to be roughly equal in population.