This Day in History – 8 Nisan/March 19

The Ohio Clock in the U.S. Capitol being turned forward for the country’s first daylight saving time, in 1918.
The Ohio Clock in the U.S. Capitol being turned forward for the country’s first daylight saving time, in 1918.

8 Nisan

It is recorded in Megillas Ta’anis: “From the eighth day of the month until the end of the festival (Pesach), a Yom Tov was declared; fasting and lamenting is forbidden.”

The reason for this is because on this day the Chachamim won the battle with the Tzedokim to declare the Yom Tov of Shavuos 50 days from Pesach, not from Shabbos, as they opined.

In 2449/1312 B.C.E., the nasi of Shevet Menashe, Gamliel ben Pedahtzur, brought his korban.

In 3395/366 B.C.E., the feast of Achashverosh, which had lasted for 180 days, came to an end.

In 4950/1190, the Jews of York, England, were killed by the Crusaders at Clifford’s Tower, after they refused to be baptized. Among the kedoshim were two Baalei Tosafos, Harav Eliyahu Hakadosh and Rabbeinu Yom Tov, H”yd.

This tragedy occurred on a Friday night, hence the “Cherem of York,” an English tradition forbidding Jews to sleep in the city of York overnight. (The names of these Baalei Tosafos appear in Zevachim 14 and in Yuma 48.)


5482/1722, Harav Eliyahu Shapira of Prague, zt”l, mechaber of Eliyahu Rabba and Eliyahu Zuta on the Levushim.

5560/1800, Harav Mordechai of Neshchiz, zt”l

5591/1831, Harav Yaakov Shimshon Shapiro of Zaslav, zt”l

5648/1888, Harav Tzvi Hersh Orenstein of Lvov, zt”l



Harav Yechiel Michel Tukatchinsky, zt”l

Harav Yechiel Michel Tukatchinsky was born on 15 Teves 5634/1874 in Lechovitz, Lithuania. His father, Rav Aharon, was niftar when he was a young boy, and he was brought up by his mother.

In 5642/1882, at the age of eight, he moved to Eretz Yisrael. He settled in Yerushalayim, moving in with his grandfather Rav Moshe Pizitzer. He learned in the famous Yeshivas Eitz Chaim.

In 5657/1897, Reb Yechiel Michel was given semichah by the Rav of Yerushalayim, Harav Shmuel Salant, who was the grandfather of his wife.

Besides authoring many sefarim, Reb Yechiel Michel was active in Yeshivas Eitz Chaim. The yeshivah, founded in 5601/1841 by Harav Shmuel Salant in the Old City of Yerushalayim, moved to Rechov Yaffo in 5668/1908. At that stage, a kollel was also founded alongside the yeshivah. Reb Yechiel Michel, being married to a granddaughter of Harav Salant, was appointed Rosh Yeshivah.

Reb Yechiel Michel was the pioneer and first to publish a calendar that itemizes and specifies the daily zmanim and halachos relevant to each day. It was first published in 5665/1905 and was a compilation of the halachos and minhagim, accustomed by the Prushim, the talmidim of the Vilna Gaon who had settled in Eretz Yisrael.

The zmanim in the calendar were figured out by Reb Yechiel Michel, based on his calculations. This calendar is known as Luach Eretz Yisrael and is still published annually.

Reb Yechiel Michel also wrote other famous sefarim: Gesher Hachaim, on the halachos relevant to aveilim and to the mourning period; Tekufas Hachamah U’birchasah, on the halachos relating to birkas hachamah; Hashemittah, on the halachos of Shemittah; and Sefer Eretz Yisrael, on the mitzvos relevant to Eretz Yisrael.

Reb Yechiel Michel was niftar on 8 Nisan 5715/1955 at the age of 81. He was buried in the cemetery in Sanhedria.

Zecher tzaddik livrachah.


March 19

In 1687, French explorer Rene-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle — the first European to navigate the length of the Mississippi River — was murdered by mutineers in present-day Texas.

In 1863, the Confederate cruiser Georgianna, on its maiden voyage, was scuttled off Charleston, S.C., to prevent it from falling into Union hands.

In 1918, Congress approved Daylight-Saving Time.

In 1920, the Senate rejected, for a second time, the Treaty of Versailles by a vote of 49 in favor, 35 against, falling short of the two-thirds majority needed for approval.

In 1945, 724 people were killed when a Japanese dive bomber attacked the carrier USS Franklin off Japan; the ship, however, was saved.

Adolf Hitler issued his so-called “Nero Decree,” ordering the destruction of German facilities that could fall into Allied hands.

In 1965, the wreck of the Confederate cruiser Georgianna was discovered by E. Lee Spence, 102 years to the day after it had been scuttled.

In 1993, Supreme Court Justice Byron R. White announced plans to retire. (White’s departure paved the way for Ruth Bader Ginsburg to become the court’s second female justice.)

In 2003, President George W. Bush ordered the start of the war against Iraq. (Because of the time difference, it was early March 20 in Iraq.)