Yahrtzeits, Friday, 11 Nissan
Rav Moshe ben Nachman, the Ramban, (1194-1270). Born in Gerona, he remained there most of his life. He was a student of the Ramah (Rabbeinu Meir ha’Levi Abulefia). He authored the Milchamos Hashem on the Rif Alfasi against the critique of Baal HaMaor and Ravad. He also wrote a work defending the Bahag against the Rambam’s criticisms of his classification of mitzvos. He wrote an account of his public disputation in Barcelona with the convert Pablo Christiani in 1263. The Ramban’s commentary on Chumash is multi-dimensional including all methods of interpretation from simple pshat to esoteric Kabbala. The Ramban held that the mitzva of settling Eretz Yisrael applies even today and ultimately settled there himself during the last years of his life.
Rav Yeshayah Horowitz, author of Shnei Luchos Habris (Shelah Hakodesh) (1560-1630), born in Prague, where he became chief rabbi. In his later years he moved to Eretz Yisrael and became the chief rabbi of Yerushalayim.
Rav Betzalel Hakohen of Vilna, author of Mareh Kohen (1878)
Yahrtzeits, Shabbos, 12 Nissan
Rav Shlomo Zalman Lifshitz, Rav of Warsaw, author of Chemdas Shlomo (1839) [11 Nissan according to Yated 2007 and 2008] Rav Shlomo was born in Posen, which was part of Poland at the time. Rav Shlomo learned under the son-in-law of the Noda bi’Yehuda. After being supported by his father-in-law for 22 years, he took up the yoke of rabbanus in about 1804. His first position was in Nashlask, Poland. After 15 years, Rav Shlomo moved to the Warsaw neighborhood of Praga, and in 1819 he became the first chief rav of Warsaw, which boasted 5,000 Jewish families and was the largest and wealthiest kehillah in Poland. An official 1826 census found that 2,500 talmidim were studying in 215 chedarim. However, an 1827 government report estimated that 25% of Polish Jews had no livelihood. After serving as rav of Warsaw for 25 years, Rav Shlomo fell ill and passed away. Rav Shlomo was survived by his son Rav Yoel from his first marriage.
Rav Shimshon Dovid Pincus (1944-2001). Born to Rav Chaim Avraham and Chava Leah Pincus in the United States, he learned at Brisk in Yerushalayim. He married Chaya Mindel, daughter of Rav Mordechai Man, Rosh Yeshiva of Kenesses Chizkiyahu, and continued his studies in Bnei Brak. Then, in 1981, upon the request of the Steipler Gaon and Rav Shach, he moved into the Negev to start up the community at Ofakim
Today in History – 11 Nissan
· London Jews were martyred following ritual charges, 1279.
· Prussian ruler Frederick the Great imposed oppressive restrictions upon Jews, 1750. His anti-Jewish policies were proof that anti-Semitism would survive in the age of “Enlightenment”.
· Birthday of the last Lubavitcher Rebbe (1902)
· First two Nazi anti-Jewish decrees, barring Jews from public service and law, 1933.
· Nazis establish Kielce ghetto, 1941
Today in History – 12 Nissan
· Ezra and his followers departed from the River Ahava on their way to Yerushalayim, 373 B.C.E.
· The Dutch West India Co. granted Michael Cardozo the right to practice law in Brazil, a privilege no other Jew enjoyed at that time anywhere else, 1645.
· Jews from Mashad, Iran were forcibly converted and a pogrom perpetrated against them, 1839.
· The Russian revolutionary government granted equality to all Russian Jews for the first time in Russian history, 1917. (In the first decade of the 20th century Russia had about 50 percent of the total world Jewish population under its effective control and domination. The grant of equality by the Russian revolutionary government thus affected a major part of world Jewry. By the end of the second decade Russia had only about 18 percent of the total Jewish population under its jurisdiction.)