Yahrtzeits – 20 Nissan
-Rav Hai bar Sherira Gaon, rosh yeshivas Pompedisa, last of the Gaonim of Pumpedisa (1038)
-Rav Yitzchak Chori, dayan in Djerba
-Rav Yechezkel Panet of Karlsberg, author of Mareh Yechezkel, 1845.
-Rav Yitzchak Dov Ber of Liadi (1835-1910, grandson of the Tzemach Tzedek, author of Siddur MaHaRiD. He also served as Rebbe in Liadi around the time of the Rebbe Rashab.
Yahrtzeits – 21 Nissan
-Rav Shimon Yisrael Posen, the Shoproner Rav, author of Toras Aleph, 1969.
Yahrtzeits – 22 Nissan
-Rav Yehuda Rosanes of Constantinople, author of Mishneh Lamelech, (1658-1727). He also wrote Parashas Derachim.
-Rav Yitzchak Kalish (1779-1848), founder of the Vorki dynasty, father of Rav Yaakov Dovid (founder of the Amshinov dynasty) and Rav Menachem Mendel, who continued the Vorki dynasty. Through his travels with his teacher, Rav Dovid of Lelov, he became a disciple of Rav Yaakov Yitzchak (the “Chozeh”) of Lublin and of Rav Simchah Bunim of Peshischa. Some of his teachings and stories involving him appear in Ohel Yitzchak and Hutzak Chein, others in Shemu’as Yitzchak.
-Dr. Nathan Birnbaum, 1864-1937. A leader in the early Zionist movement, he is credited for coining the word “Zionism” in 1890. He played a prominent part in the First Zionist Congress (1897) and was elected Secretary General of the Zionist Organization. However, ideological differences with Theodore Herzl led to his leaving the movement. In the years preceding World War I he gradually abandoned his materialistic and secular outlook, eventually embracing full traditional Judaism. He may be seen as the forerunner of the modern Baal Teshuvah movement. His most famous book of this period was Gottesvolk (“G-d’s People”) first published in German and Yiddish in 1917 (translated into English in a shortened form by J. Elias in 1947 titled “Confession”). In 1919, he became the first Secretary General of the new Agudath Yisrael Organization. He lived in Berlin 1921-1933. After the rise of Nazism, he left Germany for Scheveningen, Netherlands, until his death.
Today in History – 20 Nissan
· The first Jewish settlers arrived in Amsterdam, Holland, 1593.
· A blood libel began when a servant girl went missing in Tiza-Eszlar (Hungary), 1882. Although no evidence was found that Jews were involved, the young son of the janitor of the shul was interrogated – whereby he described full details of the “murder.” The Jews were accused of having the girl kidnapped for ritual murder purposes. Fifteen people were brought to trial despite the protests of the non-Jewish leader of the Hungarian Independence Movement and the fact that the girl’s body was found in the river. A year later all of them were acquitted.
· Rumaniabarred Jews from professional and agricultural schools, 1899.
Today in History – 21 Nissan
· After crossing the Yam Suf during the night, Bnei Yisrael escaped their enemies, sang Shira and entered the Shur desert, 1310 BCE.
· Bnei Yisrael couldn’t find water to drink at the end of the 40 years in the desert. They gathered and complained to Moshe Rabbeinu, 1270 BCE.
· The first transport of Jews of Athens, Greece, left for Auschwitz, 1944.
Today in History – 22 Nissan
· Yitzchak was circumcised after 8 days, the first Jew to fulfill the commandment according to halacha, 1715 BCE.
· Yehoshua and the Jews begin to circle Yericho 7 times, 1270 BCE. The encirclement of Yericho, which led to its destruction within seven days, was the beginning of the conquest of Eretz Yisrael.
· The new Austrian constitution guaranteed freedom of religion for Jews, 1848.
· First enclosed and guarded ghetto established by the Nazis in Lodz, 1940.
· In Croatia — as Ustashe were killing fast before closing down the Jasenovac camp — 87 inmates escaped. 1000 others were recaptured or shot while fleeing. Brother Satan, who took part in a World War II massacre of 2,000 Serbs by Ustashe troops and whose real name was Tomislav Filipovic Majstorovic, was defrocked in 1943 but stayed on in the camp, known as “Auschwitz of the Balkans,” where he was said to have killed freely. Independent historians put the number of victims executed there at between 80,000 and 100,000.
· Operation Grapes of Wrath, retaliation against Lebanon for Hizbollah terrorists’ attacks on northern Israel, 1986.