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)
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