Yahrtzeits, Friday, 4 Nissan
Rav Yaakov Tzvi Mecklenberg, author of HaKesav Vehakabala (1785-1865). A talmid of Rav Akiva Eiger, Rav Yaakov Tzvi was appointed Rav of Kenigsberg, Germany, spending years fighting against the Reform movement. In addition to his most famous work, he also wrote Iyun Tefilla, which was printed together with another perush on tefilla called Derech Hachaim by the Nesivos Hamishpat.
Rav Yochanan Twersky of Rachmistrivka (1816-1895), son of the Maggid of Chernobyl.
Rav Avraham Yehoshua Heschel of Mezhibuzh-Tanipol (1943)
Yahrtzeits, Shabbos, 5 Nissan
Rav Avraham Yehoshua Heshel of Apt, the Ohev Yisrael (1755-1825). He learned under Rav Elimelech of Lizhensk and Rav Yechiel Michel of Zlotchov. In 1800 he accepted the post of Rabbi of Apta. Although he held many other rabbinic positions, to the chasidim he remained always the Apter Rav. He lived his last years in Medzibosh, the birthplace of the Baal Shem Tov.
Rav Shneur Zalman Ashkenazi of Lublin, Rav of Polotzk, Lublin; author of Toras Chessed (1830-1902).
Rav Reuven Yosef (ben Avraham Yitzchak) Gershonowitz. (1915-1995) Born in Lapitsh in the Minsk area of the Ukraine, he was taken by his father to the yeshiva katana in Lida at the age of 10. He continued his learning at Kamenitz in 1931, under Rav Baruch Ber. In 1936, Rav Reuven joined his family in Eretz Yisrael; he became a talmid of the Lomza Yeshiva in Petach Tikva. In 1946, he began giving chaburos in the yeshiva. In 1965, he became rosh yeshiva of Chemdas Shmuel in a moshav called Chemed. At first he kept his position at Lomza yeshiva, giving two shiurim be’iyun on two different masechtos every Monday, but the Lomza yeshiva closed a short while thereafter. In 1976, Rav Reuven was called upon to serve as rosh yeshiva of Yeshivas Hanegev in Netivot.
Rav Tzvi Elimelech (ben Dovid) Spira (1841-1924). A grandson of the Bnei Yissaschar, Reb Tzvi Elimelech became very close to the Sanzer Rav, at a very early age. At the age of 16, he married a great-granddaughter of Rav Naftali Tzvi of Ropshitz. He was appointed Av Beis Din of Bluzhov. In 1874, with the passing of his father, his older brother, Rav Naftali Hertz, became Rebbe of Dinov, but with his passing a few years later, most of the Chasidim followed Rav Tzvi Elimelech, who then became known as the Bluzhover Rebbe.
Today in History – 4 Nissan
· Decree passed ordering the Jews of Barcelona to kneel when meeting a priest with the sacraments, 1302.
· Local farmers, led by monks, attacked the Jewish neighborhood in Arles, France, 1484. A number of people were killed and 50 men were forced to accept Christianity.
· Anti-Jewish riots broke out in Dabrowa, Poland, 1938.
· A convoy of physicians, scientists, and guards, totaling 75 people, were ambushed on the way to Har Hatzofim in Yerushalayim, 1948.
Today in History – 5 Nissan
· Yehoshua sent scouts to survey Yericho and the surrounding territory, 1270 BCE.
· Rabbi Ovadia MiBartenura, famous for his peirush on Mishnayos, arrived in Yerushalayim, 1488.
· Rechovot was attacked by Arabs, 1893.
· Jews of Tel Aviv and Yaffo were expelled by the Turks, 1917
· The Polish army executed 35 young Jews who had helped distribute packages sent by the Joint to the Jewish community of Pinsk, 1919.
· The official Nazi boycott of German Jewish merchants started, 1933.
· 2500 Lublin Jews massacred, the remainder deported, 1942.
· Dr. Jonas Salk announced his polio vaccine, 1953.