Rav Shmuel Yehuda Katzenellenbogen (1521-1597). The son of Rav Meir of Padua (the Maharam Padua), Rav Shmuel was born in Padua. He served on the Beis Din of Venice and became Rav of the city and headed its yeshiva. His sefer, Drashos R’ Shmuel Yehuda, also called Shteim Esre Drashos, is sometimes erroneously named Drashos Mahari Mintz.
Rav Yaakov Temerlis (1668). Borns in Worms, he traveled to Lublin and then Kremenitz, Poland. Late in life, he moved to Vienna. His sefarim included Sifra DiTzniyusa DeYaakov, a kabbalistic commentary on the Torah.
Rav Chaim Abulafya, born in Chevron, Rav of Tzefas, Izmir (Turkey), Tveria (1660-1744), known as a miracle worker
Rav Aharon Roth, author of Shomer Emunim (1947)
Rav Meir Dan Plotsky of Warsaw (1866-1928), the son of Rav Chaim Yitzchak Ber Plotzker from Kutno, a chassid of Rav Chanoch Henich of Alexander, and then of the Sfas Emes of Ger. At the age of nine, Reb Meir Dan was sent to learn in the yeshiva of Rav Chaim Eliezer Wacks, the Nefesh Chayah, in Kalish. Shortly before his Bar Mitzvah, he became a talmid of Rav Avraham of Sochotchov, the Avnei Nezer, whom he considered his lifelong rebbi muvhak. He married at the age of 15 and spent the next 10 years in Dvohrt with his in-laws. In 1891, he became Rav in Dvohrt. Later he helped expose the forged Yerushalmi on Kodshim, claimed to be discovered by Shlomo Yehuda Friedlander, who also claimed he was a Sefardi named Shlomo Yehuda Algazi. At the age of 36, he published his work on the Sefer Hamitzvos of the Rambam, called Chemdas Yisrael. In 1918, he became Rav of Ostrov-Mozbaisk in eastern Poland. He was voted chairman of Agudas Harabbanim of Poland, a prelude to Agudas Israel. At the age of 60, he left rabbanus to head a large yeshiva in Warsaw, known simply as the Mesivta. Rav Meir Dan also authored Kli Chemda on Chumash and Chemdas Shlomo on Orach Chaim.
Today in History – 6 Nissan
· One of the more notorious blood libels, 1475. A Franciscan monk, Bernardinus of Feltre, Italy came to Trent and began preaching against the Jews during Lent sermons. A week before Easter a boy by the name of Simon drowned in the River Adige. The monk charged the Jews with using the body for its blood. The body washed up a few days later near the house of a Jew who brought it to the Bishop Honderbach. 17 Jews were tortured for over two weeks. Some confessed under the torture. 6 Jews were burnt and two more were strangled. Pope Sixtus IV ordered a temporary hiatus, but after five years the trial was reopened and 5 more Jews were executed. The papal inquest agreed with the trial, Simon was beatified, and all Jews were expelled from the province for 300 years. The trial served as the basis for anti-Semitic writings for hundreds of years. Only in 1965 was Simon debeatified and the Church admitted the confessions extracted under torture were
· Emperor Charles V issued a general safe-conduct to Portuguese “New Christians” and Marranos (though not to those who professed to being Jewish), allowing them to live and work in Antwerp, 1526. Although they still had to live under cover, they were safe from the Inquisition which was not allowed to operate in the Southern “Low Countries,” though they were under Spanish rule. Only after the Treaty of Utrecht (1713), when Antwerp passed to Austrian rule, were the Jews able to live there openly.
· Jews of Genoa, Italy, were expelled, 1550.
· Shechita was prohibited in Saxony, 1893.