This Day in History – 11 Adar 1/February 11

11 Adar I

In 5194/1434, the pope prohibited anti-Jewish sermons.

In 5235/1475, Rashi Al HaTorah was printed for the first time, in Italy.

In 5248/1488, the Tanach in its entirety was printed for the first time.


5559/1799, Harav Leib, zt”l, the son of Harav Meir of Premishlan, known as “Shomer Shabbos” (Adar I)

5566/1806, Harav Chaim Yosef Dovid Azulai, the Chidah, zt”l

5585/1825, Harav Moshe Yehoshua Heschel of Rohatin, zt”l

5632/1872, Harav Shmuel Shtrassen, zt”l, the Rashash of Vilna

5673/1913, Harav Avraham Abuchatzeira, zt”l, of Teveria

5696/1936, Harav Yosef Rosen of Dvinsk, zt”l, the Rogatchover Gaon

5626/1966, Harav Chananya Yom Tov Lipa, zt”l, the Sassover Rebbe

5740/1980, Harav Menachem Dovid of Chodorov, zt”l

5741/1981, Harav Shmuel Brudny, zt”l, Rosh Yeshivah, Mir Brooklyn



Harav Avraham Borenstein, zt”l, the Avnei Nezer of Sochatchov (Adar I)

Harav Avraham was born in Bendin in 5599/1839. His father, Harav Zev Nochum, was a fiery Kotzker Chassid, the Rav in Biala, and the mechaber of Agudas Ezov.

While still young, Avraham started learning on a steady basis with his father’s talmidim in Bendin. At age 10, Reb Avraham completed Shas and his father hosted a festive seudah in honor of the siyum. His reputation as a wonder-child spread to all of Russia and Poland. Even before his bar mitzvah, Reb Avraham gave shiurim to the talmidim in his father’s yeshivah.

When he was still a young bachur, a match was suggested for him with the daughter of the Kotzker Rebbe. From the day he became his son-in-law, Rav Avraham was bound to the Rebbe, whom he regarded not only as a father-in-law but also as his mentor in Torah. Though the Kotzker Rebbe was famous for his approach to Chassidus, what Rav Avraham learned from him was his derech halimud.

When the Kotzker Rebbe was niftar in 5619/1859, Rav Avraham stayed on in Kotzk for another four years. Then he became Rav in Partzev, and later in Krushnevitz and Sochatchov. In Krushnevitz he opened a yeshivah where talented talmidim came to learn, and where Rav Avraham delivered shiurim every day, each one lasting six to eight hours!

Rav Avraham joined the Kotzker Chassidim who accepted the Chiddushei Harim of Ger as their Rebbe. After the petirah of the Chiddushei Harim seven years later, he traveled to Rav Henoch of Alexander.

With Rav Henoch’s petirah on 18 Adar of that year, most of the Chassidim began following the Chiddushei Harim’s young grandson, the Sfas Emes. But talmidim of Reb Avraham decided to make him their Rebbe. Though he tried to dissuade them, they insisted, and he hesitantly began leading his flock from Krushnevitz, where he was Rav at the time.

In 5636/1876 he became Rav and Rebbe in the city of Nashelsk. Later, when the Rabbanus in Sochatchov became available, he accepted the position. There he led his flock for close to 30 years.

The Sochatchover Rebbe passed on to his talmidim and Chassidim the maxim he learned in Kotzk: “There are many ways to serve the Creator, but all are ways of danger; only the Torah is a sure way of reaching the objective.”

In his last five years, lung disease precluded him from saying shiurim. He was forced to spend much of his time in Otvock, a spa known for its healing qualities. In order to disseminate Torah from there, he decided to publish Eglei Tal, on hilchos Shabbos. Avnei Nezer was compiled by his son, the Shem MiShmuel, from his many responsa.

Early in the morning of 11 Adar I 5670/1910, the Rebbe was niftar; he was buried in Sochatchov.

Zechuso yagen aleinu.


February 11

In 1812, Massachusetts Gov. Elbridge Gerry signed a redistricting law favoring his Democratic-Republican Party, giving rise to the term “gerrymandering.”

In 1862, the Civil War Battle of Fort Donelson began in Tennessee. (Union forces led by Brig. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant captured the fort five days later.)

In 1929, the Lateran Treaty was signed, with Italy recognizing the independence and sovereignty of Vatican City.

In 1937, a six-week-old sit-down strike against General Motors ended, with the company agreeing to recognize the United Automobile Workers Union.

In 1945, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Soviet leader Josef Stalin signed the Yalta Agreement during World War II.

In 1979, followers of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini seized power in Iran.

In 1990, South African black activist Nelson Mandela was freed after 27 years in captivity.

In 2004: A car bomb at an army recruiting center in Baghdad, Iraq, killed 47 people.

Five years ago: The nation’s top bankers went before the House Financial Services Committee, pledging to build public trust with greater lending and fewer perks.

Stewart Parnell, owner of Peanut Corp. of America, repeatedly invoked his right not to incriminate himself at a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee hearing on a salmonella outbreak that had sickened hundreds.

Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.), who first went to Congress in 1955, became the longest-serving member of the U.S. House of Representatives.

President Robert Mugabe swore in longtime rival Morgan Tsvangirai as Zimbabwe’s prime minister.