This Day in History – 11 Adar II/March 13

11 Adar II

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.


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

5585/1825, Harav Moshe Yehoshua Heshel of Rohatyn, zt”l

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

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

5726/1966, Harav Chananya Yom Tov Lipa Teitelbaum, zt”l, the Sassover Rebbe

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



Harav Shmuel Strashun, zt”l, The Rashash of Vilna

Harav Shmuel was born in 5554/1794 in Zaskevich, a suburb of Vilna. His father, Harav Yosef, was a close confidant of Harav Avraham Danzig, the Chayei Adam, to whom he later sent his son to learn.

Initially educated by his father, Harav Shmuel became a proficient talmid chacham, renowned for his sharp and clear mind.

At a relatively early age, Harav Shmuel married the daughter of Harav Dovid Strashun and settled near his father-in-law in the village of Streszyn, commonly called Strashun (near Vilna), where he assumed the family surname.

In 1812, the distillery owned by his father-in-law was vandalized by the invading French army; the family moved to Vilna, where they re-established it. In Vilna, Harav Shmuel became one of the most prominent members of the community. His wife conducted the business, while he devoted most of his time to learning and teaching, without salary, the many talmidim who gathered about him. His derech halimud was based on that of the Vilna Gaon: to clarify each and every point and end up with a clear conclusion, without elaborate pilpulim and sevaros.

The shiurim which he delivered daily for many years and the discussions that followed are the basis for his annotations, incorporated in the Talmud Bavli
as Hagahos v’Chiddushei HaRashash. These notes cover the entire Shas except for eight amudim. First printed in the Vilna Shas by the Rom family press (the Roms were related to the Rashash), they have been reprinted in every edition since.

Besides his chiddushim on Shas, the Rashash also wrote chiddushim on the Midrash Rabbah, as well as Mekorei HaRambam.

His fame as a talmid chacham spread throughout Russia, and he corresponded with several well-known Rabbanim. He was offered the rabbinate of Suvalk but he refused it, preferring to retain his independence.

His famous library containing 5,800 sefarim, one of the largest private libraries in the world, was donated to the Vilna kehillah, with the condition that all who wanted to would be free to make use of it.

Harav Shmuel was niftar at the age of 78 on 11 Adar II 5632/1872 in Vilna, and was buried there near the kever of Harav Avraham Abba Possboler.

Zecher tzaddik livrachah.


March 13

In 1781, the seventh planet of the solar system, Uranus, was discovered by Sir William Herschel.

In 1862, President Abraham Lincoln signed a measure prohibiting Union military officers from returning fugitive slaves to their owners.

In 1901, the 23rd President of the United States, Benjamin Harrison, died in Indianapolis at age 67.

In 1933, banks in the U.S. began to reopen after a “holiday” declared by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

In 1954, the Battle of Dien Bien Phu began during the First Indochina War as communist forces attacked French troops, who were defeated nearly two months later.

In 1969, the Apollo 9 astronauts splashed down, ending a mission that included the successful testing of the Lunar Module.