This Day in History – 11 Adar/March 2

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 the first time.


 

Yahrtzeiten

5559/1799, Harav Leib, zt”l, Harav Meir of Premishlan’s son, who was known as the “Shomer Shabbos”

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

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

5670/1910, Harav Avraham Borenstein of Sochatchov, zt”l, the Avnei Nezer

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

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

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


 

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

Harav Chaim Yosef Dovid, commonly known by the acronym of his name — Chidah — was born in Sivan 5484/1724, in Yerushalayim. His father was Harav Yitzchak Zerachiah Azulai.

The Chidah’s piety and brilliance in Torah were already apparent in his youth. At 10 he began learning in the beis medrash of his rebbi and uncle, Harav Yonah Navon, author of Nechpah Bakesef; by the age of 12 he was already composing chiddushim on Hilchos Melichah.

On 15 Elul 5502/1742, when the Chida was 18, Harav Chaim Ben Attar, the Ohr Hachaim Hakadosh, arrived in Yerushalayim. The Chidah immediately joined the holy Gaon’s yeshivah, Knesses Yisrael, for a short period until the Ohr Hachaim was niftar.

When the Chidah was 29 years old, he was sent as an emissary to collect funds for the community of Chevron, which was suffering from extreme poverty. When he presented his letters of introduction to the wealthy men of the Frankfurt community, they told him they could not give him any money, for they had no one among them who could verify the authenticity of the signatures.

The Chidah’s solution was to visit Harav Yaakov Yehoshua Pollack, the Pnei Yehoshua, zt”l, who was able to match the signatures from letters he himself had received from the Rabbanim of Yerushalayim verifying the authenticity of the Chidah’s letters. With the warm haskamah, he was able to collect huge sums of money.

In Shevat 5524/1764, the Chidah left Eretz Yisrael for the second time on a mission to benefit the community of Yerushalayim. Instead of returning to Eretz Yisrael, he became Chief Rabbi of Alexandria, where he served for five years.

In 5529/1769, he left his rabbinical post in Egypt, returned to Eretz Yisrael and settled in Chevron.

On Erev Rosh Chodesh Cheshvan 5533/1772, he was sent on a third mission, his second on behalf of the city of Chevron.

Despite his extensive travels, the Chidah composed an astounding total of 80 works, 60 of which were published. They covered topics in Halachah, Aggadah and Kabbalah.

The Chidah was niftar on Leil Shabbos, 11 Adar 5566/1806, in Livorno and was mourned by all of Klal Yisrael. In 5720/1960, when the authorities were planning to desecrate his holy kever, his remains were brought to Eretz Yisrael for reburial on Har Hamenuchos. Many open nissim occurred then, further attesting to the Chidah’s greatness and holiness.

Zechuso yagen aleinu.


 

March 2

In 1836, the Republic of Texas formally declared its independence from Mexico.

In 1865, Congress established the position of Naval Judge Advocate General.

In 1917, Puerto Ricans were granted U.S. citizenship as President Woodrow Wilson signed the Jones-Shafroth Act.

In 1939, the Massachusetts legislature voted to ratify the Bill of Rights, 147 years after the first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution had gone into effect. (Georgia and Connecticut soon followed.)

In 1955, nine months before Rosa Parks’ famous act of defiance, Claudette Colvin, a black high school student in Montgomery, Alabama, was arrested after refusing to give up her seat on a public bus to a white passenger.

In 1972, the United States launched the Pioneer 10 space probe, which flew past Jupiter in late 1973, sending back images and scientific data.