This Day in History – 12 Kislev/November 20

12 Kislev


5334/1573, Harav Shlomo Luria of Lublin, the Maharshal, zt”l

5601/1840, Harav Avraham Dov Auerbach, Rav of Avritch, the Bas Ayin, zt”l

5657/1896, Harav Naftali Schwartz, Rav of Mahd, zt”l

5665/1904, Harav Chaim Leibush Horowitz of Cracow, zt”l

5754/1993, Harav Yehoshua Moshe Aharonson, Rav in Petach Tikva, zt”l, mechaber of Yeshuas Moshe and Alei Meroros


Harav Yitzchak Shmuel Lempronti of Ferraro, Italy, Zt”l, mechaber of Pachad Yitzchak

Harav Yitzchak Lempronti was born in the Italian city of Ferrara on 21 Shevat 5439/1679. His grandfather had emigrated to Italy from Constantinople and his father, Rav Shmuel, was a successful businessman there. Seeing that the child was gifted, Rav Shmuel hired a private melamed when little Yitzchak was just three years old.

However, Rav Shmuel was niftar when Shmuel was six. Subsequently, his mother supervised his chinuch. When he was eight years old he entered the yeshivah of the distinguished Rav of his town, Harav Shabbattai Elchanan Recanati, zt”l. Here, Yitzchak excelled in Chumash, Nach and later Gemara.

At fourteen he was sent to the yeshivah of Harav Manoach Provencal, zt”l, at Lugo. Later he went on to the yeshivah in Padua, where he also studied medicine, becoming an excellent physician.

Rav Yitzchak continued learning Torah at Mantua.

At the age of 22 Rav Yitzchak returned to his native Ferrara, where he was appointed Chaver, a title of honor, in the local yeshivah.

Around that time he opened a medical practice, attaining fame as a physician.

Rav Yitzchak married Rachel, the daughter of Harav Moshe Yisrael Nurtzi of Ferraro.

An outstanding talmid chacham, many Rabbanim sent questions in halachah or in Gemara to Rav Yitzchak. Many of his teshuvos were later included in Pachad Yitzchak. He was an inspirational darshan as well.

When Harav Shabbattai Elchanan Recanati was niftar, Rav Yitzchak was chosen as his successor, and shortly afterward was appointed Rosh Yeshivah of the Yeshivah of Ferrara. Hundreds of talmidim went through the yeshivah of Rav Yitzchak.

Rav Yitzchak supported his family through his work as a doctor. Living a very modest life, Rav Yitzchak gave most of his earnings to tzedakah. He supported the yeshivos in his community and assisted many needy talmidei chachamim.

He was largely responsible for the construction of the famed Sephardic shul in Ferrara and gifted it with a beautiful marble aron kodesh.

Rav Yitzchak is best known for Pachad Yitzchak, an encyclopedia which deals with all Talmudic subjects in alphabetical order. He also collected and included many ma’amarei Chazal and other Midrashic material.

Rav Yitzchak was niftar on 12 Kislev 5517/1756 at the age of 77. He was buried in the Jewish cemetery of Ferrara, but no mazteivah marked his resting place due to a papal order forbidding Jews to erect matzeivos and ordering existing ones to be destroyed.

In 5632/1872 the citizens of Ferrara, Jews and non-Jews, raised funds to set a plaque on the house where Rav Yitzchak had lived.

Zecher tzaddik livrachah.

Nov. 20

In 1789, New Jersey became the first state to ratify the Bill of Rights.

In 1967, the U.S. Census Bureau’s Population Clock at the Commerce Department ticked past 200 million.

In 1969, the Nixon administration announced a halt to residential use of the pesticide DDT as part of a total phaseout.

In 1985, the first version of Microsoft’s Windows operating system, Windows 1.0, was officially released.

In 1998, forty-six states embraced a $206 billion settlement with cigarette makers over health costs for treating sick smokers.

In 2000, lawyers for Al Gore and George W. Bush battled before the Florida Supreme Court over whether the presidential election recount should be allowed to continue.