This Day in History – 16 Iyur/May 1

Shaar blatt of Meir Einei Chachamim, the Maharam of Lublin on Shas.

16 Iyar

In 5699/1939, the Nuremburg anti-Jewish laws went into effect in Hungary.

In 5705/1945, the Dachau concentration camp was liberated.


Yahrtzeiten

5616/1856, Harav Shmuel Waldberg, Rav of Yaroslav, zt”l

5763/2003, Harav Yechiel Michel Feinstein, zt”l, Rosh Yeshivas Beis Yehudah

5766/2006, Harav Tzvi Hirsh Rosenbaum, Kretchenif Rebbe, zy”a


5370/1610

Harav Meir, the Maharam of Lublin, zt”l

The Maharam was born in 5318/1558 to Harav Gedalya, the son of Harav Yitzchok of Lvov, who in turn, was the son of Harav Asher Lemel, zt”l, who served as Av Beis Din in Cracow.

The Maharam displayed great diligence in his youth, and soon became a close talmid of Harav Yitzchak Hakohen Shapiro, zt”l, the Rosh Yeshivah of Cracow. The closeness between this Rebbi and his talmid grew to such an extent that Rav Yitzchak chose him to be his son-in-law. The Maharam respected his Rebbi/father-in-law greatly; he would sign off his letters and responsa, “Meir, the son-in-law of the king.”

After the petirah of his esteemed father-in-law, as a young talmid chacham of twenty-five, the Maharam set out for Lublin, where he founded a yeshivah. He led the yeshivah for five years, and then returned to Cracow, where he assumed responsibility for the yeshivah of his late father-in-law.

In 5355/1595 the Maharam moved to Lvov, where he served as a Rav, and taught many talmidim. He remained in Lvov for eighteen years, but his stay there was not always peaceful. His Rebbetzin was niftar in 5364/1604, and he subsequently married the daughter of Harav Pinchas, zt”l, the Rav of Fulda and Kremzir. He also suffered a terrible fire that destroyed all of his belongings, as evident from a number of his published teshuvos.

A complicated din Torah regarding a divorce case whose validity was being questioned divided most of the gedolei hador of that time. The Maharam held that the divorce was invalid, and he came out forcefully against it, opposing the S”ma, who resided in Lvov at the time and held that the get was kosher. The incident caused great turmoil in the Torah world and, due to the resulting machlokes, the Maharam was forced to leave Lvov and return to Lublin.

After returning to Lublin, he continued teaching talmidim until his petirah, when he was only 58 years old, on 16 Iyar 5370/1610. (According to some, his yahrtzeit is on 10 Iyar.)

Among his famous talmidim are the Shelah Hakadosh, the Megaleh Amukos, and the Maginei Shlomo, zecher tzaddikim livrachah.

The Maharam wrote a number of chiburim. She’eilos Uteshuvos Maharam contains his halachic responsa; Meir Einei Chachamim was later reprinted in the back of gemaros, and became an inseparable part of the learning of Gemara and Tosafos.

Other chibburim by him are Maor Hagadol on Turim, Maor Hakatan on Shrei Dura, Ner Mitzvah on S’mag, and Torah Ohr on Torah. These writings were never published.

Zechuso yagen aleinu.


May 1

In 1707, the Kingdom of Great Britain was created, as a treaty merging England and Scotland took effect.

In 1884, the construction of the first American 10-story building began in Chicago, Illinois

In 1982, the World’s Fair in Knoxville, Tennessee, was opened by President Ronald Reagan.

In 2011, President Barack Obama announced the death of Osama bin Laden. Bin Laden was killed during a U.S. commando operation; because of the time difference, it was early May 2 in Pakistan when the al-Qaida terrorist met his end.