This Day in History – 2 Iyar/April 17

In 5680/1920, the Supreme Council of the Peace Conference recognized the Balfour Declaration and proclaimed Eretz Yisrael a mandated territory under British administration.

In 5705/1945, the British army liberated the death camp of Bergen-Belsen and its 40,000 barely surviving inmates.


5320/1560, Harav Kalman Vermeiza of Lvov, zt”l, one of the first marbitzei Torah in Poland

5330/1570, Harav Nosson Shapiro, zt”l, mechaber of She’arim Leshaarei Dura

5572/1812, Harav Avraham Dov Ber Auerbach, zt”l, Rav of Chmielnik

5663/1903, Harav Yosef Shlofer, zt”l, mechaber of Poras Yosef

5669/1909, Harav Avraham Yitzchok Glick, zt”l, Rav of Toltchova and mechaber of Be’er Yitzchok and other sefarim

5693/1933, Harav Yosef Nechemia Kornitzer, zt”l, the last Rav of Cracow

5750/1990, Harav Avraham Baddouch of Mexico, zt”l, mechaber of Meoros Avraham

5751/1991, Harav Tzvi Hersh Zaks, zt”l, a grandson of the Chofetz Chaim

5675/1915, Harav Moshe Zakan Mazuz of Djerba (Tunisia), zt”l, Mechaber of Shaarei Moshe

Harav Moshe Zakan Mazuz was one of Djerba’s foremost Torah leaders. He learned under Harav Chaim Hakohen, zt”l, the mechaber of Lev Shomea.

From a young age, Harav Moshe Zakan wrote sefarim on a wide array of Torah topics.

He was appointed Rav of Charah Zagira in 5665/1905, and in 5670/1910 he was appointed Rav of Djerba. Harav Moshe Zakan also headed the beis din in Djerba, and taught many talmidim.

Harav Moshe Zakan was known for his psakim, which are cited and relied on even today.

In his later years, he studied Kabbalah.

Among his sefarim, some were published during his lifetime, others after his petirah.

They include Shaarei Moshe, his halachic rulings and she’eilos u’teshuvos; Shaarei Torah, pilpulim on the Torah and Shas; Sever Panim, chiddushim on Shas and the Rambam, and others.

Harav Moshe Zakan was niftar on 2 Iyar 5675/1915.

Japanese troops during the Sino-Japanese War.

April 17

In 1492, a contract was signed by Christopher Columbus and a representative of Spain’s King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, giving Columbus a commission to seek a westward ocean passage to Asia.

In 1895, the Treaty of Shimonoseki ended the first Sino-Japanese War.

In 1941, Yugoslavia surrendered to Germany during World War II.

In 1970, Apollo 13 astronauts James A. Lovell, Fred W. Haise and Jack Swigert splashed down safely in the Pacific; four days after a ruptured oxygen tank crippled their spacecraft while en route to the moon.

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