This Day in History – 4 Nisan/April 9

The surrender of General Lee to General Grant at Appomattox Court House, Virginia, April 9, 1865.
(Painting by Thomas Nast.)

4 Nisan

In 2449, the Nasi of Shevet Reuven, Elitzur ben Shedei’ur, brought his korban.

In 5698/1938, anti-Jewish riots erupted in Dabrowa, Poland.


5655/1895, Harav Yochanan Twerski (the first), Rebbe of Rachmastrivka, zy”a

5703/1943, Harav Avraham Yehoshua Heschel, Rebbe of Mezhibuzh-Tarnipol, Hy”d


Harav Yaakov Tzvi of Kelenburg, Zt”l, Rav of Kenigsberg and Mechaber of Haksav veHakabbalah

Harav Yaakov Tzvi was born in 5545/1785. His father was Harav Gamliel, and he was a talmid of Harav Akiva Eiger, zt”l.

In 5590/1830, Rav Yaakov Tzvi was appointed Rav in Kenigsberg, Germany.

Rav Yaakov Tzvi fought against the Reform movement, and battled against their “rabbis” convention, held in 1844. He was also against any change in halachah, and was not willing to officiate at any chuppah where the basic halachos were not heeded by the couple being married.

When he was once forced by the government to officiate at such a wedding, against his will, he added at the chuppah, that the Kiddushin was “kdas Kaiser Wilhelm,” in reference to the Prussian King at the time, and not in accordance with “das Moshe v’Yisrael.”

After such an insult, the couple agreed to take upon themselves the halachos that Rav Yaakov Tzvi requested and he later held the chuppah again, kdas Moshe v’Yisrael.

Rav Yaakov Tzvi is known as the author of one of the foremost commentaries on the Torah. His work, Haksav veHakaballah, is an explanation on the Torah, based on drush and halachah.

Many times, his explanations shed a new light on the pesukim. He bases much of the work on the Vilna Gaon.

Rav Yaakov Tzvi printed his sefer first in 5599/1839, as a separate sefer. It was only in 5620/1860 that it was printed together with the Chumash, as it has appeared ever since.

He also wrote Iyun Tefilah, his explanations on tefillah, which was printed together with Derech Hachaim of Harav Yaakov of Lisa, zt”l, the Nesivos Hamishpat, also on tefillah.

Rav Yaakov Tzvi was niftar on 4 Nisan 5625/1885, at the age of 80.

Zecher tzaddik livrachah.

April 9

In 1865, Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee surrendered his army to Union Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Court House in Virginia.

In 1959, NASA presented its first seven astronauts: Scott Carpenter, Gordon Cooper, John Glenn, Gus Grissom, Wally Schirra, Alan Shepard and Donald Slayton.

In 1968, funeral services, private and public, were held for Martin Luther King Jr., five days after the civil rights leader was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee.

In 1983, the space shuttle Challenger ended its first mission with a safe landing at Edwards Air Force Base in California.

In 2003, jubilant Iraqis celebrated the collapse of Saddam Hussein’s regime, beheading a toppled statue of their longtime ruler in downtown Baghdad and embracing American troops as liberators.