This Day in History – April 28/4 Iyar

In 4925/1165, the Rambam and his family left Fez, North Africa, for Eretz Yisrael. The Rambam observed this day as a fast day, commemorating his miraculous survival from a storm that hit the sea on 10 Iyar, a few days after he set sail.

In 5252/1492, Date of decree for Expulsion of Jews from Spain.


5552/1792, Harav Yosef Teumim, zt”l, mechaber of Pri Megadim, Rosh Yosef on Chulin, Poras Yosef on Yevamos and Kesubos, and more. (According to another opinion, his yahrtzeit is on 10 Iyar.)

5652/1892, Harav Yosef Ber Soloveitchik of Brisk, zt”l, Rosh Yeshivas Volozhin and mechaber of Beis Halevi

5744/1984, Harav Shmuel Eliyahu Taub, the Imrei Eish of Modzitz, zt”l

5458/1698, Harav Yaakov Sasportes, zt”l, Rosh Yeshivas Etz Chaim in Hamburg

Harav Yaakov Sasportes was born in 5370/1610 in Sali, Morocco. Of prestigious lineage, he was an eleventh-generation descendant of Ramban.

The family moved to Algeria. At nine he was considered a child prodigy, already fluent in a number of masechtos.

At 18 Rav Yaakov was appointed to serve on the beis din of Talmasan, in North Africa. Six years later he became Av Beis Din.

In 5410/1650, Rav Yaakov was appointed Rosh Yeshivah of Yeshivas Ohr Hachaim. During this period Rav Yaakov forged a close connection with Harav Menasheh Ben-Yisrael, zt”l, who subsequently took him along with the rest of his entourage to London.

In 5424/1664 Rav Yaakov was appointed Rav in London; but only two years later, a plague struck London, killing 7,000 people, and Rav Yaakov was forced to flee.

When he arrived in Hamburg with his family, the community there supported him, despite their own financial straits.

At that time, the belief in Shabsai Tzvi was at its zenith. Many Yidden were enthusiastic about him and his “revelations.” Because times were very hard for the Yidden, people clung to any sort of hope.

But Rav Yaakov fought tenaciously against the apostate and his followers.

In the beginning, Rav Yaakov and his supporters were considered extremists, and even the many Rabbanim that Rav Yaakov wrote to asking for backing in his struggle were unresponsive.

Unfortunately, Rav Yaakov’s prescience was proved correct: Shabsai Tzvi and his close followers converted to Islam. Yet even after the apostate’s death, many continued to believe in him, similarly to the non-Jews’ beliefs. Anti-Semitism only grew as a result of this fiasco, and life became even harder for the Yidden.

Towards the end of his life, Rav Yaakov settled in Amsterdam, where in 5453/1693 he was appointed Rav of the Sephardic community. He was niftar in Amsterdam on 4 Iyar, 5458/1698, at the age of 88.

Rav Yaakov wrote a number of sefarim, among them She’eilos U’Teshuvos Ohel Yaakov; Toldos Yaakov, a list of the sources of the pesukim in Talmud Yerushalmi; Tzitzat Novel Tzvi, on Shulchan Aruch, and others.

Zecher tzaddik livrachah.

April 28

In 1788, Maryland became the seventh state to ratify the Constitution of the United States.

In 1789, there was a mutiny on the HMS Bounty as rebelling crew members of the British ship, led by Fletcher Christian, set the captain, William Bligh, and 18 others adrift in a launch in the South Pacific. (Bligh and most of the men with him reached Timor in 47 days.)

In 1945, Italian dictator Benito Mussolini was executed by Italian partisans while attempting to flee the country.

In 1980, President Jimmy Carter accepted the resignation of Secretary of State Cyrus R. Vance, who had opposed the failed rescue mission aimed at freeing American hostages in Iran. (Vance was succeeded by Edmund Muskie.)

In 1986, the Soviet Union informed the world of the nuclear disaster at Chernobyl.

In 2015, Nigerian troops rescued nearly 300 girls and women during an offensive against Boko Haram terrorists in the northeast Sambia forest; those rescued did not include any of the schoolgirls kidnapped a year earlier from Chibok.

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