This Day in History – 15 Adar I/February 24

In 5679/1919, over 1,500 Jews were murdered in a pogrom in Proskorov, Ukraine. At the time, this was the largest number of Jews killed in a single pogrom. During that era (Bolshevik Revolution of 5678/1918 – 5680/1920), thousands of Jews were killed in cities throughout Russia and Ukraine.


 

Yahrtzeiten

5430/1670, Harav Tzvi Hersh Koidinover, zt”l, mechaber of Kav Hayashar

5630/1870, Harav Dov Berish Meiseles, zt”l, Rav of Warsaw

5726/1966, Harav Yosef ­Leifer of Pittsburgh, zt”l, the Tzidkas Yosef


 

5443/1683, Harav Avraham Abeli Segal, zt”l, the Magen Avraham

The Magen Avraham was born in Gombin, Poland in 5397/1637. His father was Harav Chaim Halevi; his mother was a descendant of the Maharshal. His parents were killed al kiddush Hashem in 5415/1655 during the era of Tach v’Tat.

Reb Avraham fled Gombin and moved to Lissa, where he became a talmid of Harav Yaakov Yitzchak, and of Harav Yitzchak of Posen, his primary rebbi.

He married Dina, the daughter of a Rav near Posen, and eventually settled in Kalish.

To sustain his family, he became a children’s melamed. He suffered extreme poverty, so he wrote his chiddushim on scraps of paper left over at the bookbinder’s and, occasionally, on the walls of his house, using coals.

He was fluent in all of Shas and all aspects of Torah.

It was not until the Shach came to Kalish to marry off his son that the greatness of the Magen Avraham was revealed. The community asked the Shach to deliver a drashah, in which he put forth an intricate question. It was the melamed, Reb Avraham, who responded — in a most unassuming manner. The Shach initiated a wide-ranging Torah discussion with the “melamed.” Thus his greatness was uncovered; thereafter, the people showed him immense respect.

His sefer, Magen Avraham, a commentary on Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim, was completed when he was barely 30 years old, but because of financial constraints he was unable to bring it to print. Only after his petirah did his son succeed in having it published.

Some record the Magen Avraham’s yahrtzeit as 9 Tishrei, Erev Yom Kippur, but the mesorah of the kehillah in Kalish is that his yahrtzeit is 15 Adar.


 

Feb. 24

In 1920, the German Workers Party, which later became the Nazi Party, met in Munich to adopt its platform.

In 1938, the first nylon bristle toothbrush, made by DuPont and called “Dr. West’s Miracle Toothbrush,” went on sale.

In 1946, Argentinian men went to the polls to elect Juan D. Peron their president.

In 1975, the Congressional Budget Office, which provides independent analyses of budgetary and economic issues, began operating under its first director, Alice Rivlin.