(1745) Birth of R. Schneur Zalman

Rabbi Schneur Zalman was born to his parents, Rabbi Baruch and Rebbetzin Rivkah, near Liozna in the province of Mohilev, Belarus, on the 18th of Elul. This was the same day on which Rabbi Yisrael, the Baal Shem Tov, had been born forty-seven years earlier.

(1748) R. Schneur Zalman’s meeting with the Baal Shem Tov

When Schneur Zalman reached the age of three years, his father, Rabbi Baruch, took him to the Baal Shem Tov for the traditional haircutting ceremony. That was the only time that Rabbi Schneur Zalman saw the Baal Shem Tov in his life, though he was fifteen years old when the Baal Shem Tov passed away. It was the Baal Shem Tov’s wish that Rabbi Schneur Zalman should find his own way of Chassidus.

(1754) Paul I of Russia is born

(1758) Bar mitzvah of R. Schneur Zalman

When Schneur Zalman reached the age of bar mitzvah, and in accordance with custom delivered his first public discourse on the Talmud, he was acclaimed as an outstanding scholar. At that time he was appointed an honorary member of the local chevra kaddisha, and entered into the pinkas (register) of the community with titles and honors befitting a mature scholar of exceptional merit.

(1760) Marriage of R. Schneur Zalman

R. Yehuda Leib Segal, a wealthy scholar from the city of Vitebsk, heard of the young prodigy and sought him out as his prospective son-in-law. Rabbi Schneur Zalman was fifteen years old when he married Sterna, R. Yehuda Leib’s daughter. She proved to be a worthy mate, who stood by him throughout his lifetime. As was the custom in those days, the young couple was fully supported by the wife’s father for several years, so that the young scholar could dedicate all of his time to Torah study.

(1762) Catherine the Great is crowned empress of Russia

(1763) R. Schneur Zalman completes first comprehensive study of Talmud & commentaries

(1764) Council of the Four Lands abolished by order of the Polish Sejm