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Rabbi Pinhas was born to Rabbi Chaim Hirschprung in the city of Dukla, in Poland (Galicia) in 1912. He first studied with his grandfather, Rabbi Dovid Tzvi Seeman (Yiddish: זעהמאן) (who was also the teacher of the Rebbe of Klausenburg, Rabbi Yekusiel Yehudah Halberstam), and later became a student of Rabbi Meir Shapiro, Dean of the Chachmei Lublin Yeshiva and founder of the Daf Yomi movement. Rabbi Shapiro once said about him that already as a youth, Rabbi Hirschprung knew all 2,200 folio pages (4,400 column pages) of the Talmud by heart. After he reached the age of bar-mitzvah, he wrote his first book of Torah novellae[clarification needed], "Pri Pinchas", and then went on to write another book, "Ohel Torah", soon after. After Rabbi Shapiro died in 1933, Rabbi Hirschprung would test prospective students for admittance to the Chachmei Lublin Yeshiva, where entry required the memorization 200 Talmudic folio pages (400 column pages). He was endowed with an eidetic memory which enabled him to memorize the hundreds of volumes of rabbinic literature verbatim. Only a few other known scholars of the post World War II generation attained such a level of vast Talmudic fluency: Rabbi Chaim Kreiswirth, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef and Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky.
Rabbi Hirschprung's name and legacy are associated with an Orthodox Jewish girls' school, Beth Jacob d'Rav Hirschprung, located in Montreal, and with an enrolment of nearly 600 students. The school was founded by Rabbi Hirschprung in 1953, and counts as its alumnae many teachers, professionals, and Jewish community leaders the world over.
His wife, Alta Chaya Hirschprung, died on March 4, 2012. They are both buried in the Chesed Shel Emes Cemetery near Ste. Sophie, outside of Montreal.
Escape from Nazi-occupied Lublin
During World War II, Rabbi Hirschprung escaped to Kobe, Japan via Lithuania and then traveled on to Shanghai. In 1941, he reached Canada on the last boat to leave before the attack on Pearl Harbor.
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