This Day in History – 17 Elul/September 12

The Earl of Athlone, Governor General of Canada, with William Lyon Mackenzie King, Winston Churchill, and President Franklin D. Roosevelt at the Octagon Conference, Québec, September 12, 1944.
The Earl of Athlone, Governor General of Canada, with William Lyon Mackenzie King, Winston Churchill, and President Franklin D. Roosevelt at the Octagon Conference, Québec, September 12, 1944.

Today is a Yom Tov cited in Megillas Taanis, commemorating the removal of the Romans who instituted burdensome taxes on the Jews.

In 1656/2105 B.C.E., according to Rabi Eliezer, on this date Noach opened the window of the teivah and dispatched the dove. “But the dove found no resting place for the sole of its foot” and returned to the ark.

In 5699/1939, Germany attacked Poland, marking the outbreak of the Second World War that claimed more than six million Jewish lives, Hy”d.



5412/1752, Harav Nosson Nota Shapiro, zt”l, the maggid of Lublin

5560/1800, Harav Yosef Yoska, zt”l, mechaber of Yesod Yosef

5659/1899, Harav Dovid Dov Taub, zt”l, Rav of Dabrizinsk, mechaber of Binyan Dovid

5689/1929, HaravYaakov Koppel Reich, Rav of Budapest, zt”l


5590/1830, Harav Yosef of Ostillah, zt”l

Harav Yosef was the son of Harav Mordechai of Neshchiz. He was born in 5623/1763 and named for his maternal grandfather, Harav Yosef Katzenelenbogen, Rav of Leshnov.

He married the daughter of Harav Yehudah Meir Shapira of Shpitovka, the son of Harav Pinchas of Koritz.

Reb Yosef was appointed Rav in Ostilla in his father’s lifetime. After the petirah of his father on 8 Nisan 5560/1800, Reb Yosef became Rebbe in Ostilla.

Reb Yosef often went to the court of the Chozeh in Lublin. The Chozeh held him in high esteem, calling him “the Urim V’tumim.”

Reb Yosef was famous as a baal mofes. Many traveled to his court for his wondrous yeshuos.

During his tenure as Rebbe, the city of Ostilla became famous when his daughter married Harav Don of Radvill, a grandson of the Ohev Yisrael of Apta there. This wedding, known as the Ostilla chasunah, was attended by hundreds of Rebbes.

While Reb Yosef was in Ostroha, for the wedding of his son, 18 Elul 5590/1830, he was suddenly niftar, and was honored with a large levayah. He was buried in Ostroha.

When the family returned home to Ostilla they found his tzavaah, in which he explicitly wrote that he would like a small levayah.

Reb Yosef’s sons were Harav Pinchas of Ostilla; Harav Mordechai of Ostilla; Harav Levi Yitzchak of Stephin; and Harav Baruch of Kosnitin. His sons-in-law were Harav Don of Radvill; Harav Levi Yitzchak of Kamin; and Harav Aharon Tzintz, Rav of Turbin.

Zechuso yagen aleinu.


September 12

In 1814, the Battle of North Point took place in Maryland during the War of 1812 as American forces slowed British troops advancing on Baltimore.

In 1914, during World War I, the First Battle of the Marne ended in an Allied victory against Germany.

In 1938, Adolf Hitler demanded the right of self-determination for the Sudeten Germans in Czechoslovakia.

In 1944, the Second Quebec Conference opened with President Franklin D. Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill in attendance.

In 1962, in a speech at Rice University in Houston, President John F. Kennedy reaffirmed his support for the manned space program, declaring: “We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard.”

In 1974, Emperor Haile Selassie was deposed by Ethiopia’s military after ruling for 58 years.

In 1977, South African black student leader Steve Biko died while in police custody, triggering an international outcry.

In 1986, Joseph Cicippio, the acting comptroller at the American University in Beirut, was kidnapped (he was released in December 1991).

In 1994, a stolen single-engine Cessna crashed into the South Lawn of the White House, coming to rest against the executive mansion; the pilot, Frank Corder, was killed.