This Day in History – 19 Kislev/December 11

In 5559/1798, Harav Schneur Zalman of Liadi — the Baal HaTanya — was released from his imprisonment in the Peter-Paul Fortress in Petersburg, where he had been held for 52 days on charges that his teachings threatened the imperial authority of the Czar. This day and the following day are celebrated by Lubavitcher Chassidim as a Yom Tov.


5533/1772, Harav Dov Ber, zt”l, the Maggid of Mezritch

5578/1817, Harav Shmuel Yehudah Leib, zt”l, mechaber of Teshuos Chen

5596/1835, Harav Chai Taib, zt”l, mechaber of Cheilev Chitim and Rav of Tunisia

5673/1902, Harav Pinchas Hakohen Steiner, zt”l, Rav of Eiluk, mechaber of Brisi Shalom

5686/1915, Harav Avraham Aharon Burstein, zt”l, mechaber of Ner Aharon

5702/1941, Harav Chaim Halberstam, Dayan in Satmar and son of Harav Shalom Eliezer of Ratzfert, zt”l

5703/1942, Harav Nissan Chaim of Brodshin, zt”l


5676/1915, Harav Menachem Nachum

Twersky of Tolna, zy”a

Harav Menachem Nachum Twersky was born on 16 Iyar 5629/1869. His father was Harav Mordechai, son of Harav Dovid of Tolna.

He became the son-in-law of Harav Moshe of Tshitshelnik, a scion of the Savran dynasty.

He succeeded his grandfather Reb Dovid’l of Tolna, since his father, Reb Mordechai, was niftar in his own father’s lifetime. He was appointed Rebbe at his bar mitzvah, a few days after the petirah of his grandfather on 10 Iyar 5642/1882.

Initially, Reb Menachem Nachum held court in Tolna; later he moved to Toltshin. He was beloved by the public, not just his Chassidim.

He was niftar on 19 Kislev 5676/1915 in Kiev, at age 46.

Many of his divrei Torah have been collected and compiled in Matmonei Menachem Nachum.

His sons were Harav Dovid Mordechai of Tolna-New York; Harav Yochanan of Sabin; Harav Yitzchak; Harav Moshe Tzvi of Tolna-Philadelphia; Harav Meshulam Zusha of Tolna-Boston; Harav Avraham; and Harav Aharon.

Zechuso yagen aleinu.


Dec. 11

In 1792, France’s King Louis XVI went before the National Convention to face charges of treason. (Louis was convicted and executed the following month.)

In 1816, Indiana became the 19th state.

In 1928, police in Buenos Aires announced they had thwarted an attempt on the life of President-elect Herbert Hoover.

In 1936, Britain’s King Edward VIII abdicated the throne so he could marry American divorcée Wallis Warfield Simpson; his brother, Prince Albert, became King George VI.

In 1937, Italy announced it was withdrawing from the League of Nations.

In 1941, Germany and Italy declared war on the United States; the U.S. responded in kind.

In 1946, the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) was established.

In 1964, Che Guevara addressed the United Nations. In his speech, the Argentine revolutionary declared that “the final hour of colonialism has struck.”

In 1972, Apollo 17’slunar module landed on the moon with astronauts Eugene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt aboard; during three extravehicular activities (EVAs), they became the last two men to date to step onto the lunar surface.

In 1980, President Jimmy Carter signed legislation creating a $1.6 billion environmental “superfund” to pay for cleaning up chemical spills and toxic waste dumps.

In 1994, leaders of 34 Western Hemisphere nations signed a free-trade declaration in Miami.

In 1997, more than 150 countries agreed at a global warming conference in Kyoto, Japan, to control the Earth’s greenhouse gases.

In 2004, doctors in Austria said that Ukrainian presidential candidate Viktor Yushchenko had been poisoned with dioxin, which caused the severe disfigurement and partial paralysis of his face.

In 2008, Bernie Madoff was arrested, accused of running a multibillion-dollar Ponzi scheme. (Madoff is serving a 150-year federal prison sentence.)