This Day in History – 9 Adar II/March 11

9 Adar II

Today is a taanis tzaddikim (Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 480:2) commemorating the initiation of the dispute between the House of Shammai and the House of Hillel.

The Gemara (Shabbos 17a) cites that this day was as disastrous for Klal Yisrael as the day of chet ha’egel.

In 5700/1940, Harav Yosef Yitzchak of Lubavitch disembarked from a ship in New York following his miraculous rescue from Nazi-occupied Warsaw.

Yahrtzeiten

5361/1601, Harav Mordechai Meisels of Prague, zt”l

5548/1788, Harav Shlomo Zalman of Volozhin, zt”l

5635/1875, Harav Shmuel Klein, zt”l, Rav of Chust and Selish and mechaber of Tzror Hachaim (Adar II)

5689/1929, Harav Yisrael Yaakov of Chust, zt”l (Adar II)

5704/1944, Harav Shmuel Dovid Ungar of Nitra, Hy”d

5749/1989, Harav Chaim Efraim Zeitchek, zt”l, Rosh Yeshivah, Yeshivas Ohr Chodosh

5761/2001, Harav Shammai Zahn, zt”l, Rosh Yeshivah, Yeshivas Netzach Yisrael, Sunderland, and President of Agudas Yisrael of England


 

5761/2001

Harav Yehudah Zerachyah Segal, zt”l, Rav of Kiryat Shalom, Tel Aviv

Harav Yehudah Zerachyah Mordechai Leib Chaim Halevi Segal was born in Yerushalayim on Purim, 15 Adar 5684/1924. His father, Harav Shaftiyah Halevi Segal, was a leading talmid chacham.

By the age of 13 he knew the entire Likutei Maharan; by 19 he had mastered Shas. Many of the talmidei chachamim who talked to him in learning said he was able to discuss any sugya as if he had just been studying it.

As a young bachur he learned at the Lomza yeshivah in Petach Tikva, where he was considered one of the leading lights. Before he was 20, he received semichah from the Torah leaders of that generation, and from then on he never stopped teaching.

While still a young avreich, he was asked by the Lelover and Lubavitcher Rebbes, zy”a, to serve as Rav of Kiryat Shalom in Tel Aviv. He held this position for the rest of his life, despite other offers that were made to him over the years.

In his youth, Harav Segal was close to the Chazon Ish and Harav Reuven Zelig Bengis. Later on he developed strong ties with the Rebbes of Tel Aviv, including the Abir Yaakov of Sadigura, the Be’er Moshe of Ozherov, and the Rebbe of Bohush, zt”l.

It is related that Harav Isser Zalman Meltzer, zt”l, would stand up in Harav Segal’s honor when Harav Segal was still a young man, and that the two would discuss divrei Torah.

Rav Zerachyah authored many important sefarim: Tzemach Yehudah, Reishis HaAvodah, Mishpetei HaChen and Divrei Yehudah Zerachyah, among others.

Toward the end of his life he endured terrible suffering, which he accepted b’ahavah. Harav Segal was niftar in Tel Aviv on Motzoei Shabbos Parashas Terumah, 9 Adar 5761/2001, at the age of 77. As the news of his petirah spread, students and followers from all over the country flocked to his home, where they spent the entire night reciting Tehillim.

After a huge levayah in Tel Aviv and another in Yerushalayim, he was buried on Sunday on Har Hamenuchos.

Although he was niftar childless, Harav Segal left hundreds of students who learned from him Torah, pure yiras Shamayim and devotion to avodas Hashem.

Zechuso yagen aleinu.


 

March 11

In 1861, the Constitution of the Confederate States of America was adopted by the Confederate Congress in Montgomery, Ala.

In 1864, during the Civil War, the Union Army Ambulance Corps was established by the U.S. Congress.

Dr. Mary Edwards Walker was appointed an assistant surgeon of the 52nd Ohio Infantry Regiment, the first woman assigned to such a post.

In 1888, the Blizzard of ’88, also known as the Great White Hurricane, began inundating the northeastern United States, resulting in some 400 deaths.

In 1930, former President and Chief Justice William Howard Taft was buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

In 1942, as Japanese forces continued to advance in the Pacific during World War II, Gen. Douglas MacArthur left the Philippines for Australia. (MacArthur, who subsequently vowed, “I shall return,” kept that promise more than 2 1/2 years later.)

In 1954, the U.S. Army charged that Sen. Joseph R. McCarthy (R-Wis.) and his subcommittee’s chief counsel, Roy Cohn, had exerted pressure to obtain favored treatment for Pvt. G. David Schine, a former consultant to the subcommittee. The confrontation culminated in the famous Senate Army-McCarthy hearings.

In 1977, more than 130 hostages held in Washington, D.C. by Hanafi Muslims were freed after ambassadors from three Islamic nations joined the negotiations.

In 1993, Janet Reno was unanimously confirmed by the Senate to be attorney general.

In 2011, a magnitude-9.0 earthquake and resulting tsunami struck Japan’s northeastern coast, killing nearly 20,000 people and severely damaging the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power station.

In 2012, sixteen Afghan villagers — mostly women and children — were shot dead as they slept by U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, who later pleaded guilty and was sentenced to life in prison without parole.