This Day in History – 9 Tammuz/July 12

9 Tammuz

In 3175, Nevuchadnetzar’s army breached the walls of Yerushalayim prior to the destruction of the first Beis Hamikdash. During the 70-year exile of Bavel, this date was the fourth public fast day; after the wall of the second Beis Hamikdash was breached on 17 Tammuz, the fast was switched to that day.

In 4990/1230, anti-Jewish riots took place in Austria.

In 5004/1244, at least 20 wagons loaded with Gemaros and commentaries were burned in France. The incident occurred on Friday of Parashas Chukas. (There were no printing presses, and many writings of the Baalei Tosafos were lost forever.)

The decree was even more severe in Paris, where it was announced that every Jew who had a Talmud in his home would be exiled from France.

According to the Minchas Elazar of Munkacs, zy”a (Divrei Torah, eighth edition, 31), his grandfather, the Bnei Yissaschar, had a tradition that the greatest Baalei Tosafos (most were killed al kiddush Hashem) wrote their long Tosafos on Perek Meruba of Bava Kamma the night before being called to judgment by their wicked enemies. They were threatened that if they refused to convert they would be killed. Apparently, this occurred after their first chiddushim were burned.

The Shibbolei Haleket on Hilchos Taanis discusses the aftermath. “We heard that they asked a she’eilas chalom whether it was a Heavenly decree or not, and they were answered, ‘Veda gezeiras Oraisa’ [the Targum of the verse, ‘Zos chukas HaTorah’]. They understood that this hinted that the Friday of Parashas Chukas [the day the Talmud was burned] is a day of evil decrees. From then on, individuals fasted yearly on that day [of the week], the Friday of Parashas Chukas, but not on the day of the month.”

Kinos were composed in commemoration of the burning of the Talmud, including the famous kinah of the Maharam of Rottenberg, “Shaali serufah ba’eish….”


5438/1678, Harav Yaakov Tamerlesh, zt”l, mechaber of Safra Detzeniusa

5726/1966, Harav Zalman Sorotzkin, zt”l, the Lutzker Rav

5754/1994, Harav Yekusiel Yehuda Teitelbaum, the Klausenburger Rebbe, zy”a


Harav Moshe Rokach, Hy”d, Son of Harav Aharon of Belz

Harav Moshe Rokach was the oldest son of Harav Aharon of Belz, zy”a, and of Rebbetzin Malka, a”h, daughter of Harav Shmuel Rokach of Skohl (the son of Harav Yehoshua of Belz, zy”a).

Rav Moshe married the daughter of Harav Pinchas Shalom Halevi Rottenberg of Chenstchov, zy”a, son of Harav Alter Meir Dovid of Wolbrum, zy”a.

Rav Moshe was known for his sharp mind; after his father’s tisch he would explain Rav Aharon’s divrei Torah.

When World War II broke out, Rav Aharon and his family fled Belz. While in Premishlan, Rav Moshe was killed horrifically when, on a Friday shortly after taking Premishlan, the Germans set the shul on fire and threw people into the building. The Yidden tried to flee but, tragically, together with four others, Rav Moshe was caught and burned to death.

When Rav Aharon was informed of the heinous murder of his prized son, he replied, “Baruch Hashem, I was zocheh to sacrifice a korban to Hashem…”

Hashem yinkom damo.

July 12

In 1862, during the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln signed a bill authorizing the Army Medal of Honor.

In 1909, the House of Representatives joined the Senate in passing the 16th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, allowing for a federal income tax, and submitted it to the states. (It was declared ratified in February 1913.)

In 1957, President Dwight D. Eisenhower was flown by helicopter from the White House to a secret mountaintop location as part of a drill involving a mock nuclear attack on Washington.

In 1960, the Etch-A-Sketch Magic Screen drawing toy, invented by French electrician Andre Cassagnes, was first produced by the Ohio Art Co.

In 1994, President Bill Clinton, visiting Germany, went to the eastern sector of Berlin, the first U.S. president to do so since Harry Truman.

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