This Day in History – June 12/20 Sivan

In 2450, according to Seder Olam, the unfortunate incident of Kivros Hataavah ended. All those who ate the slav died over a period of 30 days.

In 4931/1171, 56 Jews were burned al kiddush Hashem in Blois, France, as a result of the first blood-libel in Europe. Rabbeinu Tam and other contemporary Rishonim declared today as a fast day to mark the event.

The following Rabbanim were killed al kiddush Hashem on that day: Harav Yechiel, Harav Yekusiel Hakohen, Harav Yitzchok, Harav Moshe, Harav Baruch, Harav Shmuel, Harav Menachem, and two people both known as Harav Yehudah. Additionally, another 31 men and 17 women were killed, Hy”d. As they were led to their deaths they recited Aleinu L’shabe’ach with great simchah.

The taanis of 20 Sivan was accepted in 5410/1650 by the Vaad Arba Aratzos to also commemorate the intensification of the Tach-V’tat massacres that had just occurred (Magen Avraham, Orach Chaim 580). On this day in 5408/1648, the Cossacks, led by the infamous Bogdan Chemielnicki, arrived in Nemirov — on the Ukranian border with Poland — and killed over 6,000 Jews. (Nemiroff, a well-known brand of vodka, is produced in that accursed city.) They later moved on to other towns in the area and by the time they were done, close to 10,000 Yidden had been killed al kiddush Hashem, Hy”d.

Among the Rabbanim who were killed al kiddush Hashem during that massacre were: Harav Yechiel Mechel of Nemirov, mechaber of Shivrei Luchos; Harav Shimshon of Ostropoli; Harav Chaim of Shagrirad; Harav Yitzchok of Polnai; Harav Shlomo of Prohobitch; Harav Avraham of Shagrirad; Harav Chaim and Harav Elazar of Tulshitz, Hy”d.


5629/1869, Harav Chaim Mordechai Levitan, zt”l, mechaber of Nochach Hashulchan

5697/1937, Harav Zev, Rebbe of Rachmastrivka, zy”a

5760/2000, Harav Feivish Schneebalg of London, zt”l, mechaber of Shraga Hamei’ir

5562/1802, Harav Tzvi Hirsh of Nadvorna, Zy”a, the Tzemach Hashem Latzvi

Harav Tzvi Hirsh was born in 5500/1740 (or 5497/1737).

Rav Tzvi Hirsh was fluent in Shas and Poskim and Kabbalah. He was a talmid of the Maggid of Mezritch, and close with the Zlotchover Maggid, zy”a.

Following in the ways of his Rebbe, Rav Tzvi Hirsh became a Maggid, traveling from town to town spreading the derech haChassidus.

The first city where he served as maggid was Dolina; later he settled in Nadvorna, after which he is known. Many came to learn from him and his avodas Hashem.

Rav Tzvi Hirsh wrote down his divrei Torah and published some of them, but without his name. Among his sefarim: Alfa Beisa, kabbalistic references to the alef-beis; Mili D’Avos, on Pirkei Avos; and Tzemach Hashem Latzvi, on the Torah.

His sons were Harav Dovid Aryeh of Nadvorna, who was the son-in-law of Harav Meir (son of Harav Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev); and Harav Moshe Yehoshua Yechiel Michel. Both were later buried near their father in Nadvorna.

His sons-in-law were Harav Yitzchak of Radvill, the son of Harav Yechiel Michel of Zlotchov; and Harav Aharon Zev Weinreb, zecher tzaddikim livrachah.

He was niftar on 20 Sivan 5562/1802, and buried in Nadvorna.

Zechuso yagen aleinu.

June 12

In 1898, Philippine nationalists declared independence from Spain.

In 1942, Anne Frank, a German-born Jewish girl living in Amsterdam, received a diary for her 13th birthday, less than a month before she and her family went into hiding from the Nazis.

In 1963, civil rights leader Medgar Evers, 37, was shot and killed outside his home in Jackson, Mississippi. (In 1994, Byron De La Beckwith was convicted of murdering Evers and sentenced to life in prison; he died in 2001.)

In 1964, South African black nationalist Nelson Mandela was sentenced to life in prison along with seven other people for committing sabotage against the apartheid regime (he was released in 1990).

In 1967, the U.S. Supreme Court, in Loving v. Virginia, unanimously struck down state laws prohibiting interracial marriages.

In 1987, President Ronald Reagan, during a visit to the divided German city of Berlin, exhorted Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev to “tear down this wall.”

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