This Day in History – June 17/25 Sivan

In 4981/1221, the Jews of Erfurt, Germany, were massacred al kiddush Hashem.


5636/1876, Harav Dov Berish Landau, zt”l, Rebbe of Biala.

5646/1886, Harav Chaim Zusman Sofer, zt”l, author of Machaneh Chaim and Kol Sofer.

5704/1944, Harav Naftali Tzvi Schmerler, zt”l, author of Imrei Naftali.

5761/2001, Harav Baruch Shimon Schneerson, Rosh Yeshivas Tchebin, Zy”a

Harav Baruch Shimon Schneerson was born in Cracow in 5673/1913 to Harav Yosef Moshe Schneerson, zt”l, a grandson of the Tzemach Tzedek of Lubavitch, zy”a. His mother, Rebbetzin Nechamah Schneerson, a”h, was a tzaddeikes in her own right.

Before he was born, his parents went to Harav Baruch of Gorlitz, zy”a, to ask for a brachah for healthy children. The tzaddik’s brachah was fulfilled. His father named him Baruch after three holy tzaddikim, zt”l: Harav Baruch, father of the Baal HaTanya; the Baruch Taam; and Harav Baruch, Rav of Gorlitz. He was named Shimon after his great-grandfather, and after his maternal grandfather, Reb Shimon Alter.

During his early childhood he was taught by the famed Cracow melamed, Rabbi Moshe Chassid, zt”l.

Later he went to learn in Yeshivas Chachmei Lublin. Although he took pains to remain unnoticed, within a very short time he stood out as one of the leading bachurim at the yeshivah. The Rosh Yeshivah was especially fond of him,and assigned him to test talmidim entering the yeshivah.

It was during this time that Rav Baruch Shimon received a draft notice from the Polish army. Harav Aharale Kohznitzer, zt”l, gave him a brachah, and miraculously he was not conscripted.

When WWII broke out, Rav Baruch Shimon fled to Russia. For a period of five months he remained in a tiny village, hiding. During that entire time he did not stop learning, later commenting on the tremendous amount he covered during that period.

The Russians caught him and threw him into prison for one year and then sent him to Siberia for another year.

After being freed from Siberia, Rav Baruch Shimon made his way to Bukhara, where he met his future father-in-law, the Gaon of Tchebin, Harav Dov Berish Wiedenfeld, zt”l. Rav Baruch Shimon’s engagement took place soon after.

When Russia finally released Polish citizens from its grip, Rav Baruch Shimon boarded an illegal immigrant ship to Eretz Yisrael.

Upon his arrival in Eretz Yisrael, he decided not to assume any rabbinical position but rather serve Hashem in solitude. However, Gedolei Yisrael, headed by the Belzer Rebbe, zy”a, asked him to come to the aid of the generation and disseminate Torah.

For a few years Rav Baruch Shimon was Rosh Yeshivah of Chabad in the city of Lod. In 5717/1957, at the express request of his illustrious father-in-law, he assumed the leadership of Yeshivas Tchebin in Yerushalayim.

At his father-in-law’s behest, he published his chiddushim in Birkas Shimon on Bava Kama. Over the years he published additional sefarim on Bava Metzia, Bava Basra, Shabbos and Kiddushin. Birkas Shimon on the Torah and festivals was published as well.

He was niftar on 25 Sivan.

Yehi zichro baruch.

June 17

In 1579, Sir Francis Drake arrived in present-day northern California, naming it New Albion and claiming English sovereignty.

In 1930, President Herbert Hoover signed the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act, which boosted U.S. tariffs to historically high levels, prompting foreign retaliation.

In 1944, the Republic of Iceland was established.

In 1963, the U.S. Supreme Court, in Abington (Pa.) School District v. Schempp, struck down, 8-1, rules requiring the reading of Biblical verses in public schools.

In 2015, nine people were shot to death in a historic African-American church in Charleston, South Carolina; suspect Dylann Roof was arrested the following morning. Roof was convicted of federal hate crimes and sentenced to death; he later pleaded guilty to state murder charges and was sentenced to life in prison without parole.

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