This Day in History – May 12/1 Sivan

According to Rabi Yehudah (Bava Metzia 106b), today is the start of the summer season.

In 2449, six weeks after their Exodus from Egypt, Bnei Yisrael arrived at Har Sinai and camped at the foot of the mountain “k’ish echad b’lev echad — as one man, with one heart,” in preparation for receiving the Torah from Hashem. On this day, however, Moshe did not give them any mitzvos because of their exhaustion from the journey.

In 4856/1096, Crusaders massacred the remainder of the Jews of Worms while they recited Hallel, as related in the KinahMi Yitein Roshi Mayim.”

In 3440, Yechezkel Hanavi recounted the nevuah delivered to him regarding the arrogance of Mitzrayim (see Yechezkel 31).


Yahrtzeiten

5688/1928, Harav Avaraham Menachem Halevi Steinberg, zt”l, Rav of Brod

5688/1928, Harav Eliezer Dovid Greenwald, Rav of Satmar, zt”l, the Keren LeDovid

5707/1947, Harav Mordechai Shapiro, Kaminka-Koritz Rebbe, zt”l

5760/2000, Harav Aharon Yechiel Leifer, zy”a, the Nadvorna-Banya Rebbe of Tzfas


5506/1746, Harav Meir Horowitz, Zt”l, the Maharam Tiktin

Harav Meir Halevi Horowitz was the son of Harav Shmuel Shmelke, zt”l, Rav of Turna and grandson of Harav Yehoshua (who was the son of Harav Pinchas, brother-in-law of the Rema).

Rav Meir learned nigleh for seven years and nistar for the next seven years, not wishing to mix the two.

Rav Meir was appointed Rav of Tiktin; he became known as Maharam Tiktin after that city.

Rav Meir was a kadosh; many mofsim are credited to him. One year, on Motzoei Yom Kippur, he and his beis din went out after Maariv and waited many long hours to recite Kiddush Levanah because the sky was covered with clouds. Rav Meir raised his hands heavenwards and exclaimed: “Meir and his beis din are waiting to fulfill Kiddush Levanah. Let the clouds disperse and the moon appear, allowing us to fulfill our mitzvah.” As he finished speaking, a strong wind blew away the clouds, and the moon became visible.

Rav Meir was renowned for his humility. In a drashah that a passing Maggid delivered in Tiktin, he elaborated on many aveiros that most simple Jews aren’t careful about. Following the drashah, Rav Meir approached the Maggid and asked why he had embarrassed him publicly by enumerating his aveiros in front of the entire kehillah. The Maggid explained that he was addressing the kehillah, not the Rav, to which Rav Meir responded, “The kehillah have no aveiros, so you must have meant me.”

The Baal Shem Tov once commented that Rav Meir was worthy that the Shechinah rest on him, but the generation wasn’t worthy.

His sons were the talmidei chachamim Harav Yokel, Rav of Glona and Broide; Harav Yitzchak, Rav of Altona, Hamburg, and Wandsbeck (known as Ahu); Harav Tzvi Hirsh, Rav of Tchortkov, who was the father of the Rebbe Harav Shmelke of Nikolsburg, zy”a, and Harav Pinchas of Frankfurt, the Haflaah; and Harav Nachum, zecher tzaddikim livrachah.

Rav Meir was niftar on Rosh Chodesh Sivan 5506/1746.

Zecher tzaddik livrachah.


May 12

In 1780, during the Revolutionary War, the besieged city of Charleston, S.C., surrendered to British forces.

In 1937, Britain’s King George VI was crowned at Westminster Abbey.

In 1943, during World War II, Axis forces in North Africa surrendered.

In 1949, the Soviet Union lifted the Berlin Blockade.

In 2002, Jimmy Carter arrived in Cuba, becoming the first U.S. president to visit since the 1959 revolution that put Fidel Castro in power.

In 2011, a German court convicted retired U.S. autoworker John Demjanjuk of being an accessory to the murder of tens of thousands of Jews as a Nazi death camp guard. (Demjanjuk, who maintained his innocence, died in March 2012 at age 91.)