This Day in History – 12 Tammuz/June 20

12 Tammuz

In 3333/428 B.C.E., Yechezkel Hanavi was instructed by Hashem to lie on his left side for 390 days in order to atone for the sins of Klal Yisrael. From the 18th of Tammuz the following year, he lay on his right side for 40 days; altogether he remained lying down for 430 days. On the 28th of Av 3334/427 B.C.E. he arose, and on the 5th of Elul he received his next nevuah. That was about five years before the destruction of the Beis Hamikdash (see Yechezkel, perakim 8–10).

In 5058/1298, the Jews of Weiner-Neustadt, Austria, were massacred al kiddush Hashem. Hy”d.

In 5059/1299, Jews denounced to the Inquisition received the right to face their accusers.

In 5687/1927, the sixth Lubavitcher Rebbe, Harav Yosef Yitzchak Schneerson, was officially granted release from his sentence of exile to Kastroma in the interior of Russia. The actual release took place on 13 Tammuz, and 12–13 Tammuz is celebrated as a “festival of liberation” in Chabad. (Today was also the Rebbe’s birthday, and the Shulchan Aruch Harav was printed for the first time as well.)

In 5701/1941, the Nazis executed 5,000 Jews in the fortress of Kovno. Hy”d.

In 5708/1948, 150 Jews were killed in Kahir, Iran, during the riots of 1948. Hy”d. This resulted in practically all the Jews of the Arab countries being driven out.


5108/1348, Rabbeinu Yaakov ben Asher Ashkenazi, zt”l, the Baal Haturim


Harav Elya Baruch Kammai, zt”l, Rav of Mir, Poland

Harav Eliyahu Baruch Kammai was born in 5600/1840. His father, Harav Avraham, was a grandson of Harav Avraham, the brother of the Vilna Gaon. At the age of two, he was orphaned of his father, and his mother then married Harav Chaim Zev Yaffe, a descendant of Harav Mordechai Yaffe, the Levush.

Reb Chaim Zev raised the boy as if he were his own child. When Reb Eliyahu Baruch was 10 years old, his step-grandfather, Harav Tzvi, Rav in Shkod, was niftar. Reb Chaim Zev was named Rav in his stead, and the family moved to Shkod.

At the age of 17, Reb Eliyahu Baruch married and settled in Shkod.

In 5628/1868, Reb Chaim Zev was niftar, and Reb Eliyahu Baruch replaced him as Rav. He visited Brisk in 5638/1878, and met with Harav Yosef Dov Soloveitchick. After talking together in learning, Harav Yosef Dov attested that Reb Eliyahu Baruch was one of the Torah giants of the generation. When the kehillah of Karlin asked Harav Yosef Dov to suggest a suitable Rav for them, he suggested Reb Eliyahu Baruch.

He was Rav in Karlin for seven years. Later, Reb Eliyahu Baruch served three years as Rav in Weckshna, and then in Tchnovtzi until 5659/1899, when he was appointed Ram in Mir alongside Harav Eliyahu David Rabinowitz Teumim, the Aderes, who was Rav in the city.

In 5661/1901, the Aderes moved to Eretz Yisrael and Reb Eliyahu Baruch was then appointed Rav of Mir, where he stayed for the rest of his life.

Reb Eliyahu Baruch was niftar on 12 Tammuz 5677/1917, in Minsk, where he had traveled for the summer, at the age of 77. He was buried in Minsk. Many thousands participated in the levayah, including Gedolei Hador.

Zecher tzaddik livrachah.


June 20

In 1782, Congress approved the Great Seal of the United States, featuring the emblem of the bald eagle.

In 1791, King Louis XVI of France and his family attempted to flee the country in the so-called Flight to Varennes but were caught.

In 1837, Queen Victoria acceded to the British throne following the death of her uncle, King William IV.

In 1863, West Virginia became the 35th state.

In 1921, U.S. Rep. Alice Mary Robertson (R-Okla.) became the first woman to preside over a session of the House of Representatives.

In 1943, race-related rioting erupted in Detroit; federal troops were sent in two days later to quell the violence that resulted in more than 30 deaths.

In 1963, the United States and Soviet Union signed an agreement to set up a “hot line” between the two superpowers.

In 1972, three days after the arrest of the Watergate burglars, President Richard Nixon met at the White House with his chief of staff, H.R. Haldeman; the secretly made tape recording of this meeting ended up with the notorious 18½-minute gap.

In 1982, President Ronald Reagan proclaimed National Bald Eagle Day.

In 2002, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled, 6–3, in Atkins v. Virginia that executing mentally disabled murderers was unconstitutionally cruel.

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