This Day in History – 12 Tammuz/June 29

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 18 Tammuz the following year, he lay on his right side for 40 days; altogether he remained lying down for 430 days. On 28 Av 3334/427 B.C.E. he arose, and on 5 Elul he received his next nevuah. That was about five years before the destruction of the Beis Hamikdash (see Yechezkel, chapters 8–10).



5673/1913, Harav Elya Baruch Kamai, zt”l, Rosh Yeshivah of Yeshivas Mir, Poland


5108/1348, Rabbeinu Yaakov Ben Asher Ashkenazi, zt”l, the Baal HaTurim

The Baal HaTurim was the third son of Rabbeinu Asher ben Reb Yechiel, commonly known as the Rosh. The Rosh had four sons: Rabbeinu Yechiel, Rabbeinu Shlomo Hechassid, Rabbeinu Yaakov and Rabbeinu Yehudah (who was the son-in-law of his older brother, Rabbeinu Yaakov). He was born in Cologne, Germany, c. 5029–30/1269–70.

In 5063/1303, the Rosh fled Germany, due to persecution brought on after the arrest of the Maharam of Rottenberg. The Rosh, accompanied by his son Yaakov, arrived in Barcelona, but settled subsequently in Toledo. Rabbeinu Yaakov stood by his holy father and received from him most of his Torah knowledge.

Rabbeinu Yaakov suffered much travail throughout his life. Deprivation, poverty and destitution were his daily lot. He attempted to earn a living through trade, but failed. Nevertheless, despite his suffering, he served Hashem with simchah and devotion.

Rabbeinu Yaakov’s work, the four Turim, served as the basis of what would become the Shulchan Aruch. The Tur has four sections, as follows:

Orach Chaim: Day-to-day halachos such as hilchos tefillah, brachos, Shabbos and Yom Tov

Yoreh De’ah: Laws of shechitah, treifah, ribbis and other matters of issur v’heter

Even Ha’ezer: Laws of marriage, divorce, etc.

Choshen Mishpat: Halachos concerning monetary matters and batei din.

Rabbeinu Yosef Karo later authored Beis Yosef on the Turim, elucidating the Tur and bringing all the sources used by the Tur in his work. At times the Beis Yosef differs with the Tur in psak halachah. Many other giants authored chibburim on the Tur, such as the Rema (Darkei Moshe), the Bach, and the Sm”a (Drishah U’prishah).

The Shem Hagedolim in Erech Turim writes that due to the infinite holiness of the Baal HaTurim, he was zocheh that in all succeeding generations, a Rav cannot lift a hand in halachah without the Turim!

In addition, the Baal Haturim authored a peirush on the Torah, known as Peirush HaTur Ha’aruch, which encompasses a thorough bei’ur, similar to those of many other Rishonim. His gematriyos and taamei hamesorah that accompanied that peirush are printed in many Chumashim under the name Baal HaTurim. He included these gematriyos in order to draw the heart to Torah, as he writes in the introduction.

In the last period of his life, Rabbeinu Yaakov set out to travel to the Holy Land to settle there. But as he approached Izmir, Turkey, he became ill; he was niftar on 12 Tammuz. His remains were returned to Toledo, where he was buried near his father.

Zechuso yagen aleinu.


June 29

In 1767, Britain approved the Townshend Revenue Act, which imposed import duties on glass, paint, oil, lead, paper and tea shipped to the American colonies. (Colonists bitterly protested, prompting Parliament to repeal the duties — except on tea.)

In 1880, France annexed Tahiti, which became a French colony on December 30, 1880.

In 1913, the Second Balkan War broke out as Bulgaria attacked Serbia and Greece, its former allies from the First Balkan War.

In 1967, Jerusalem was re-unified as Israel removed barricades separating the Old City from the Israeli sector.

In 1972, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a trio of death sentences, saying the way they had been imposed constituted cruel and unusual punishment. (The ruling prompted states to effectively impose a moratorium on executions until their capital punishment laws could be revised.)

In 1995, the space shuttle Atlantis and the Russian Mir space station linked in orbit, beginning a historic five-day voyage as a single ship.