This Day in History – 17 Tammuz/June 25

17 Tammuz

Today is a fast day, declared by the Neviim, that marks the beginning of the three weeks of mourning. Five tzaros happened to Klal Yisrael on this day, as cited in Gemara Taanis 26:

1) The first luchos were broken in 2449/1312 B.C.E.
2) The walls of Yerushalayim were breached in 3339/422 B.C.E. before the destruction of the First Beis Hamikdash, and before Second Beis Hamikdash in 3829/69 B.C.E., and, according to the Talmud Yerushalmi, Taanis 4:5.
According to the literal meaning of a passuk in Melachim, during the first churban this actually took place on 9 Tammuz. (The Yerushalmi holds that the wrong date was recorded due to the enormity of the tzaros.)
3) The korban tamid ceased to be sacrificed in the First Beis Hamikdash.
4) An idol was placed in the heichal of the First Beis Hamikdash by King Menashe.
5) Apostomos, a Greek officer who ruled Eretz Yisrael before the destruction of the Second Beis Hamikdash, burned a sefer Torah in public in 3823/63 B.C.E. According to some, it was he who placed the idol in the Beis Hamikdash at the same time he burned the sefer Torah.

In 1656/2105 B.C.E., Noach sent the first dove from the Ark (according to Rabi Eliezer), but it didn’t find a resting place. Some say that was a sign that Bnei Yisrael (who are compared to the dove) won’t find rest on this day.

In 5151/1391, 4,000 Jews were killed in Toledo, Spain, sparking additional riots in other Spanish Jewish communities. Rabbeinu Yehudah of Toledo, his wife (the daughter of the Baal Haturim), and his mother-in-law were killed al kiddush Hashem. On Tishah B’av 5252/1492, 101 years later, the extinction of Spanish Jewry was completed with the mass expulsion. Hy”d.

In 5701/1941, 4,000 Jews of the Bialystoker ghetto were shot al kiddush Hashem. Hy”d.


5515/1755, Harav Yitzchak Hakohen Rappaport, zt”l, mechaber of Batei Kehunah

5646/1886, Harav Chaim Tzvi Mannheimer, zt”l, Rav of Ungvar and mechaber of Ein Habdolach

5727/1967, Harav Yaakov Yosef Herman, zt”l

5742/1982, Harav Shimon Biton, zt”l, Rav of Marseilles and mechaber of Shalmei Shimon

5759/1999, Harav Shmuel Yaakov Weinberg, zt”l, Rosh Yeshivas Ner Yisrael of Baltimore, the only son-in-law of Harav Ruderman, the founding Rosh Yeshivah



Harav Avraham Tzvi Ungar, zt”l, Rav of Kapawar, Hy”d

Harav Avraham Tzvi ben Harav Chaim Ungar was born on 2 Sivan 5658/1898, in Tzehelem. He was a sixth generation descendant of the Panim Me’iros and a descendant of the Arizal.

As a young child, he spent many hours of the day learning and was noted for his outstanding hasmadah.

Before his bar mitzvah, he was accepted to the yeshivah of his uncle, Harav Eliezer Dovid Greenwald, the Keren L’Dovid, in Tzehelem.

When the Keren L’Dovid left Tzehelem, Reb Avraham Tzvi moved to the yeshivah of Harav Shmuel Rosenberg, the Be’er Shmuel, in Unsdorf.

After several years in Unsdorf, Reb Avraham Tzvi returned to Tzehelem. He was given semichah by the Keren L’Dovid in 5674/1914.

During World War I, Reb Avraham Tzvi fled to Vienna, where he became close with Harav Moshe of Shinev, who was also in Vienna.

After his marriage, Reb Avraham Tzvi settled in Beled, where he plumbed the depths of Torah together with his close friend, Harav Yoel Pelner.

Later, he moved to Kapawar, where he served as Rav. He opened and developed mosdos of chinuch — a Talmud Torah and a yeshivah — realizing this was the future of Klal Yisrael.

He was noted for his avodas hatefillah.

Reb Avraham Tzvi was close with many Rebbes, notably the Minchas Elazar of Munkacz.

When the Nazis reached Hungary in the summer of 5704/1944, Reb Avraham Tzvi was not spared. The Nazis deported the Ungar family to the Shopron ghetto near the Hungarian border. From there they were taken to Auschwitz, where the father, mother and five younger children were murdered. Hashem yinkom damam.

All five elder brothers survived.

Reb Avraham Tzvi was killed on Shabbos, 17 Tammuz, at the age of 46.

His son, Rav Yitzchak Shlomo, related that his father was a mohel, and he took his knife with him even to Auschwitz. On the last day of his life, as he was being transported to his death, he met a lady from his kehillah who had an eight-day-old infant with her. On the train, Reb Avraham Tzvi performed the emotional bris, adding that the baby will now be a Yiddishe boy being mekadesh Shem Shamayim.

After the war, Reb Avraham Tzvi’s son Harav Yitzchak Shlomo moved to Eretz Yisrael and became a Rav in Bnei Brak. He established Yeshivas Machaneh Avraham Chug Chasam Sofer, named in his father’s memory, in 5722/1962. He also published his father’s works, Machaneh Avraham on masechtos Mikvaos and Beitzah.

Hashem yinkom damo. Zecher tzaddik livrachah.


June 25

In 1788, Virginia ratified the U.S. Constitution.

In 1876, Lt. Col. Colonel George A. Custer and his 7th Cavalry were wiped out by Sioux and Cheyenne Indians in the Battle of the Little Bighorn in Montana.

In 1888, the Republican National Convention, meeting in Chicago, nominated Benjamin Harrison for the presidency. Harrison went on to win the election, defeating President Grover Cleveland.

In 1938, the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 was enacted.

In 1943, Congress passed, over President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s veto, the Smith-Connally Anti-Strike Act, which allowed the federal government to seize and operate privately owned war plants facing labor strikes.

In 1950, war broke out in Korea as forces from the communist North invaded the South.

In 1962, the U.S. Supreme Court, in Engel v. Vitale, ruled 6–1 that recitation of a state-sponsored prayer in New York State public schools was unconstitutional.

In 1973, former White House Counsel John W. Dean began testifying before the Senate Watergate Committee, implicating top administration officials, including President Richard Nixon as well as himself, in the Watergate scandal and cover-up.

In 1988, American-born Mildred Gillars, known as “Axis Sally” for her Nazi propaganda broadcasts during World War II, died in Columbus, Ohio, at age 87. (She had served 12 years in prison for treason.)

In 1993, Kim Campbell was sworn in as Canada’s 19th prime minister, the first woman to hold the post.