This Day in History – 20 Adar/March 11

On this date, Choni Hame’agel’s tefillah for rain was answered after a three-year drought in Eretz Yisrael, as mentioned in Maseches Taanis Daf 19. This incident took place during the time of the Second Beis Hamikdash.

In 5376/1616, the execution of Vincent Fettmilch, a Jew-hater who headed the bakers’ guild in Frankfurt, Germany, took place; the Jews of Frankfurt celebrated a Purim in commemoration of that event.

During that era Frankfurt was a glorious kehillah, numbering over 3,000 Jews. The evil Vincent Fettmilch battled the Yidden and tried to pass legislation to expel them. After an unsuccessful attempt, he incited a mob that attacked the community mercilessly, which forced many residents to flee. When the emperor heard of this, he summoned Fettmilch to trial and he was sentenced to death.



5393/1633, Harav Meir Schiff, zt”l, the Maharam Shiff

5401/1641, Harav Yoel Sirkis, zt”l, the Bach

5695/1935, Harav Shlomo Hakohen Aharonsohn of Tel Aviv, zt”l

5698/1938, Harav Moshe Landinski, zt”l, Rosh Mesivta in Yeshivas Radin

5765/2005, Harav Rafael Blum, zt”l, Kashauer Rav


5755/1995, Harav Shlomo Zalman ­Auerbach, zt”l

Harav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach was born on 23 Tammuz 5670/1910. His father was the Gaon and tzaddik Harav Chaim Yehudah Leib Auerbach.

As a youth, Rav Shlomo Zalman studied in Yeshivas Eitz Chaim, where he was quickly recognized as an outstanding student. He was known for his extraordinary diligence, wide-ranging knowledge and phenomenal memory. He was very close to the Rosh Yeshivah, Harav Isser Zalman Meltzer, who studied with him b’chavrusa.

In 5707/1947, Rav Shlomo Zalman was invited by former Rosh Yeshivah, Harav Yechiel Michel Schlesinger, to serve as the Rosh Yeshivah of Yeshivas Kol Torah, where he stayed for nearly 50 years.

On Thursday, 16 Adar I 5755/1995, Rav Shlomo Zalman was hospitalized. He was niftar the following Sunday evening, on 20 Adar I. The levayah was one of the largest ever recorded in Eretz Yisrael, with an estimated 300,000 people in attendance.

Zechuso yagen aleinu.


March 11

In 1861, the Constitution of the Confederate States of America was adopted by the Confederate Congress in Montgomery, Alabama.

In 1888, the Blizzard of ’88, also known as the “Great White Hurricane,” began inundating the northeastern United States, resulting in some 400 deaths.

In 2011, a magnitude-9.0 earthquake and resulting tsunami struck Japan’s northeastern coast, killing nearly 20,000 people and severely damaging the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power station.