This Day in History – 21 Adar/March 12

President Franklin D. Roosevelt speaking to the people via radio, on March 12, 1933.  (AP Photo)
President Franklin D. Roosevelt speaking to the people via radio, on March 12, 1933. (AP Photo)

In 4996/1236, the Jews of Narbonne, France, were saved from a mob. After a Jew quarreled with a wealthy gentile fish merchant, the fish merchant suddenly died. Angry mobs attacked the Jewish community and confiscated the sefarim of the Rav, Harav Meir ben Harav Yitzchak, claiming that he was at fault in the merchant’s death.

The Jews were saved when the ruler, Baron Emmerich, intervened and restored order. This is the oldest known community Purim.



5493/1733, Harav Avraham ben Musa, zt”l, mechaber of Minchas Sotah

5547/1787, Harav Elimelech of Lizhensk, zt”l

5637/1877, Harav Aryeh Leib Halberstam of Dukla, zt”l (Adar I)

5656/1896, Harav Yitzchak Elchanan Spector, zt”l, Rav of Kovno

5678/1918, Harav Yitzchak of Ponevezh, zt”l, mechaber of Zecher Yitzchak

5749/1989, Harav Shalom Schnitzler, zt”l, the Tchaba Rav of London (Adar I)


5696/1936, Harav Binyamin Fuchs, zt”l, Rav of Grosvardein

Harav Binyamin Fuchs was born on 11 Tishrei 5637/1876. His father, Harav Moshe Tzvi, was Rav of Sered and Grosvardein.

Reb Binyamin learned in his father’s yeshivah, and later in the yeshivos of Harav Yehudah Greenwald in Satmar and Harav Mordechai Leib Winkler in Brezava; and in Pressburg under Harav Simchah Bunim Sofer.

In 5661/1901 Reb Binyamin was appointed Rav in Brashau, and in 5665/1905 in Liaka. Subsequently, he was Rav in Bezing and Nadi-Banya. In 5678/1918, upon the petirah of his father, Reb Binyamin succeeded to the rabbanus in Grosvardein.

Reb Binyamin was known as a lamdan and a speaker, delivering many profound drashos. He was at the forefront of the fight against those who wished to wreak havoc on Torah-true Yiddishkeit.

He used his connections with the local government to benefit his brethren in times of strife.

Reb Binyamin was niftar suddenly at the age of 59 on 21 Adar 5696/1936.

Zecher tzaddik livrachah.


March 12

In 1664, England’s King Charles II granted an area of land on the East Coast of present-day North America, known as New Netherland, to his brother James, the Duke of York.

In 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt delivered the first of his 30 radio addresses that came to be known as “fireside chats,” telling Americans what was being done to deal with the nation’s economic crisis.

In 1938, the Anschluss, merging Austria with Nazi Germany, took place as German forces crossed the border between the two countries.

In 1940, Finland and the Soviet Union concluded an armistice during World War II. (Fighting between the two countries flared again the following year.)

In 1968, President Lyndon B. Johnson won the New Hampshire Democratic primary; Sen. Eugene McCarthy of Minnesota placed a strong second.

In 1971, Hafez Assad was confirmed as president of Syria in a referendum.