This Day in History – 25 Sivan/June 12

In 3448/313 B.C.E., in the presence of Alexander Mokdon (Alexander the Great), the Jewish delegate Geviha ben Pesisa won the debate with the Ishmaelites, Egyptians, and Canaanites in their claim to Eretz Yisrael, as cited in Megillas Taanis.

In 3875/115 C.E., the Tanna’im Rabi Shimon ben Gamliel, Rabi Yishmael ben Elisha Kohen Gadol and Rabi Chanina Segan Hakohanim, of the Asarah Harugei Malchus, were killed by the Romans. A taanis tzaddikim was decreed to mark this tragic event, as mentioned in Megillas Taanis and Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 580.


 

Yahrtzeiten

5581/1821, Harav Shmuel of Brod, zt”l, son of the Pnei Yehoshua

5646/1886, Harav Chaim Zisman Sofer, zt”l, mechaber of Machaneh Chaim and Kol Sofer

5761/2001, Harav Baruch Shimon Schneerson, zt”l, Rosh Yeshivah of the Tchebin yeshivah and mechaber of Birkas Shimon

5732/1972, Harav Moshe Tzvi Twersky, zt”l, the Tolna Rebbe of Philadelphia


 

5636/1876, Harav Dov Berish Landau of Biala, zy”a

Harav Dov Berish Landau of Biala was born in 5580/1820. His father was the famous gaon Harav Avraham of Chechenov, zt”l.

Reb Dov Berish married the daughter of a well-to-do talmid chacham, Reb Artshe of Biale. His father-in-law supported him for the first few years of his marriage.

Harav Shraga Feivel of Gritza, zy”a, father of Harav Yechiel of Alexander and the founder of the Alexander Chassidic dynasty, made a bris for his son. He invited Harav Yitzchak of Vorka to serve as sandak at the bris. Reb Feivel invited Reb Dov Berish to the bris and praised him to his Rebbe, Reb Yitzchak of Vorka.  After a short and warm conversation, Reb Berish did not return home; instead, he traveled with Reb Yitzchak to Vorka, becoming a very close Chassid of his.

Some people tried to cause a split between the Chechenover Rav and his son, Reb Berish, by claiming that due to his interest in Chassidus, he had slacked off in his Torah learning.

Reb Avraham urgently summoned his son home. When he arrived, they began a long Torah discussion, talking in deep pilpul. Reb Avraham then told his mother, “We do not have to fear for our son Reb Berish. He is a serious masmid, and sharp in his learning.”

After the petirah of Harav Yitzchak of Vorka, Reb Dov Berish became a devoted Chassid of his son, Harav Menachem Mendel of Vorka.

Since Reb Mendel’s divrei Torah were always concise and deep, Reb Berish would elaborate on them and explain them to the other Chassidim.

Reb Mendel was niftar on 16 Sivan 5628/1868, and Reb Dov Berish was chosen to fill the void.

He led the Chassidim for over seven years, a period known as sheva shnos hasova — “the seven years of plenty,” after the abundance of shefa that he brought down to his Chassidim.

Reb Dov Berish was weak all his life, but disregarded his own body, expounding his divrei Torah at times literally with mesirus nefesh. He said very lengthy divrei Torah, during the week, too, and not just on Shabbos and Yamim Tovim.

Reb Dov Berish was niftar on 25 Sivan 5636/1876, at the age of 56.

His sons were Harav Simchah Bunim of Biale, Harav Yitzchak Yaakov of Melbah, Harav Yekusiel of Wangrob, Harav Aharon Tzvi, Rebbe in Biale, and Harav Elimelech Menachem Mendel, the first Strikover Rebbe.

Zechuso yagen aleinu.


 

June 12

In 1776, Virginia’s colonial legislature became the first to adopt a Bill of Rights.

In 1920, the Republican national convention, nominated Warren G. Harding for president on the tenth ballot; Calvin Coolidge was nominated for vice president.

In 1942, Anne Frank, a German-born Jewish girl living in Amsterdam, received a diary for her 13th birthday, less than a month before she and her family went into hiding from the Nazis.

In 1956, the Flag of the United States Army was officially adopted under an executive order signed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

In 1964, Nelson Mandela was sentenced to life in prison for committing sabotage against the apartheid regime.

In 1987, President Ronald Reagan, during a visit to the divided German city of Berlin, publicly challenged Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev to “tear down this wall.”