This Day in History – 3 Tammuz/June 11

3 Tammuz

In 2489/1272 B.C.E., Yehoshua prevented the sun from setting for 24 hours, or, as some say, 36 or 48 hours (Avodah Zarah 25).

In 5416/1656, Harav Menashe ben Yisrael petitioned the Crown for permission for English Jews to practice Judaism, which was granted by the Council of State.

In 5611/1851, a fire consumed much of the town of Lubavitch, including the Tzemach Tzedek’s home and many valuable manuscripts.

In 5631/1871, Emperor Alexander II of Russia permitted the printing of Jewish books.

In 5687/1927, Harav Yosef Yitzchak, the Rayatz of Lubavitch, was released from prison after being charged by the communists with disseminating Yiddishkeit.

In 5701/1941, 11,000 Jews in Kishinev were killed al kiddush Hashem, Hy”d. Minsk, the capital of Belarus, as well as the Baltic States, were captured by the Nazis.

Yahrtzeiten

5700/1940, Harav Shlomo Eiger of Lublin, zt”l

5742/1982, Harav Shneur Kotler, zt”l, Rosh Yeshivah of Beth Medrash Govoha, Lakewood


 

5754/1994

Harav Menachem Mendel Schneerson, the Lubavitcher Rebbe, zt”l

Harav Menachem Mendel Schneerson of Lubavitch, the son-in-law of the Rebbe Rayatz (Reb Yosef Yitzchak), was the seventh Rebbe of Chabad Chassidus. He was born on 11 Nisan 5662/1902 in Yakaterinoslav, where his father, Harav Levi Yitzchak, was the regional Rav.

Reb Menachem Mendel possessed a phenomenal mind. His father had to teach him himself, for lack of melamdim with knowledge advanced enough to instruct the child. As a young man, Reb Menachem Mendel soon advanced through Shas and poskim to studying Chassidus and Kabbalah with his father, and he became an expert in every field.

Reb Menachem Mendel was also a direct descendant of the third Lubavitcher Rebbe, the Tzemach Tzedek. Together with his father-in-law he left Soviet Russia in 5687 /1927 and spent the next 14 years in Europe. In 5701/1941 he fled the Nazis to the United States, where he quickly became his father-in-law’s valued assistant.

Reb Menachem Mendel became Rebbe in 5711/1951, a year after the Rebbe Rayatz’s petirah. He soon became a celebrated figure in American Jewry, and was consulted for advice and blessing by Jews from all walks of life and by non-Jews as well. He was actively involved in all the workings of Chabad institutions, yet gave personal attention to even the simplest Jew.

The Rebbe threw himself into a myriad of chinuch projects and personally oversaw the building of schools, community centers and youth camps.

The Rebbe viewed chinuch habanim as the essential key to the survival of Klal Yisrael. The following is excerpted from the Rebbe’s talks:

“In America, most parents, however well-intentioned, have been more concerned about their children’s material, rather than spiritual, well-being. Having themselves faced economic hardships as immigrants or the children of immigrants, they decided to do their utmost to shelter their children from the economic hardships which they had experienced, and were thus primarily interested in providing their children with careers, professions and other means of economic security, leaving it to their children to find their own way regarding such things as religion and a world outlook.

“However well-meaning the parents may have been, the result is the same. It fostered a way of life where principles have been sacrificed to expediency, and time-honored traditions have been relinquished for material gains, actual or imaginary. This bankruptcy of ideas and ideologies has left many young people terribly disillusioned, morally and spiritually…”

The Rebbe also began to establish education and outreach centers worldwide. He established a corps of Lubavitch emissaries (called shluchim) and sent them out to build Yiddishkeit in far-flung communities where they provided both material and spiritual needs.

Despite his many communal responsibilities, the Rebbe was an incredible masmid. When the Bostoner Rebbe lived across the street from the Lubavitcher Rebbe in CrownHeights, he would climb up to his roof to watch the Lubavitcher Rebbe learning in the middle of the night. The Lubavitcher Rebbe’s window blind was bent in one place, allowing the Bostoner Rebbe a glimpse into his study, and he attested to the fact that the Lubavitcher Rebbe used to learn way into the night.

In 5752/1992 the Rebbe suffered a stroke that severely impeded his activities. He was ill for two years, until his petirah on 3 Tammuz 5754/1994. He was buried alongside his father-in-law in the Chabad ohel in Queens, a site that has become a makom tefillah for thousands. He left hundreds of volumes of writings on every Torah subject.


 

June 11

In 1770, Captain James Cook, commander of the British ship Endeavour, discovered the Great Barrier Reef off Australia by running into it.

In 1776, the Continental Congress formed a committee to draft a Declaration of Independence calling for freedom from Britain.

In 1942, the United States and the Soviet Union signed a lend-lease agreement to aid the Soviet war effort in World War II.

In 1962, three prisoners at Alcatraz in San FranciscoBay staged an escape, leaving the island on a makeshift raft; they were never found or heard from again.

In 1987, Margaret Thatcher became the first British prime minister in 160 years to win a third consecutive term of office as her Conservatives held onto a reduced majority in Parliament.

In 1993, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that people who commit “hate crimes” motivated by bigotry may be sentenced to extra punishment; the court also ruled religious groups had a constitutional right to sacrifice animals in worship services.