This Day in History – 18 Adar 1/February 18

18 Adar 1

Today is “Purim Sana’a.” Purim Sana’a (Yemen) was celebrated in commemoration of a great nes that occurred there. The king of Yemen had a son who was very dear to him. The king was also very close to a certain Jew and appointed him his chief adviser, naturally prompting all his other servants to despise the Jews. They schemed to bring the prince to the shul on Purim and killed him there, then blamed the murder on the Jews.

The Jews were in dire trouble, and they fasted for three days. After the third day a young and holy child went to the prince’s body and spoke to it. Miraculously, the dead prince sat up and pointed out his killers. The day was later celebrated as the Purim of Sana’a.

In 5507/1747, the Pope reaffirmed a Church rule forcing Christianity upon a Jewish child who was baptized against the will of his parents and in violation of canonical law.

In 5561/1801, David Emmanuel, the first Jewish governor in the United States, was sworn in as governor of Georgia.

In 5568/1808, Napoleon I issued a decree suspending for a decade the emancipation of Jews in the French-occupied European countries.

In 5651/1891, a Russian imperial decree ordered the expulsion of all Jewish artisans, brewers, and distillers from Moscow.

In 5661/1901, the Jews of Smyrna, Turkey, were attacked by Greeks who charged them with ritual murder.


5655/1895, Harav Avraham Yehudah Leib Kozak, Rav of Bruk, zt”l

5734/1974, Harav Yechezkel Levenstein, zt”l, the Mashgiach of Yeshivas Ponevezh



Harav Avraham Steiner of Kerestir, zt”l

Harav Avraham Steiner was born in 5643/1883 in Kerestir. He was the only son of the famed Rebbe Reb Yeshayah’le Kerestirer. Kerestir is the Yiddish name of Cristuru Secuiesc, a town in Transylvania, in present-day Romania.

Reb Avraham was known as a Gadol baTorah. After the petirah of Reb Yeshayah’le, on 3 Iyar 5685/1925, Reb Avraham was appointed Rebbe, following the instructions left by his father. He was hesitant to take up the leadership, but his father had promised him that all his brachos would be fulfilled. Multitudes of chassidim flocked to his court.

His father had also told him that all the kvitlach that he would receive from his chassidim should be placed on his kever.

Sadly, Reb Avraham was niftar just two years after accepting the leadership, on 18 Adar I 5687/1927. He was 44 years old.

His son-in-law Harav Meir Yosef Rubin, a scion of the Ropshitzer dynasty, replaced him as Rebbe in Kerestir. Reb Avraham’s other son-in-law was Harav Naftali Gross, Rebbe in Debrecin. After surviving the War, Rav Naftali settled in America, where he was known as the Kerestirer Rebbe.

Zechuso yagen aleinu.


February 18

In 1861, Jefferson Davis was sworn in as provisional president of the Confederate States of America in Montgomery, Ala.

In 1913, Mexican President Francisco I. Madero and Vice President Jose Maria Pino Suarez were arrested during a military coup. (Both were shot to death on Feb. 22.)

In 1930, photographic evidence of Pluto (now designated a “dwarf planet”) was discovered by Clyde W. Tombaugh at Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Ariz.

In 1943, Madame Chiang Kai-shek, the wife of the Chinese leader, addressed members of the Senate and then the House, becoming the first Chinese national to address both houses of the U.S. Congress.

In 1970, the “Chicago Seven” defendants were found not guilty of conspiring to incite riots at the 1968 Democratic National Convention; five were convicted of violating the Anti-Riot Act of 1968 (those convictions were later reversed).

In 1984, Italy and the Vatican signed an accord under which Roman Catholicism ceased to be the state religion of Italy.