This Day in History – 18 Adar II/March 28

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.



5554/1794, Harav Alexander Ziskind of Horodna, zt”l, the Yesod V’shoresh Ha’avodah (Adar II)

5630/1870, Harav Chanoch Henoch of Alexander, zt”l (Adar II)

5706/1946, Harav Nachum Mordechai of Tchortkov, zt”l (Adar II)


5655/1895, Harav Avraham Yehudah Leib Kozak, Rav of Brok, zy”a

The Broker Rav was born in 5674/1814 in the city of Kutna. Young Avraham Leib was a source of pride to his pious parents. His dedication to limud haTorah surpassed the norm. While his parents suffered from poverty and could not even afford extra candles, the young Avraham Leib remained determined; he would stand, poring over his Gemara under the light of the moon.

During that time, the well-known Rav Moshe Aharon, a talmid of the Yehudi Hakadosh of Peshis’cha, resided in Kutna. It was known that only the best scholars were accepted to learn under his guidance. He recognized the character of the young Avraham Leib and accepted him into his yeshivah among the older, established talmidim.

Avraham Leib was orphaned at a relatively young age, and Rav Moshe Aharon took him under his patronage. He developed into an iluy and a great masmid. Reb Yosef, the naggid of Vishigrad, sought him as a chassan for his orphaned sister, promising to support the couple for many years. After his chasunah, Reb Avraham Leib moved to his brother-in-law’s home in Vishigrad, where all his needs were taken care of.

Eventually, Reb Avraham Leib became a devout Chassid of the Kotzker Rebbe, Harav Menachem Mendel. The Kotzker Rebbe appointed him as the personal melamed of his sons.

After the untimely passing of his brother-in-law, Reb Avraham Leib was forced to seek a source of income. Following his Rebbe’s advice, he accepted the Rabbanus of the town of Brok. Since it was a small town, he was able to devote prodigious amounts of time to Torah study and avodas Hashem. He remained in Brok all his life, even though he was only paid a meager stipend.

In Brok he opened a yeshivah, to which many outstanding talmidim flocked.

After the petirah of the Kotzker Rebbe, he traveled to his successor, the Chiddushei Harim, and to this Rebbe, too, he demonstrated deep humility and devotion.

In 5545/1885 his first sefarim, Melei’as Even on Even Ha’ezer and Kuntres Yad Yosef, were printed without his name. In essence, Yad Yosef was a chibbur in memory of his father-in-law. After his passing, the sefer Eil Milu’im was printed, containing chiddushim on the Torah and mo’adim. Additionally, the Kuntres Talmid L’mishneh was also printed, containing chiddushim on Mishnayos. His descendants recently reprinted these sefarim.

The Broker Rav was niftar in 1895 and is buried in Brok; his matzeivah was recently found and reconstructed by his descendants.

Zechuso yagein aleinu


March 28

In 1834, the U.S. Senate voted to censure President Andrew Jackson for the removal of federal deposits from the Bank of the United States.

In 1854, during the Crimean War, Britain and France declared war on Russia.

In 1930, the names of the Turkish cities of Constantinople and Angora were changed to Istanbul and Ankara.

In 1979, America’s worst commercial nuclear accident occurred with a partial meltdown inside the Unit 2 reactor at the Three Mile Island plant near Middletown, Pennsylvania.