Thursday, October 2, 2014

Lady Chassidic Rebbe Will Get a Street Named After Her

The Heiliger Chana Ruchel Webermacher
My "Holy" comments after the article! 

From The Jewish Press:
A Jerusalem Municipality decision recently angered Hareidi (Ultra-Orthodox) representatives of the city, according to a report by Tzipi Malcob.

The municipality decided to name a street "HaBetula meLudmir", or in English, "The Virgin from Ludmir".

As you can imagine, using the word "Virgin" in a Jerusalem street name might upset some sensitive religious sensibilities.

But before you decide that the Jerusalem Municipality is trying to upset its Hareidi citizens, here is a little background.

The Virgin of Ludmir was the name given to Chana Rachel Webermacher (1805-1888), born in the town of Ludmir, Volhynia (now the Ukraine).

Webermacher was an unusual person. At one point in her life she decided to take on many of the ritual practices usually reserved for men, such as wearing Talit and T'fillin (possibly even wearing 2 pairs of T'fillin).

Due to community pressure in Ludmir, she got married, but quickly got divorced. She may have even gotten married and quickly divorced a second time.

Webermacher gained the reputation as a holy woman, and in 1860, she made Aliyah and moved to Jerusalem.

But what made her most unusual, is that it appears that Webermacher actually held court in her Meah Shearim home, with her own Hassidim, receiving her followers, handing out blessings and presiding over a regular Shabbos Tish, just like any other Hassidic Admor.

It's also known that Webermacher studied Kababla, taught Torah to women, and prayed with women at the Kotel and at Rachel's Tomb.

In short, the first Hassidic feminist.

She died in 1888, and was buried on the Mount of Olives.

In order to relieve Hareidi displeasure at having the word "Virgin" in the street name, the committee decided to change the name of the street to "The Virgin of Ludmir - Chana Rachel Webermacher".

The Hareidi representatives deemed that a respectable compromise.

What is not yet known is which Jerusalem neighborhood will welcome the Virgin.

So my friends, why is it ok for the Torah to write "Besulah" to describe Rivkah (Chayeh Sarah 24:16)? 

Why is it ok to write "Besulah" on the Ketubah?
But it's not ok to write it for a street? I don't get it?

It also seems like that Chareidim are not upset that they are going to name a street after a single lady, that spoke to men, read their kvittlach and ate her sharyim. They are also not upset that she wore Tefillin & Tzizis and davened with women at the Kosel.
So why are we getting bent out of shape, that the Women of the Wall want to do the same thing?
Also did she wear "Vasseh Shtrimp?" 

History of Webermacher from Mishpacha Mag printed on November  5, 2013
On 22 Tammuz/June 11, 2004, a hakamas matzeivahtook place on Har HaZeisim at the newly discovered gravesite of Chana Rochel Webermacher (1806–1888). It was the 116th yahrtzeit of the “Ludmirer Moid,” or Maiden of Ludmir, as she was also known.
The story of the only chassidish female who behaved like a rebbe — fiering tisch, accepting kvittlach, and performing miracles — but didn’t belong to any of the chassidic dynasties, has generated many articles, books, and plays in countries around the world. From these many accounts, it is possible to piece together a picture of one of the most fascinating lives of the last century.

A Rebbe’s Blessing
Chana Rochel’s story begins in the shtetl of Volodymir, Volhynia (then Russia, today northwestern Ukraine). Called Ludmir by its Jewish inhabitants, the shtetl is associated with the Tosfos Yom Tov, Rav Yom Tov Lipman Heller, who served as rav there from 1634–1643, and the Noda B’Yehudah, Rav Yechezkel Landau, who attended yeshivah there in the 18th century. Another prominent citizen of Ludmir was the founder of the Karliner dynasty, Rav Shlomo HaLevi, who settled in the town in 1786.
Munish Webermacher and his wife, a wealthy couple living in Ludmir, had been childless for over ten years when they were given a blessing for children by a chassidishe rebbe. Although all sources agree that Munish was a chassid of the Maggid of Chernoble, Rav Mordechai Twersky, they differ as to which rebbe gave the brachah that produced the Webermachers’ brilliant red-haired daughter. Since there is no documentary evidence regarding this fact — most written accounts were published decades after her birth — some historians of Chassidus, such as Shmuel Abba Horodetzky, a grandson of Rav Aaron of Chernoble, and writers such as Yochanan Twersky, another scion of the Chernobler dynasty and author of a Hebrew novel about the Maiden of Ludmir, attribute the blessing to the Maggid of Chernoble.
On the other hand, writers Menashe Unger, a brother-in-law of the late Bluzhever Rebbe, and Ephraim Taubenhaus, a descendant of the Maggid of Mezeritch, who wrote much about the Maiden of Ludmir, claimed it was the Seer of Lublin who told the Webermachers that he foresaw a child being born to them within the year who was going to have a very lofty soul.
Chana Rochel was unlike other children, who liked to play. She was always hungry for knowledge and begged to learn Torah. Her father hired private tutors for her, but tried to dissuade her from learning Gemara. When she continued to beg him to teach it to her, he finally humored her and permitted her to learn, hoping she would find it too difficult and lose interest. Instead, she became an outstanding student and became renowned as a “talmid chacham.”
The awe-inspiring kavanah she exhibited when she davened three times a day set her apart as an unusually holy girl. When she reached bas mitzvah age, she insisted on putting on two sets of tefillin, those of Rashi and Rabbeinu Tam, in private. Her father, who was very upset with her behavior, took her to his rebbe, hoping the Maggid of Chernoble would dissuade her from behaving like a male.


Anonymous said...

"....Why is it ok to write "Besulah" on the Ketubah?..."

Who says so?
Has anyone ever translated the ketubah from Aramaic, a language that even malochim don't understand?
Some linguist told me that it also says that a husband should support a wife, not vice-versa.
Phew-eee, I said to him.. !! I don't believe it.

Anonymous said...

Ooops... Too many chickens.... Forgot to sign out...
Debonair Derby

Teaneck Soprano said...

Is Yochanan Twersky the chubby modern orthodox one by that name who buys already run down hotels and then drives them completely into the ground as a type of bust out?

He was behind that huge scandal with Tamarack hotel in Ulster County. Do you know anyone who had the roof cave in on them there or got the shaft at the end on erev Pesach with no where to go?

Anonymous said...

Well now, what a wonderful role model for Jewish women to follow! Never knew such a woman existed before.