This week's Yizkor book excerpt on the JewishGen Facebook page #general

Bruce Drake <BDrake@...>

Many cultures have their stories of singular women, inspired by heavenly
visions, who made a mark on their communities or countries by thrusting
themselves into roles not traditionally accepted by society. "The Maiden
of Ludmir" is one of those and her story is told in the Yizkor book of
the small town of Volodymyr Volynskyy which, during the time she lived,
was in the Russian Empire, afterwards passed to Poland and now is in
northwest Ukraine. She was born Khane-Rokhl Werbermacher, a birth that -
according to the story - came about after her mother, seeking to avoid a
divorce after ten childless years of marriage, traveled to Chernoybl to
ask a "great righteous man and wonder worker, who was known to bless
barren women" to intercede for her with his prayers. Said to be born in
1806, "The child awed all who saw her. She had an angelic face, and as
she grew up, her spiritual graces increased." The YIVO Encyclopedia says.
"She apparently was intensely pious at an early age and her biographers
state that in her teens she had a heavenly vision during which she claimed
to have received a 'new and lofty soul.' >from that point on, the Maiden
acquired a reputation as a healer and miracle worker." The tension in her
story was captured by the vision she had after falling ill. She had
appeared before a "heavenly court, which would decide whether she would
live or die." The prosecutors said that she did not behave in the way that
wise men had ordered, that she performed commandments that women were not
commanded to perform, that she had taken upon herself the yoke of the study
of Torah and observance that were required of men, and since her love was
that of a woman and she had been created a woman, she was desecrating the
honor of the Torah." The court was persuaded to ask her to speak and she
said,"I shall not die but live, and tell the deeds of God." Her request was
granted and her soul soared higher.


Bruce Drake
Silver Spring MD

Towns: Wojnilow, Kovel

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