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2017-06-21

Radoszyce. New ohel and key of friendship for hasidim

On 11th and 12th of June in Radoszyce, there was Yahrzeit for Issachar Dow Ber, which coincided with the completion of the ohel construction on his grave and handing over of the symbolic key of friendship to the Hasidic community by the mayor of Radoszyce – Michał Pękala.

Radoszyce is one of the places to which Hasidim make their pilgrimages. They visit the grave of Issachar Dow Ber, the son of Icchak (called the Holy Old Man and even the Little Baal Shem Tov, born in 1765), the founder of the local Hasidic dynasty. He was a pupil, among others, of Yaakov Yitzchak ha-Levi Horowitz (Hurwitz) of Lublin (known as the Seer or Lubliner) and Yaakov Yitzchak ben Asher (called Jew) of Przysucha. In 1815, he became tzadik. He died in 1853 and was buried in Radoszyce cemetery. Martin Buber wrote of him: "Issachar Dow Ber of Radoszyce was widely known as a miracle worker, especially for miraculous healings, of which the most noted ones were the expulsions of dybbukim from the possessed [...]."  

Ilustracja

photo by Sławomir Chwaściński   

After the death of Issachar Dow Ber, an ohel was erected over his grave. It was destroyed during World War II, and rebuilt some forty years later, in 1984. It was an inconspicuous structure, definitely too small for large groups of Hasidim who after 1989 began to visit the tomb of the Radoszyce Rebe. Therefore, in 2016, the Hasidic foundation Nachlas Kedimim-Radoszyce began to build a new ohel over the tzadik's grave. Its appearance is distinctly different from other ohalim found in Poland.

"The ohel’s architecture clearly refers to the visualizations of the Solomon Temple in Jerusalem. It is a rectangular, massive building, topped with a crenellation appearing in ancient-oriental architecture and contemporary models of the Temple of Jerusalem. The façade has been lined with stones of Jerusalem coloration" – explains Dr. Amalia Reisenthel, a researcher of Oriental influences in the sepulchral art of European Jews.

Ilustracja

photo by Sławomir Chwaściński   

Inside the ohel, a gravestone was placed at the wall under a large circular window. It is separated from the pilgrims by a long low wall where candles can be placed, and kvitleh (Yiddish, prayer-requests to the tzadik) in the space between this wall and the side wall of the interior. The room is tall and bright, with lots of windows. Also new furniture was added – benches with backrests and prayer book shelves. Ohel is heated and equipped with a monitoring system.

Ilustracja

photo by Sławomir Chwaściński   

"This is not the end of the works" – announces Krzysztof Kos who has been taking care of the cemetery for years – "Near the cemetery Hasidim want to erect a building which will contain a synagogue, mikvah, and hotel".

The number of Hasidim coming to Radoszyce is growing year by year. According to K. Kos, for the Yortsayt commemorating tzadik Issachar Dow Ber some five hundred people arrived on June 11 and 12. Among them was a descendant of the tzadik, Rabbi Naftali Horowitz. Into his hands, the mayor of Radoszyce gave to the Hasidim the symbolic key of friendship. 

Krzysztof Bielawski

Source of citations (in order of occurrence):

  • Buber M., Opowieści chasydów (Tales of the Hasidim), Poznań 1986, p. 63.
  • Polin Museum of the History of Polish Jews Archives, Correspondence of dr. A. Reisenthel to K. Bielawski from June 13, 2017.
  • Polin Museum of the History of Polish Jews Archives,  Conversation of K. Bielawski with K. Kos on June13, 2017.

Bibliography:

  • Doktór J., Issachar Dow Ber z Radoszyc, [in:] Polski słownik judaistyczny: dzieje, kultura, religia, ludzie (Polish Judaic Dictionary: history, culture, religion, people), ed. Z. Borzymińska, R. Żebrowski, Warsaw 2003, vol. 1, page 635.
  • Radoszyce, Issachar Ber, [in:] The Encyclopaedia of Hasidism, ed. T. Rabinowicz, Northvale–New Jersey–London 1996, pages 397-398.