Page 95 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 46

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DORON / HASIDIC AND FOLKLORISTIC MOTIFS
87
Many years la te r , when the aged rich m an cam e to see Rabbi
Motel, who h ad succeeded his illustrious fa th e r as h ead o f the
hasidic dynasty o f C he rnoby l, he recogn ized in him th e ta i lo r’s
young a p p ren t ic e o f old. Rabbi Motel told him th a t he who
a sp ired to becom e a hasidic Rebbe m us t take in s truc tion from
one o f th e 36 as to how to “r e p a i r ” a J ew ’s p a n ts .17
We see th a t fo r th e love o f a fellow-Jew Rabbi Leib Sarah
was ready to give u p his r ig h tfu l place in Heaven , so th a t the
rich m an who p rov id ed the ran som m oney cou ld sit even h ig h e r
th an him . In ad d ition to the m o t if o f the love o f a fellow-Jew,
th e re a re o th e r teach ings in this mov ing ballad , such as the
ta lm ud ic dicta: “Every g en e ra t io n has
its
p re ach e rs an d every
g en e ra t io n has
its
tea ch e rs ,” 18 an d “J e p th a h in
his
g en e ra tion
was as g re a t as Samuel in
his
g e n e ra t io n .” 19 T h e lesson b ro u g h t
hom e a t th e en d o f the ballad is th a t the “young m an ,” namely
Rabbi Motel o f C he rnoby l, was no less a holy m an an d le ad e r
th an his saintly fa th e r Rabbi N ahum , to whom the wealthy m an
used to pay hom age — even th o u g h his m a n n e r was en tire ly
d iffe ren t .
T h e r e a re still o th e r im p o r ta n t ideas in this rich ballad , such
as th e folkloristic m o tif o f the 36 pious m en who sustain the
world , an d the concep t o f “r e p a i r ” an d co rrec tion — th a t it
is always possible to im p rove and thu s “p r e p a r e ” on e se lf fo r
th e world to come.
T h e m o tif o f th e love o f a fellow-Jew is also a t the basis o f
the poem ,
As Is Well-Known in Chortkov.
T h e old Rabbi o f
C ho r tkov h im se lf sta ted explicitly th a t the inc iden t with the holy
Rabbi U ri o f Strelisk an d his a t te n d a n t h ad come to teach the
ex ten t o f the holy m an ’s love o f Israel. T h e holy Rabbi U r i ’le
was le a rn in g a f te r the Kol N id re service an d his a t te n d a n t was
asleep on a bench . S udden ly th e a t te n d a n t shou ted in his sleep,
“A fire is b u rn in g w ithin me, water, w a ter!” He sp ran g up from
the bench , g rabb ed th e p itch e r an d dow ned h a lf its con ten ts .
All the while Rabbi U r i ’le only sm iled. T h e a t te n d a n t re tu rn e d
to the bench to sleep. A f te r a while he again shou ted fo r water,
jum p e d u p from the bench and d ra n k some m o re . Still Rabbi
17 The “repairing” o f the pants is symbolic o f the repairing o f the soul and
“preparing” for the hereafter.
18 Namely, each generation is provided with the preachers and teachers that
are appropriate to that generation. Cf. Sanhedrin 38b.
19 Rosh Hashanah 25b; Rashi on Judges 19:17.