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MEMOIRS OF MEZIRICHERS

"Melamdim" (Teachers) in Mezirich


1. Reb Shneur

Reb Shneur the Melamed, or, as he was known by everyone, Reb Shneur with the goat. Every small child in the town, who could barely run, was sent to Reb Shneur to fill his small belly with knowledge acquired in childhood. The Rebbe used all his "pedagogic" talents in order to create an educational basis for his young pupil. Naturally, as a full-proof means of education, a strap was used, called "kanchik". There was not one child who was not terrified at the sight of this strap. Reb Shneur's house was not overly large. It was a poor dilapidated hut, and one had to bend down before being able to enter it. If you were inexperienced and did not pay attention while standing at the entrance, you were hurt twice - once in your head, by getting banged by the low ceiling, which was interlaced with wooden planks with the ceiling, which, too, was very old. The wild weeds on top of it proved it old. Incidentally, the town clowns used to joke about it and say: One can harvest grain on the roof of Reb Shneur's roof which can supply him plenty of food and also enough for his goats as well. - and secondly, one could fall over flat on the dirt floor in Reb Shneur's living room, as it was on a much lower level than the street outside and much darker than outside, which blinded you when you first went inside. However, who pays attention to such petty matters? This house was not made for luxury. Its role was much more noble, that is, to house the babies of the town, from whom you could hear daily "Kamatz-Alef", that is, the alphabet. Why was Reb Shneur called "owner of goats?" Ever since he came to Mezirich, he looked after goats, feeding them, milking them, etc. Reb Shneur liked this work very much and it was a kind of hobby with him. He was very fond of these innocent domestic animals, and they also provided him with food. No one was surprised that Reb Shneur's goats were bigger and more beautiful that the rest of the town's goats, as Reb Shneur and his family were extremely devoted in their care of the goats.










2. Yossele "Der Scwhartzer"

It was unknown from whence came Yossele. He was seen daily at sunrise with his prayer shawl under his arm, coming back from morning prayer at the Great Synagogue. His life's work was to gather the group of "Tehillim Sayers". In wind and snow storms, on Saturdays and weekdays, he would rise early and go to the town Jews' windows and sing in his traditional way: "Wake up Jews, get up to serve the Creator. For this you were created!"...
This holy work was his monopoly. He was very happy that such a dear task was given him, with no competitors, and still he filled it with devotion, awe and reverence.

3. Reb Yitzchak-Aaron

Reb Yitzchak was very strange, as were his ways. He was never seen coming or going for his livelihood. He was always busy with deeds for the poor. All charitable deeds, such as: outfitting a bride for her wedding, taking in guests, collecting for various charities, all of these deeds were under his care. His house had many rooms in it and many doors, and through each door came and went all kinds of poor and unfortunate people. At his set tables, there were always guests and people at random. He himself would stand near them and order his children: Bluma, Moishke, bring food, give to this one, serve that one. How long does a poor man have to wait for a morsel of food? More than once, the townspeople had to quarrel with him for the right to bring a guest to their home.

4. Shivenu Di Rebbitzin

Shivenu "Di Rebbitzin" was a well-known woman in the town. Women and young girls learned from her Hebrew and prayers. She was very poor and alone, with no family or a place of her own, and dedicated all her life to this deed. She made her livelihood from this teaching, but did not turn away women who could not afford to pay her salary or buy a prayer book. She would encourage them and console them by saying: Pray, daughter, to God, He should have mercy on you, your husband, and your children. She herself was an old maid but kept up the command to make a bride and groom happy. There was not one wedding she did not attend and dance before the bride and groom (Mitzva Dance). She did not stay long and certainly did not partake of the festivities and become wild, but carried out the command and left.





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