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
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
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
4. Shivenu Di Rebbitzin
Shivenu "Di Rebbitzin" was a well-known woman in the town. Women and
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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