The Red Strings Of Kever Rachel
Many question the alleged powers of the red strings from Kever Rachel. Supposedly, one who wears a red string that was wound around Rachel’s tomb is protected from the evil eye as well as other negative influences. Some men carry red strings in their wallets, and women who are pregnant or trying to get pregnant sometimes wear red strings around their waists.
Dubious peddlers of Kabbalah promise all types of mystical powers for anyone willing to pay exorbitant prices for their red stings guaranteed to have come from Kever Rachel. These same impostors recently organized a “mystical” dance by men and women, Jewish and non-Jewish, together on the rooftop of Kever Shimon bar Yochai (Kever Rashbi) in Meron, where they also recited the Kaddish, making it into a mockery.
Some have likened the red strings of Kever Rachel to superstitious practices resembling idol worship as described in Tosefta Shabbos 7:1, where certain practices, including tying a red string around one’s finger, are prohibited because of “darchei emori.” The practice of having the string wound around Kever Rachel seven times is cited as “traditional,” with out any specifics.
In a responsum published in 1987, Rabbi Moshe Stern, zt”l (1914-1997), Debretziner Rav and author of Beer Moshe, responded to an inquiry regarding tying strings on children to ward of the evil eye. He wrote: “That was the common practice; they were careful to tie a red string on the carriage or the crib of a child because of the evil eye. All of these are the practices of elderly women, regarding which the Rashba wrote that we should not mock their words and practices, for they are certainly founded in the sacred origins, even if we have forgotten the reasons.”
In a letter to the editor of Der Blatt, the popular Satmar Yiddish weekly, a reader, responding to an article on the history of Kever Rachel in which the author stated that the segulah of the red string has no Jewish source and that the practice is a non-Jewish one, claimed to have asked a respected chassidishe rebbe about this and was given a number of citations, among which were the following:
Sefer Yesod Likra, by Rabbi Aryeh Leib Liphshitz and Rabbi Yechezkel Shraga Lipshitz-Halberstam, published in Jerusalem in 1927, and republished in 2003 by the Kever Rachel Institute: “The custom of winding red string around Kever Rachel becomes blessed and …it is an established segulah to ward off pains and the evil eye, for fertility, easy birth, and more.”
Sefer V’zeh Shaar Hashamayim by Rabbi Dovid Rozoff: “That it is an old custom to tie the red string around the neck or wrist, as a protection against many dangers, especially for pregnant women. First one should wind the string around the monument at Kever Rachel, thus transforming it to a segulah, proven effective time after time.”
Sefer Shut Meoros Noson by Rabbi Noson Geshtetner, zt”l (1932-2010), rosh yeshiva of Yeshiva Ponim Me’iros and rav of Kiryas Agudas Yisroel in Bnei Brak: “Red string is wound around the monument of our Mother Rachel and is tied around the wrist for a segulah and for a yeshuah. It is well known that our mothers and grandmothers did so from the earliest times, and that it is a tradition passed down from generation to generation….”
Expanded Simcha Of The Vishnitzer Chassunah
On Wednesday, February 1, Yoel Yesochor Dov Berish Shneibalg married the daughter of Rabbi Meir Teitelbaum, son of Rabbi Yosef Teitelbaum, Neplemitzer Rav in Boro Park. Rabbi Meir is the son-in-law of Rabbi Yisroel Eliezer Fish, Biksader Rebbe; who is a son of Rabbi Nochum Zvi Fish, zt”l (d. 2003), Biksader Rebbe; son of Rabbi Eliezer Fish zt”l Hy”d(1880-1944), Biksader Rebbe and author of Shem Eliezer murdered in the Holocaust. Rabbi Yisroel Eliezer is a son-in-law of Rabbi Mordechai Hager, Monsey Vishnitzer Rebbe.
The chassan is the son of Rabbi Yisroel Shneibalg, Chernowitzer Rav in Boro Park; son of Rabbi Moshe Shneibalg, Chernowitzer Rebbe in Williamsburg; son of Rabbi Menachem Mendel Shneibalg, Manchester Rav. Rabbi Moshe is the son-in-law of Rabbi Eliyahu Aryeh Terkeltaub, zt”l, Asho Rav. Rabbi Menachem Mendel is the son of Rabbi Dovid Shneibalg, zt”l (1894-1969), Vishnitzer dayan and rosh yeshiva in Grossverdein. Rabbi Dovid was appointed rosh yeshiva at the yeshiva’s inception in 1918. Surviving the Holocaust, he established Beis Medrash Machzike Hadaas in Manchester, England.
Rabbi Yisroel Shneibalg is the son-in-law of Rabbi Pinchas Hager, Boro Park Vishnitzer Rav and son of the Monsey Vishnitzer Rebbe. Thus both chassan and kallah are great-grandchildren of the Monsey Vishnitzer Rebbe.
The simcha commenced in the Main Vishnitzer Beis Medrash in Monsey with a traditional “poor meal” which was served on Friday, erev Shabbos Bo. The meal was combined with a seudas bris milah of a son born to Rabbi Naftali Hager; son of Rabbi Yaakov Yosef Hager; son of the Boro Park Vishnitzer Rav. The Vishnitzer Rebbe took part in the bris as well as in the seudah.
Baruch Hashem, the Vishnitzer Rebbe has recuperated from his disabling illness and its complications. The Aufruf Sabbos Bo was the first time since Sukkos that he conducted and participated in all Shabbos tefillas and tisch, in addition to the aufruf kiddush.
On Sunday evening, Vishnitz celebrated the bar mitzvah of Yisroel Avrohom Stein; son of Rabbi Eliezer Stein; son of Rabbi Dovid Shlomo Stein, Faltecharner Rebbe in Bensonhurst. Rabbi Eliezer is the son-in-law of Rabbi Eliezer Zev Hager, Jerusalem Vishnitzer Rav; son of the Monsey Vishnitzer Rebbe. The event was led by the Vishnitzer Rebbe. Tuesday evening, the traditional chassan mahl was celebrated with the Vishnitzer Rebbe and the chassan sitting at the head of the dais.
Late Wednesday afternoon, the Vishnitzer Rebbe entered the kabbolas panim for the chassan before the badchan began his mussar directives for the chassan. The chuppah ceremony was conducted in front of the Rebbe’s residence and the Rebbe served as the mesader kiddushin. The remaining honors were given to the chassan’s and the kallah’s grandfathers. The wedding was grandly celebrated with a festive meal and a mitzvah dance in the beis medrash.
Thursday evening sheva berachos was conducted at the Vishnitzer Yeshiva in Kiamesha Lake. The Shabbos Beshalach as well as the Tuesday, February 7, sheva berachos were celebrated in the Main Vishnitzer Beis Medrash in Monsey.
Toldos Avrohom Yitzchok Rebbe In America
Rabbi Shmuel Yaakov Kohn, Toldos Avrohom Yitzchok Rebbe in Jerusalem, is visiting the New York City metropolitan area. The Rebbe will be celebrating Tu B’Shevat at the Rose Castle, 380 Flushing Avenue, on Wednesday, February 8, beginning at 4:30 p.m. The Tu B’Shevat tisch, as in years past, will be set on tables set with as many different types of fruit as possible. In addition to being picture worthy, the tisch will give chassidim the opportunity to bless and taste both exotic and regular fruits.
The Toldos Avrohom Yitzchok Rebbe will be in the New York City area for Shabbos Yisro (February 10-11), Mishpatim (February 17-18), and Terumah ((February 24-25). As of this writing, the Rebbe’s agenda, which may change, will have him in Williamsburg at the family home of Yitzchok Rosenberg on Ross Street (718-387-2184), from his arrival time on Monday morning, February 6, to Thursday, February 9. Shabbos Yisro will be held in Seagate. Shabbos Mishpatim will be held in Boro Park. Additional details have yet to be released.
On Monday evening, February 6, Yechezkel Simcha Yesochor Ber Rabinovich married Sarah Rivka Greenwald, the daughter of Rabbi Meir Greenwald, Pupa dayan and eldest son of Rabbi Yaakov Yechezkel Grunwald, Pupa Rebbe. The chassan is the son of Rabbi Chaim Elazar Rabinovich, Dinover dayan; son of Rabbi Ytzchok Yaakov Rabinovich, Dinover Rebbe. Prior to the establishment of the new Dinover Beis Medrash in Williamsburg in 2008 and his appointment as dayan, Rabbi Chaim Elazar served as Rav of Beis Medrash Tehilos Yoel Satmar in Boro Park.
The new Dinover Beis Medrash at 77 Wallabout Street served as the venue for the grand Shabbos tefillas, aufruf, tisch, and traditional festivities. The kabbolas panim for the chassan was held at the Pupa Beis Medrash, 658 Bedford Avenue in Williamsburg. The kabbolas panim for the kallah was held at the Imperial, 712 Bedford Avenue. The chuppah was on a raised platform so that the thousands of chassidimwho participated were able to witness the entire ceremony. One side of Bedford Avenue was reserved for ladies and the other side for men.
The chassunah meal was held at the beis medrash for men and at the Imperial for ladies.
The current Pupa Rebbe is a son-in-law of Rabbi Meir Greenwald, zt”l (d. 1965), Tetcher Rav in Toronto; son of Rabbi Avrohom Yosef Greenwald, zt”l (1878-1928), Ungvarer Rav and son of Rabbi Moshe Greenwald, zt”l (1853-1911), Chuster Rav and author of Arugas Habosem
The Dinover Rebbe is the grandson of Rabbi Chaim Elazar Shapiro, zt”l (1872-1937), Munkatcher Rebbe and prolific author of Minchas Elazar, and also grandson of Rabbi Nosson Dovid Rabinovich, zt”l (1866-1930), Partzover Rebbe and author of V’eilu Hadevorim Shenemru L’Dovid. The Partzover Rebbe was the son of Rabbi Yitzchok Yaakov Rabinovich, zt”l (1847-1905), Biala Rebbe and author of Divrei Bina.
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