Chapter

Birth and Childhood

Nathaniel Deutsch

in The Maiden of Ludmir

Published by University of California Press

Published in print June 2003 | ISBN: 9780520231917
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520927971 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520231917.003.0006
Birth and Childhood

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This chapter shows that Heller's curse did find its way into the Maiden of Ludmir's story. Hannah Rochel was born during a period of intense crisis for Jews throughout the Russian Empire. There are two basic versions of the events leading up to her birth, both involving the intervention of a powerful rebbe. By emphasizing the zaddik's role in the Maiden of Ludmir's birth, the narrative links her story to the Chernobler dynasty from the very beginning. The birth narrative establishes the close relationship between the Maiden and her mother. Descriptions of the Maiden's early education are explained. She is depicted as a visionary even before the heavenly vision that biographers depict as the turning point in her spiritual life. As the only child in a highly androcentric culture, the Maiden was allowed and even encouraged by her parents to engage in traditionally male religious activities.

Keywords: Maiden of Ludmir; Hannah Rochel; Russian Empire; birth; childhood; education; Chernobler dynasty

Chapter.  5250 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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