Chapter

The Maiden Possessed

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/9780520231917.003.0008
The Maiden Possessed

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Hannah Rochel fell into coma due to a traumatic experience while at her mother's grave. Rochel does not challenge the traditional position of women within the spiritual and social hierarchy of Hasidism. Moreover, the Maiden of Ludmir's incarnational claim in light of kabbalistic theories of reincarnation and spirit possession is explained. Rochel claim that she received a new and higher soul as a result of her heavenly ascent. One of the most striking features of the Maiden's story is the wide range of claims that she was possessed. This chapter investigates the matrix of Jewish mystical traditions concerning positive possession that may have influenced the Maiden's self-conception, the perception of her devotees, and the writings of her biographers. Unlike other Hasidic holy women, she was not related to a powerful male leader.

Keywords: Hannah Rochel; Maiden of Ludmir; Hasidism; kabbalistic theories; reincarnation; spirit possession

Chapter.  10268 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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