Thursday, October 3, 2013

The unusual stringency of a "Gadol Ehad" when his wife went to the Mikvah, mentioned by Rabbi Avraham David Wahrman of Buczacz

in 1879, the only edition of קונטרס אמרות טהורות by Rabbi Avraham David Wahrman of Buczacz was published in Lemberg. It has the halachot of Niddah appearing in Hebrew on the top of the page and a translation and commentary in Yiddish on bottom of every page.
Here is from Halacha ב in the Sefer
"גדול אחד ז"ל עמד על אשתו בחפיפתה לטבילתה שלא יהיה הצער גורם שיהיו קצת..."

It was the custom of a "Gadol" to accompany and view his wife on her trip to the Mikvah to ensure the pain that might be caused by cleaning herself thoroughly before dipping would not prevent her from doing it correctly.
Interestingly, the author made the decision of omitting this passage in the Yiddish translation thus preventing the women readers of this book to learn of this custom.

(There is a widespread theory that when many authors mentioned an anonymous "גדול אחד" they often referred to themselves, though this is surely not always the case.)

I have since found written by R. Chaim Elazar Shapira in Darke Teshuva that he writes how he heard from his grandfather R. Shlomo, that is was wrong for the publishers to print this book, as they did not check many of the things that he wrote for himself only and not to be published for the public.
"לא יפה עשו מדפיסי הקונטרס ולא בדקו הרבה דברים שרשמם רק לעצמו ולא לרבים"
(מאורי גלציה ח"ב עמ 956)


  1. This sefer was reprinted with a new typeset, and can be found here:

    The quote in question, can be found here:

  2. I venture to say that the "גדול אחד" does not refer to the author himself, rather it refers to someone in the Middle Ages.

    The problem was, that his young wife had scabs that were painful to remove, and he was concerned that they she would be untruthful about having removed them prior to immersion.

    ט"ז יורה דעה סימן קצח, ס"ק יד
    בעלת חטטין כו'... והביא רש"ל הג"ה אחת וז"ל, וגרב לגבי טבילה צריכה להסיר אף על פי שכואב לה הרבה, ואשתו של (מהרר"ק) [מהר"ח או"ז] היתה צריכה לעמוד לפניו ערומה שהיה רואה שלא היה גרב עליה, שלא היה מאמין לה שהיתה מסירה שהיתה נערה והיה כואב לה, וכן עשה השר מקוצי לאשתו עכ"ל

    This also quoted by the Bach (שם, סוף ד"ה דם יבש) and the Drisha (ibid.).