Sunday, June 21, 2015

An Inscription in a Hebrew Book Feb 18 1944, from Nyírmeggyes, Hungary - Days before total deportation

Found in a copy of Igra DePirka, by R. Zevi Elimelech Shapiro of Dynow printed in 1942 in Munkatch, was a brief inscription:
לדהו"מ קניתי את הספר הקדוש הזה לכבוד צורי וקוני ממעות מעשר שלי בעד 3.90 אשר התניתי מתחלה גם על זה
ב תצוה תש"ד נירמעציעיש יע"א
"To G-d is the world and all it encompasses, I purchased this holy book for the honor of my lord and master, with money set aside for tithes, for the price of 3.90, as per the condition I originally made,
Monday, Parashat Tezaveh (Feb 18, 1944) 5744, Nyírmeggyes, May G-d protect us"

Nyírmeggyes, had a Jewish Population of approximately 250 in 1910. Selective murder and deportation of Hungarian Jews was already taking place since 1941, but shortly after this inscription was written, on March 19, 1944, the total deportation of all Hungarian Jews was decided upon and swiftly carried out.


  1. Below is a link to a similar inscription, also exhibiting a "wartime" reflection. A member of the Lodz ghetto purchased the sefer, Kedushas Levi (and Sefer HaChinuch?) on June 19, 1941 and, likewise, major deportations began shortly thereafter.

  2. Hello, I'm from Nyírmeggyes Hungary. Can you tell me something more specific about this book- is it a praying stuff? It is so sad, we do not no anything about the Jews in Nyírmeggyes. They were destroyed in wartime. It is so sad story, Nowadays as far as I know there are no one left alive, there is no jewis resident of the village of Nyírmeggyes. The XX. century was a mess, for us, we lost so many thing, The wars and romanian occupation was so hard on us.... - I really would like to know more about this book. Thank you

    1. Unfortunately, the fate is similar to many of the small tows in Hungary that had Jewish Communities.
      The book itself is a classic work of the Hasidic Community, by R. Zevi Elimelech Shapiro ben Pesach of Dynow (1785–1841), a disciple of R. Zevi Hirsch of Zhidachov, R. Jacob Isaac "ha-Hozeh" ("the seer") of Lublin, and the Maggid Israel of Kozienice. R. Zevi Elimelech served as rabbi in Strzyzow, Halicz, Dynow, and Munkacs. His total opposition to Haskalah and philosophy was evidenced in both his devotion to Kabbalah as the essence of Judaism and his statement that "there is no knowledge, either in the realm of science or philosophy, which is not alluded to in the Torah [which is higher than the intellect]" (Benei Yissakhar, Sec. 2:88). He considered philosophical enquiry a waste of time and of soul. Rational reason should not be sought for the mitzvot, but they should be observed with love, as divine decrees, whether rational or not, without questioning or seeking proofs. Man must have faith "even in two opposite [commands of God] where the intellect cannot solve the contradiction" (ibid., Sec. 1, 73). The task of the zaddik is of utmost importance since by means of the high spiritual level he attains he may help to unite the upper and lower worlds. Zevi Elimelech differentiated between two types of zaddikim: the perfect one, "the servant of God" (eved adonai) and the one who only "worships God" (oved Adonai). Worship of God must combine both love and fear. Fear corresponds to zimzum and love corresponds to hitpashetut ("expansion"). Just as there can be no stability or survival for worlds without zimzum, so if it were not for fear, man would dissolve in ecstasy "and the light of the soul would depart from its earthly container." Fear of Divine Majesty – in contradistinction to fear of punishment – is the acme of faith. A man "to whom God gives knowledge (binah) is enabled to retreat within himself directing his thought to his Creator also while in the company of other men." Dynow thus reformulates Nahmanides' thesis (commentary on Deuteronomy 11:20).

    2. Thank you! I just had a search on the internet, this is how i found your site! Thank you, we do not have much memory from that time, except the cemetery, and now this tiny litte paper! This is huge! Huge, because we lost not just a history of the jewish people in nyírmeggyes, but, most of our memory abouth them. The old people, even my grandfather died, he know some of the jewish kid from the 30's.... Wow, Thank you so much! As a Calvinist, and a teacher of history and religion, I'm very greatful! God Bless you