Books / Chassidic History / Chassidut Belz / Chassidut Satmar / Haredi Women

Women in Chassidism: “Aidel Rokeach of Brody”

The Israeli researcher Rachel Elior mentions in the English version of her book DYBBUKS AND JEWISH WOMEN (page 112) the daughter of Rebbe Shalom Rokeach (1783 – 1855) of Belz. It says that Aidel, the Rebbe’s daughter, did not integrate into the traditional female role in Chassidism. Instead, she lived in Brody and was considered to be a Zaddik (Zadeket) who challenged her brother Yehoshua Rokeach. The brother labeled her as mentally ill and that she is possessed by a Dybbuk. It was him performing ritual exorcism on her.
The famous Israeli researcher David Assaf also writes about Aidel in his book CAUGHT IN THE THICKET – Chapters of Crisis and Discontent in the history of Hasidism.
This book is in Hebrew only and the first chapter extensively deals with Moshe, one of the sons of Rebbe Shneur Zalman of Liadi. It is said that Moshe had a clinical mental problem and later converted to Christianity. I wrote about the subject in the past:
Anyway, David Assaf is also mentioning Aidel Rokeach and, among many others, a son of Rabbi Israel Salanter. Lipman Lipkin studied at the universities of Koenigsberg (East Prussia) and Berlin. Lipman was associated with the Haskalah movement but remained Jewish and apparently, more or less, religious. But not the way his father wanted him to be.
Regarding Aidel Rokeach it says that her father, Rebbe Shalom of Belz, loved her very much. Somewhere on the Internet I read that he once said: “The only thing Aidele is missing is a Streimel !”
She used to live in Brody, received Pidyionot and taught Torah. Aidel criticized her brother, the later Belzer Rebbe Yehoshua Rokeach,  who declared her of being possessed by a Dybbuk.
Wouldn’t it be more logical that he was afraid of her intellect ? It happens that female Rebbe children have more brain than one of their brothers who is destined for the Rebbe’s position. In those days, however, her intellect turned out dangerous for herself.
Today, one has to have the personality of a Alte Feiga Teitelbaum in order to take over a chassidic group. Even temporarily.
I know a Rebbitzen living in Mea Shearim who would be able to do the same, as Rebbitzen Alte Feiga did. But I am not telling you who because her group may put me on the black list. 🙂

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