The Story Of "Malkele die Triskerin" Good Company For your Passover Seder
Malkele, the Rebbe of Trisk was the daughter of Rabbi Avrohom of Trisk; who was one of the eight sons of Rabbi Mordechai of Chernobyl. (son of Menachem Nachim,the first great rebbe of Chernobyl) Reb Mordechai, realizing that his domain could not sustain eight rebbes, is supposed to have sent each son to a different location in the Ukraine to do their community work.* He kept his gifted daughter Hana Hava, a woman inspired by the Shekhinah, close to him in Chernobly where she gave advise and healings. While there are stories about Hana Havahs holiness, we are not told if she was married or single.
One wonders if Malkele learned from her aunt or from the male members of her family how to conduct herself as Rebbe. Afer her husband Efraim passed away, leaving her with two sons to support, she began conducting public meals (serving the poor twice a day) and giving advise and blessings to Trisk chasidim. While Chasidic histories mention her brothers as inheriting the court, it is clear that she too had followers. What is not clear is whether she conducted prayer services or left that to male members of her community.
Stories about her say that she loved music and attracted wonderful musicians to her court, especially for holidays when she had a choir as well. Her favorite song was “v chol maaminim” (from the liturgy for Yom Kippur)Passover was rumored to be one of her favorite holidays, and the time when she sported a solid gold crown inlaid with precious jewels.
Malkeles father was rumored to enjoy luxuries and to have been a free spender; which might explain the gold crown, that she is supposed to have received as a gift from him. (This also fits with a story about her brother and his ownership of a gold menorah that was confiscated by the Soviets)
She would emerge for the Seder, escorted by her sons, wearing the gold crown to her sumptuos Passover seders, which featured the most talented musicians and included waiters at the tables.
Most outstanding though was a special door for Elijah she had built, which was opened only once a year. And after inviting the prophet in, she is said to have drunk the cup of Elijah herself !
Although we have no birthdate or yahrzeit for this unusal woman, her association with the Passover seder is a natural and her minhag of drinking Elijah’s cup (still schocking even to modern Jews) is a custom suited to contemporaty thinking that each of carries some of the prophetic and messianic energy.
Passover Greeting 5777 From Rabbi Leah Novick
Rabbi Leah Novick's Passover Plate
In early Nisan, I try to remember last year's Passover preparation. And all I can recall is that each Pesach is different and every year I go through some unique right of passage. This 5777, my personal Yetziyat Mitzraim" was closing my professional office of twenty years, and going through photos and files that attested to serving, celebrating, teaching and counseling. My life work and projects continue, but the form has been de-constructed.
For the last few weeks, friends and followers showed up every day to help sort and pack, shlep and store. Many came without being asked and took on the physically demanding tasks. We estimate that we re-cycled six hundred pounds of paper ! I was overjoyed to give away paintings and sculpture, books and furniture, drums and decorative items. I am truly blessed that my possessions now have good homes with loving friends.
That decision was both economic and medical - as my operated knee is still healing. I go for physical therapy twice a week and do daily exercises. There has been some progress, and I am now able to drive and swim. However, I am slated for two ankle surgeries in the coming months to address continued problems with my left ankle.(injured in a hiking accident in Israel some years ago and then impaired by arthritis.) Two eminent surgeons agreed that I need two surgeries which cannot be done at the same time. So, I am looking at another half year with limited mobility which prevents me from working and requires that I have assistance.
The good news is that the University of Colorado (where I am archived along with Reb Zalman) is planning a symposium and exhibit - focused on my work and the Divine Feminine - on November second this year. I have to be able to travel to Boulder to deliver my speech at the gathering ! I also have a seventh great grandchild in Israel who I have not met yet. My other important goal is to spend time with my family in Israel by next year.
Meanwhile I remain spiritually uplifted and emotionally supported as I deal with these physical challenges, and their financial impact. As you may know, Rabbi Sarah Leah Grafstein of Ruach Hamidbar in Scottsdale Arizona has set up a tax deductible "medical fund" for me to cover health expenses not fully covered under Medicare.
Wishing you a truly liberating Passover. This year more than ever, our internal work is critical as we deal with an exterior world of increasing chaos. Despite attacks on so many important programs, I am encouraged by the increase in activism and hope for a spring time of renewed hope and commitment to social justice and peace.