Henele Bas Wahl Shor, חנה שור

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About Henele Bas Wahl Shor (Wahl Katzenallenbogen), חנה שור

Polish King wanted to marry Hannah. Father asked Ephraim who, although very aged, agreed to save her.

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Saul Wahl – by Dr. Neil Rosenstein

Chapter two, page 52

When Rabbi Pinchas Katzenellenbogen’s father was terminally ill, in 1733, he further narrated another story about the beautiful daughter, Hindele (Hanele) of Saul Wahl.

To return to may narrative, I heard more of Saul’s history from my learned and pious father in 1733. He lay mortally ill in Furth, a city where many physicians reside. I went there from Markbriet, and I stayed with him for three weeks. When I was alone with him, he dictated his will, which I wrote down word for word. Then, speaking almost inaudibly, he told me the following in order that I might know, he said, what happened to our noted ancestor, Saul Wahl:

“The king who was elected by the nobles the day following Saul’s brief reign placed him in a high position, and he was revered as a leader among the Jews. His success went to his head, however, and he became very haughty. This brought him great misfortune.

Saul had a daughter, a virgin girl of rare beauty

(by name I believe that he had recalled her Hindele, but after I referred to the above mentioned genealogy which he himself had written and that her name was Hanele he corrected himself as I heard) and who was famous throughout Poland for her intellect.

Many suitors sought her hand. Among them was a brilliant young scholar, the son of a noted rabbi.

(My father did not reveal his name, either because he did not know it, or preferred not to mention it.)

To make a long story short, the Rabbi brought his celebrated son to Brisk, and, staying as a guest at the home of one of the community elders, broached the match. But our ancestor, puffed up with pride, considered himself high and might and thought his beautiful daughter was worthy of a more distinguished suitor. This match he would not even consider, thus humiliating both father and son.

The whole community was outraged. They murmured against Saul Wahl. They sought to assuage the wounded feelings f the distinguished guests, and one of the most prominent citizens gave his daughter in marriage to the young scholar. But from that time our ancestor suffered the hatred of the whole community. They sought eagerly to bring about his downfall.

“An opportunity came. It happened at that time that the Queen died. Some of the men of Brisk, intent upon revenging Saul’s insult, went to the nobles with whom they were in favor and spoke to them of Hindele. They described her exquisite beauty and remarkable intellect, as excellence’s worthy of a queen. As a matter of fact, was she not a queen? Had not her father sat upon the throne? They filled the ears of the nobles with such talk, suggesting that they in turn repeat it to the King and inflame his passion.

Of course, they perpetrated their evil plot most subtly, lest Saul get wind of it and frustrate them. They cautioned the nobles to act quietly so that the King might seize the girl before her father became aware of it. The nobles followed the counsel of these slanderers, secretly winning the ear of the King. He had the girl brought to the palace secretly by the royal guard.

“But G-d, who watches over Israel and dispenses His everlasting mercies willed otherwise. He had mercy upon Hindele and granted Saul the wisdom and power to prevent the consummation of the plot. With the help of the Almighty, he acted speedily and wisely. An whoever knew what had happened and saw the outcome wondered greatly.”

At that time the chief rabbi of Brisk was the Gaon Rabbi Zalman Shor, author of “Tevuot Shor Kitzur Beit Yosef” on the Four Turim, who was the brother of the Gaon Rabbi Haim Shor author of “Torat Chayim,” son(s) of the famous Gaon who is mentioned a number of times in the “Magen Avraham” and in some other scholarly works, the Gaon Hirsch Shor of Blessed memory. At this same Gaon, rabbi of Brisk was at that time a seventy-year –old widower.

The Nagid Saul having heard of the situation immediately went to Rabbi Zalman Shor and revealed the secret to him. He requested that he immediately marry his virgin daughter Hanale, although this was against the law. After that the Heavens bestowed upon Hanale holy seed. My father further extolled her wisdom and saintliness, which he had heard from his holy forefathers in those lands since his mother was the pious rebbetzin Yente, the maternal granddaughter of the saintly and famous Gaon, Jacob Shor, of blessed memory…son of Zalman Shor.

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