Rebitzen Malka Rokeach (Ramraz) (1780 - 1852)

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Nicknames: "Malka Rokeach"
Birthdate:
Death: Died
Managed by: Malka Mysels
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About Rebitzen Malka Rokeach (Ramraz)

Women Heroes: *Malka of Belz

Malkah was the wife of the famed Belzer Rebbe, Rabbi Shalom Rokeach, and the matriarch of the Hassidic dynasty that he founded. The Belzer Rebbe consulted Malkah with his every problem and concern, and often if he was not available to counsel a student or visitor, Malkah would do so in his stead. It is primarily through stories documenting her husband's life that we come to know of her. By means of these tales we learn of her joi-de-vivre, her ability to nourish others, her superb cooking, her intuition and clairvoyance, ruach hakodesh.

Her home was known for being a sanctuary of shalom batyit; everyone who entered Malkah's home felt its healing power, and hundreds came to be nourished both physically and spiritually. Her husband, the Belzer Rebbe, was known to consult her in all matters, both personal as well as rabbinic. This unrestrained respect and admiration that Malkah and her husband showed one another was highly unusual for those times.

Stories about heir mutual devotion are well known among Belzer Hassidim to this day.

One well known Hassidic story actually attributes her husband's greatness to Malkah.

Shalom, who was actually Malkah's second cousin, had come to live with her family Sokol after the early death of his father, Rabbi Eleazaer Rokeach. It was clear to Malkah that her cousin was a genius, illuy, someone meant to be a spiritual leader. But for a long while, even after their betrothal and some time into their marriage, Shalom doubted his aptitude for being a rabbi and attempted other businesses.

Malkah persisted. Every night a midnight she would wake him up with the words, "Shalom, get up from your bed. It is time to serve G-d.". As everyone else in the house slept, she helped her husband into his clothes and spirited him out the window to the House of Study.

One legend tells that this ritual lasted for one thousand nights. On the thousand-and-first night, a great lightening storm arose threating the modest strucures of Sokol and and any creatures who dared to be out of their beds. Nevertheless, Shalom ventured into the storm and made his way to the House of Study. On that awesome night, with thunder, wind and lightning all around, Shalom was visited by Elijah the Prophet himself, who initiated the young man into his spiritual leadership role. Shalom's self-doubts were finally vanquished: Malkah's clarity of vision had triumphed!

Due to the affinity of Malkah and her husband, an unusual break with women's tradition was found in the Belz court. The Belzer Rebbe consulted Malkah with his every problem and concern, and often if he was not available to counsel a student or visitor, Malkah would do so in his stead. Because the Belzer Rebbe visibly demonstrated a great respect for his wife's sagacity and intuitition, his example was followed by his Hassidim, and honor for women has been passed down to this day.

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Stories about Malka see pages 104 - 111. "Women in storytelling", proceedings of the University College of Cape Breton ... By Afra Kavanagh

-------------------- This was published in AMI magazine Rosh Hashana issue 5773.


A story is related about a man with an ailing foot who had visited several doctors in order to ameliorate his pain. Not having success with them, he decided to approach the founder of the Belz dynasty, Rabbi Sholom Rokeach, who in addition to being a tremendous Talmid Chochom was reknown as a healer and miracle worker. The Sar Sholom, as he was also known, was not available at the time of this ailing man’s visit. His Rebbetzin Malka inquired about the latter’s problem and then gave the visitor the following advice: "Bring a candle to the synagogue and light it daily." The man heeded her advice and after a short time his foot completely healed. When he heard of this man’s speedy recovery, the Sar Sholom, became quite impressed with his wife’s healing power and asked her from whom she had received such sage advice. "The composer of the sweet psukim in Tehillim," the Rebbetzin responded. "It says there, Ner Leragli... a candle for my foot ." (Psalms 119:105) This story, one of many about the wife of the founder of the Belz dynasty is indicative of this rebbetzin’s greatness. Her thoughts, totally immersed in our holy scriptures, immediately identified a Torah source referring to the same limb that was in pain. And she just repeated the verse that popped into her head, which was divinely inspired. When complimented and told she had performed a miracle, she discounted her healing power with a modest explanation. "The man gave a donation (candles) to the synagogue and Hashem rewarded him by taking away his pain." It wasn’t her advice that healed him, she claimed, but the merit of his Tzedaka. Rebbetzin Malka Rokeach’s entire being was immersed in thoughts of Hashem and His Torah. She spent more than half a century assisting the Sar Sholom with the establishment of the Belz dynasty. He always gave her full credit for the tremendous heights he reached in his love of Hashem and his Torah. Malka born in 1780, was the daughter of Rav Yissochor Dov and Chana Rochel (ne Tisminitzer) Ramraz. Rabbi Y.D. Ramraz was a distinguished rabbi and an Av Beis Din in the city of Sokal, Galicia; Malkah was named after her paternal grandmother, the daughter of Rabbi Yehudah Leib Bick. Malkah’s paternal grandfather was Rabbi Yehudah Zundel Ramraz, a descendant of an oustanding star of the golden age of Spain, Rabbi Chaim Abulafiah of Toledo who could trace his ancestry back to Dovid Hamelech. Malkah’s paternal great grandfather was Rab Rabbi Moshe ben Rav Todros, who was a dayan in Brody and called Rabbi Moshe Rabbi Zeligs, after his father-in-law Rabbi Aaron Zelig Bar Yehudah Zundel Segal of chachmei Brody. This Rabbi Moshe was known as a holy Tzaddik, a ninth generation descendant of Rabeinu Todros Halevi who was a student of the Ramban. It was the initials of his name Rabbi Moshe Rabbi Zeligs which made up the name RaMRaZ. Malkah’s mother Chana Rochel ne Tisministzer was the great granddaughter of Rabbi Zechariah Mendel ben Aryeh Leib of Crakow who wrotes acommentary on sections of Choshen Mishpat and Yoreh Deah on the Shulchan Aruch which commentary is called Be’er Heitev. Malkah is known to have had at least one sister by the name of Brochoh whose married name was Babad, one brother by the name of Tvi Hersh Ramraz and another brother who had the same name as her father, probably born after her father passed away.

The following was added by Pearl Herzog. Malkah had a shawl that the Belzer Rebbe made into a Paroches to hang in the Belz Shul. The lining of the Paroches was the bekeshe of Rav Shmuel of Nikolsburg and the outside was Malkah's shawl. Also I learned that Elazar the oldest son was the Sandek for his little brother who became the second Rebbe of Belz.