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Miriam the Laundress


Tomorrow, the 24th of Tevet, is the yarzheit of “Miriam the Laundress,” מרים הכובסת. On her yarzheit thousands of people visit her grave on Har ha-Menuḥot, often looking for help with fertility problems. Who is this woman whom some people describe as a saint? A few years ago Tsur Erlich, a journalist for Makor Rishon, published an article (Hebrew) about Miriam that tells the true story about her and her journey to sainthood.  The truth behind the legend is far from happy, she was widowed and left childless, and never married again because her husband’s brother converted to Islam and refused to perform halitzah.

You can read (Hebrew) about her at My Tzadik and see evidence of her sainthood. Also see this blog post about her (English) for more examples of her saintliness.

2 Responses to “Miriam the Laundress”

  1. 1
    Harry Perkal:

    What a beautiful story, 32 women became pregnant the first year they visted the grave. What is left out of the story is that the grondskeeper of the cemetery was the father of all the 32 babies born .

  2. 2

    A very well put together piece, thank you for sharing. I had not heard about this woman before, perhaps because it apparently only became a “thing” in the past ten years. The Journalist who wrote the story makes a wonderful allusion, stating that after hearing the old man (Mr. Arbeli’s), the tale became less of a “tzenu urena” story, and more of a “kutzop shel yud” story. Of course, there is no independent verification that Mr. Arbeli had his facts right.

    One thing though. I’s the Rebbe correct, that one must wait for chalitzah from someone who converted? I claim no experitse in Even Ha-ezer, but there was a debate in this matter involving The Sridei Aish, where he cited the Rama and Chasam Sofer that one need not attain chalitzah from a meshumad. Perhaps this is what the Rebbe was referringo in saying “Beikar” she needs it, but we try to find a hetter. One thing is sure, contrary to Gordon’s poem, here are many hetterim out there.




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