Research Query: Rabbi's Vivid Narration of the Passage through the Sea (Follow-up)

Jacob Adler's picture

In a previous post I asked:


I once read an account of Hasidic rabbi whose narration of the passage through the Sea of Reeds at the Passover Seder was so vivid that the people seated at the table pulled their coats more tightly around them, because they could feel the drops of water coming in upon them from the walls of water on the right and the left.

Can anyone direct me to a source of this account?

My own research subsequently turned up an answer.  The story I found varies in its details, but the main point is the same.  It concerns Rabbi Shmelke of Nikolsburg reciting the Song of the Sea in Shaharit, and can be found in Moses Menahem Walden, Ohel Yitsak (Piotrków: Liebeskind, 1914), p. 74 (= 37b); trans. Yitzhak Buxbaum in Jewish Spiritual Practices (Lanham, Md.: Rowman and Allanheld, 2005), p. 536.

I would still be grateful for any other relevant sources.

Jacob Adler
University of Arkansas
Philosophy Department

Fayetteville, Arkansas


Categories: Query

Dear Jacob,

1. See the story of Rabbi Shmelke of Nikolsburg, the one from your query, retold in Tales of the Hasidim, ed. Martin Buber, New York, 1991 (2 vols. in 1), vol. 1 ("Sleep"); Martin Buber, "Hasidism and Modern Man," in The Martin Buber Reader: Essential Writings, ed. Asher Biemann, New York, 2002, 85-94, at 89.

2. For a second story involving Rabbi Shmelke reciting the Song of the Sea — while crossing the frozen Danube river: see Abraham Hayyim Simhah Bunem Michelson, Shemen ha-tov, Piotrków, 1905, p. 60, #9 (; "The Ride on the Danube," in Tales of the Hasidim, vol. 1; and concerning the magical qualities of the Song of the Sea, cf. "The Jewish Fisherman's Song of the Sea," in Folktales of the Jews, vol. 3: Tales from Arab Lands, ed. Dan Ben-Amos, Philadelphia, 2011, 183-187.

3. On Rabbi Shmelke (1726-1778), see Bedřich Nosek, "Shemuel Shmelke ben Tsvi Hirsh ha-Levi Horovits: Legend and Reality," Judaica Bohemiae, 21, 1 (1985): 75-94.


Liran Yadgar (Monterey, CA)