Jewish pilgrims pay homage to late ‘miracle rabbi’


Central Europe


A Hasidic Jewish pilgrim prays close to the grave of late miracle rabbi Yeshaya Steiner, also known as Rebbe Shaya’le. Photo AFP, Attila Kisbenedek

At the end of April, Hasidic Jews flock to Hungary for a special pilgrimage. They pay homage to the late ‘miracle rabbi’ Yeshaya Steiner, also known as Rebbe Shaya’le.

Since Steiner's death in 1925, his tomb has become a sacred place for the Hasidic Jews.

Jews praying at the grave. Photo AFP, Attila Kisbenedek

Nowadays, tens of thousands of orthodox Jews make the trip to Bodrogkeresztur, the Hungarian town where the rabbi is buried. Some travel by shuttle bus, others take a private plane or even a helicopter to get to the grave.

The cemetery where the tomb is located. Photo AFP, Attila Kisbenedek

The tomb is located at the Jewish cemetery in the village of Bodrogkeresztur. Usually, the Hungarian town is quiet, but this changes immediately with the arrival of the pilgrims.

Jews pray and read the Torah in the former house of rabbi Steiner. Photo AFP, Attila Kisbenedek

Rabbi Steiner died in 1925. He is known for devoting his life to the poor and performing miracles for both Jews and Gentiles.

Jews in front of the tomb of rabbi Steiner. Photo AFP, Attila Kisbenedek

Pilgrims who visit the grave have told AFP that they believe that whoever visits the grave will be blessed in his life.

Jews pray to rabbi Steiner. Photo AFP, Attila Kisbenedek

Hasidic Jews believe that carrying the image of the rabbi chases away mice and protects against misinformation. They also pray for his blessing on issues such as children, business and other matters.

Memorial cards of late miracle rabbi Yeshaya Steiner, also known as Rebbe Shaya’le, are on display for sale in front of his former house in the village of Bodrogkeresztur, Hungary. Photo AFP, Attila Kisbenedek

Before World War II broke out, the town of Bodrogkeresztur had a large orthodox Jewish community. However, during the war, 750 orthodox Jews were deported. Almost all of them perished in death camps.

Hasidic Jews at the tomb. Photo Attila Kisbenedek

After the Communist rule, that was established in Hungary after World War II, ended in 1989, relatives of the rabbi bought back his house. Since then it has been open for pilgrims.



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