In the recent Mishpacha Pesach 5781 edition they ran a lovely feature entitled 'Eyes that Saw Angels' which is a written testimony from various people who were zoche (merited) to have seen / spent time with certain gedolei yisroel of yesteryear.

In one of the features, Mr Mordechai Judowitz talks about growing up in Romania and spending time with the Satmar Rebbe. (A video version of his testimonial is on the Mishpacha website - 9 minutes in). As part of his description of life in the early 1900s he refers to the 1919 Spanish Flu, and in a bid to combat the epidemic, the townspeople were reminded of an ancient segulah called the 'Black Wedding'. Otherwise known as a 'Shvartze Chasuna' - 'שוואַרץ חתונה' also explained here and here.

The premise as explained in the article (p.168) is as follows:

A destitute couple, engaged to be married but unable to afford the expenses of their own wedding, was chosen. Then the entire town was instructed to contribute to the costs. On the date of the celebration, they all gathered for a solemn ceremony at the edge of the local cemetery, where there were no graves. The couple was showered with gifts and married by the Knesses Yechezkel who then announced: "In the merit of this holy wedding, Hashem should consider it a worthy undertaking to shield the entire community against all illness and misfortune." And so it was.

The articles adds as an addendum:

The first known reference to a "Black Wedding" was recorded in the sefer Ohel Elimelech which describes one such wedding hosted by Rav Elimelech of Lizhensk during the 1785 cholera epidemic with the participation of the Maggid of Kozhnitz and the Chozeh of Lublin. This ancient custom was renewed during the COVID pandemic, when one such wedding was held last year in Bnei Brak's Ponevezh cemetery.

I found this practise very interesting, so a couple of questions please:

  1. Does anyone know what it says in the Ohel Elimelech about the said segulah. Does it provide the reasoning behind it?

  2. Do any other seforim / Rabbonim touch on this segulah?


1 Answer 1


So I found the source in the Ohel Elimelech over here on p.66 (second column no. 153) - The only thing that is mentioned as far as the mechanics behind the segulah, and even then I don't think that it is the basis of the Segulah in its entirety, is the mentioning that Rav Elimelech of Lizhensk made a point of dancing for a long time with the chosson and kallah based on the principle brought down in chazal (not sure where - anyone?):

א' רבש"ע בשכר הרקידות מצוה שרקדנו נזכה עכ"פ לכבות גחלת אחת המוכן בגיהנם עבורינו

Hashem says the reward of dancing for the mitzvah that we danced, we will merit to extinguish one coal prepared in Gehenom (hell) for us.

  • I couldn't connect this answer to the question. And what is "as far as the mechanics behind the segulah"?
    – Al Berko
    Apr 5, 2021 at 18:30
  • 1
    E.g. what is the reason why it has to be done on the side of a cemetery? Is it just a nice thing we do for a poor couple, and so since it is such a 'big' mitzvah, it helps save us from an epidemic, or, is there a deeper reasoning behind it. That is why I said I wasn't completely satisfied with it and that "I don't think that it is the basis of the Segulah in its entirety" - I answered first and foremost to show it in the Ohel Elimelech source to hopefully encourage others to work off it to provide a more comprehensive answer. The downvote is a bit harsh.
    – Dov
    Apr 5, 2021 at 19:14

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