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I heard a tale about a wonder that happened during the Maharsha's funeral procession which involved a church falling down and the Maharsha sitting up in his bier.

What is the original source of this story?

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1 Answer 1

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I saw the story in Otzros Maharsha, who quoted it from Kochvei Or.

I haven't searched further, but I assume that if this is the first source the biographers of the Maharsha found, it won't be too easy to find an earlier source.

באוסטרה מקום המרש"א ז"ל היה טומאה להגויים, כשהיו היהודים צריכים לילך עם נפטר דרך המקום הזה (כי לא היה להם דרך אחרת) אז היו מצלצלים וכו', וכל מי שהלך דרך שם המיר דתו רחמנא לצלן. וצוה המרש"א ז"ל, שכאשר יהיה נפטר מהעולם וישאו דרך שם, יניחו עליו חבור המהרש"א שעשה. ועשו כן. ושם התאספו כל הכומרים והתחילו לצלצל. והעמידו את מיטתו, ויושב המהרש"א ז"ל את עצמו והתחיל לדפדף את הדפים, והתחילה הטומאה עם האנשים להיבלע בארץ, ונבלעו כולם בארץ. ועד היום יש סימן מזה שנבלעה בארץ.

In Ostroh [Ukraine], the area of the Maharsha, there was a church [lit. impurity] for the non-Jews. When the Jews had to pass by this church during a funeral (because there was no other path to get to the cemetery) the church would start ringing its bells etc. and whoever was walking past would renounce his religion [i.e. was compelled to acknowledge Christianity in some way], Heaven-forfend. The Maharsha dictated in his will that when he passes on from this world, [and] they will pass [his body] by this church they [i.e. the Jews] should rest upon him his Torah writings. And so they [the Jews] did. [As the funeral procession passed by the church] the priests gathered and began to ring the bells. The [body of the] Maharsha arose from repose and sat himself up and began to leaf through the pages [of his Torah writings], and the church and its people began to get swallowed by the earth, and they were entirely swallowed up by the earth. And until this day, there is an indication [i.e. landmark] where the earth swallowed them up.

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  • It seems that the picture is cutoff at the left side
    – zunior
    Mar 20 at 20:54
  • That's how it is on Otzar Hachochma
    – chortkov2
    Mar 20 at 21:14

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