On Virtual Shtetl, Krzysztof Bielawski reminds us of the many Hasidic pilgrimages that will take place in January (the Hebrew months of Tevet and Shevat) to the tombs of tzaddikim in Jewish cemeteries in a number of towns in Poland. It is a tradition for followers of venerated sages and rabbes to visit their tombs on the anniversary (yahzeit) of their death. With travel eased after the fall of communism nearly 25 years ago, thousands of pilgrims visit tombs throughout the year. Infrastructure has been developed to serve them, and in general the tombs themselves have undergone renovation and care.
Here is a list Krzysztof has drawn up of the pertinent dates in January:
January 1 (29 Tevet) — Aleksandrów — tzaddik Jerechmiela Israel Yitzhak Danziger. Two weeks later (January 15, or 14 Shevat) is the anniversary of the death of his father Yechiel Danziger.
January 3 (2 Shevat) — Warka — yahrzeit of Joseph, the son of Menachem Mendel of Mszczonowo (Menachem Mendel is buried in Warsaw, and his yahrzet is the next day, January 4, or 3 Shevat)
January 6 (5 Shevat) — Góra Kalwarija — yahrzeit of Yehuda Ari Leib, son of Avraham Mordechai Alter
January 8 (7 Shevat) — Lelow — yahrzeit of David ben Shlomo Biderman, a disciple of Rabbi Elimelech Lizhensk and Yakov Yitzchak Horowitz of Lublin. This will be one of the biggest groups to visit a tomb.
The tomb of David Biderman was destroyed during the Second World War, and the Agricultural Cooperative store “Peasant Self-Help” was built on the site. Starting in 1988 the yahrzeti was celebrated in a separate part of the store. At the end of last year, thanks to the involvement of the Nissenbaum Family Foundation, an ohel was built at the site of the demolished store. See a gallery of photos of the pilgrimage to Lelów
January 11 (10 Shevat) — Tarnów — yahrzeit of Yechiel Horowitz, the son of Meir of Dzików
January 16 (15 Shevat) — Radzymin — Shlomo Jehoszua David, the son Yakov Ari Gutermana
January 21 (20 Shevat) — Piotrkow Trybunalski — yahrzeit of Chaim David, son of Issachar Ber Bernard
January 28 (27 Shevat) — Warsaw — Emanuel Waltfrieda, the son of Isaiah of Przedborz