JERUSALEM (VINnews) — Old books can contain untold treasures not just in their content but in what hides between the pages. Recently a yellowing page was found in an old Gemara which revealed a lost prayer recited by the Jews of Krakow at the tomb of the Rema every Lag Ba’omer, which coincides with the Yahrzeit of the Rema. The prayer – Maaneh Lashon to be recited at the tomb of the Rema on his Yahrzeit – was specially composed for the occasion.
The prayer does not appear in a regular siddur, since it was usually printed for one-time use at the tomb and then placed in the local geniza. Thus it was almost lost until discovered in an old gemara.
Berel Shor(94), who was born in Krakow and is a descendant of the Rema, remembers vividly the custom of visiting the tomb of his ancestor on Lag Ba’Omer. When Shor was 12 years old World War 2 broke out. He and his sister succeeded in escaping from Krakow but his parents perished later. However before their murder they succeeded in moving their valuable Torah library to a Polish friend, Prof. Traosh Kowalski from the Jagiellonian university in Krakow. Prof. Kowalski preserved the library and later restored it to surviving family members. It is now in the possession of Berel Shor.
Among the hundreds of books in the library there are many different pages stuck inside the books including the almost forgotten prayer recited at the tomb of the Rema. A young Jew from Krakow, Zev Alexandrowitz, had captured pictures of the prayers at the tomb in the 1930’s but until now it was not known what was being said there.
Berel Shor and his son, attorney David Shor, sent the prayer to the present heads of the Krakow Jewish community in the hope that they will renew the ancient tradition of the community from prior to World War II and recite it at the tomb of the Rema.