When Rachel Krishevsky died in September, her family said she left behind 1,400 descendants. Not to be outdone, Yitta Schwartz died last month with, according to her family, as many as 2,000 descendants. I’ll be honest, the math seems a bit murky after the 200 grandchildren, but her story is interesting nonetheless:
Whatever the occasion, she would pack a small suitcase and thumb a ride from her apartment in Kiryas Joel to Williamsburg or elsewhere.
“She would appear like the Prophet Elijah,” said one of her daughters, Nechuma Mayer, who at 64 is her sixth-oldest living child, and who has 16 children and more than 100 grandchildren and great-grandchildren. “Everybody was fighting over her!”
There were so many occasions that, to avoid scheduling conflicts, one of her sons was assigned to keep a family calendar. But her family insists that Mrs. Schwartz had no trouble remembering everyone’s name and face.
Like many Hasidim, Mrs. Schwartz considered bearing children as her tribute to God. A son-in-law, Rabbi Menashe Mayer, a lushly bearded scholar, said she took literally the scriptural command that “You should not forget what you saw and heard at Mount Sinai and tell it to your grandchildren.”
Read the rest here. And, in case you’re wonder, yes, a lushly bearded scholar is exactly how I want to be described someday.
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