Tuesday, December 09, 2008

The Tsaddik of Polnoye


This is extremely embarrassing, but not the way a normal person would be embarrassed.

I've just learned that I am a direct descendent, namely the/a great-great-great-granddaughter, of the Tsaddik of Polnoye! That is, the Tsaddik of Polnoye was my grandmother's grandfather.

There are at least three questions you might ask (in no particular order, although your order might tell you something about yourself and your Myers-Briggs type indicator results), if you've read this far:

1) What is a Tsaddik?

2) Where is Polnoye?

3) Why am I embarrassed about this newly-discovered connection?

Answers:

1) A Tsaddik is a very righteous [Jewish] person [man], especially a Hasidic spiritual leader (Wiktionary)

2) Polnoye was a shtetl in what was called Galicia. Here is a map:
http://www.traveljournals.net/explore/russia/map/m4182943/polnoye.htmlYesterday I found a shtetl map that included Polnoye: but today I can't find it. it's the second shtetl above the "K" in UKRAINE.

3) I am embarrassed because I feel extremely proud and don't see any reason why I should, because I had absolutely nothing to do with it and was raised as an independent American woman who thinks (now obviously mistakenly) she can be proud only of her own (and possibly her children's, although even that tarnishes the high standard of individualism I was raised to meet) achievements, not her lineage or the (dubious) accomplishments of her ancestors. A normal person would be embarrassed or perhaps ashamed if her great-great-great-grandfather were some kind of criminal or a nogoodnik who abandoned his wife and child (as my paternal grandfather did, but that's another story).

5 comments:

David Farbey said...

There is a tradition in my family that we are descended, through my mother's maternal grandmother, from the 16th century Kabbalist Isaac Luria, known as the "Ari of Tzefat", and so I understand your mixed feelings about your ancestor.
An American researcher once invited a cousin of mine to take part in a DNA test to "verify" our lineage, but that would have involved paying a hefty laboratory fee, so my cousin didn't take up the offer. We are content to remain just "possible descendants".

Savtadotty said...

This DNA business threatens to solve more mysteries than need solving. And anyhow, the lab tests will probably get cheaper soon enough.

Fred said...

For the record, I'm an ESTJ.

You're right. DNA tests will be on the shelf at Wal-Mart someday.

Chancy said...

Happy New Year
Stay safe and well.

Savtadotty said...

Fred, Oh dear!

Thanks, Chancy. I'm trying.