The Zakim Name:
Zakim in Hebrew means “the seeds of holy people” and there is an interesting story behind this name:
The Zakim story, we write Zakheim. This version followed the first version, the “Heim,” meaning “they are.” There are many versions of the name: Zak, Zakim, Zakay, Sackhiem, etc. The meaning of the names: “The Holy Seeds” - הם קודש זרע
The first people that called themselves Zakim, “Zera Kodesh Heim,” were the descendant of the Rabbi Israel one of the martyrs of Rosanoi that died/perished as martyrs on the second day of Rosh Hashanah in September 9, 1659 - 5420 being the year in the Jewish calendar.
The story started as a blood libel against the Jews that was very common during that period. The hatred to the Jews was very strong in those years - (Khmelnytsky pogroms which thousands of Jews were killed 10 years before).
The events leading to the martyrdom began in the spring of 1657 just before Passover in the small Lithuanian-Polish town of Rozana (Rozanoi/ Ruzhany) the body of a murdered Christian child was discovered in the yard of one of the Jewish inhabitants. The entire Christian community rose up in anger and soon the story began to circulate that the Jewish needed the blood of the child in order to make matzos This was the repeat of the "blood libel" עלילת דם A court was convened to find and punish the guilty person or persons.
Since the perpetrators were unknown, the entire Jewish community was sentenced to death with the proviso that the death sentence upon the community would be lifted if the guilty one or ones confessed. The Jewish were in turmoil since they did not know who had committed the murder. What could they do? The community elders tried but not come up with a solution to their problem. There was no reasoning with the local Christian peasants who were led by religious fanatics.
In order to spare the Jewish community, the town's two rabbis, Israel and Tuvia, confessed to the deed and were sentenced to death. Grateful for the reprieve, the Jewish tried to think of a plan to save the two Rabbis. A committee was formed and sent to the king of Poland who had sovereignty over that area. The committee members hoped to plead their case and thus obtained a pardon for their leaders. The emissaries traveled for many weeks and months until they obtained an audience with the king. They pleaded their case and the king granted the pardon.
With great joy they began their way back home. As they neared their destination, they realized that the next day was Rosh Hashanah. So they stopped in a nearby town to pray and wait after the holy day. On Friday September 9, 1659, the second day of Rosh Hashanah, the death sentence was carried out. The emissaries arrived with the pardon one day too late.
(Translated from Professor George Zakim, from Chicago, who dedicated his life to research the roots of the Zakim family – 13 generations are known. The Scattered Seeds by George I Sackheim- copyright 1986; R Sackheim publishing co - Crawford Avenue Skokie Ill 6007609151)
THE ZAKIM PRAYER:
The Selicha for the Martyrs
(According to the book “Daat Kedoshim”. The Selicha was written on a parchment in Hebrew writing and is stored in the Beit Midrash of Ruzhany. It was a donation of the leader Yosef the son of Tzvi of holy blessed memory in the year 5484 (1724) in Ruzhany.)
Rabbi and Gaon Rabbi Shimon the son of the holy martyr Yisrael, may G-d avenge his blood, formulated the text of a selicha (penitential prayer) to be recited in the synagogues of Ruzhany annually on Yom Kippur, and he formulated a memorial prayer for the souls of the martyrs that should be recited every year on the days that the memorial service (Yizkor) is recited. To this day, the residents of Ruzhany follow this custom in the Beit Midrash Lecha'k Gachsh'a and in the Beit Midrash of Rabbi Gershon. The descendent of the holy martyrs, may their merit stand before us to save the Jewish people from all disasters, until G-d resurrects the dead, rebuilds the Temple, and the redeemer comes to Zion.
(For more go to: The Martyrs, Translated by Jerrold Landau)
Next week I will share with you the names of the honorees, as well as great pictures, from the Dana-Farber event I first mentioned last week. Keep reading!
And as always, happy stretching, deep breathing, empty your mind, strengthen your energetic system, and evoke your spirit!