10 FactsJewish Personalities

In Honor of His Yohrtzeit: Ten Facts About Rabbi Elimelech of Lyzhensk

1. Rabbi Elimelech of Lyzhensk was a Chassidic leader in the third generation of “Chassidut.” He was one of the founding fathers of Chassidut in Poland to the point that in the book “Maor V’Shemesh” he is compared to the founder of chassidut, the holy Rabbi Yisrael Baal Shem Tov.

2. From a young age Rabbi Elimelech toiled in both the revealed and hidden parts of the Torah (Kabbalah) and slept very little. He went into self-imposed exile with his brother Zusha for 8 years of wandering through villages and towns. They suffered getting cursed and hit by townsfolk and at the end of their exile they merited “Ruach Hakodesh”- clairvoyance, knowing things from divine sources.

3. The book Rabbi Elimelech authored, the Noam Elimelech was of the first books of Chasidic literature. In it together with his son Rabbi Elazar, he lays out his path for living. This information was conveniently divided according to the weekly Torah portion. These were lectures Rabbi Elimelech said on Shabbat that were subsequently recorded by his son Elazar. After Elazar showed the notes to his father, rabbi Elimelech blessed him and asked him not to print it until he passed away.
This book has become one of the mainstays of Chassidic literature and many learn it every Shabbat. The book is full of approbations from the Torah leaders of the generation.

4. Many “Segulot” (spiritual remedies) are attributed to the book. One famous Segulah for a mother to have an easy birth is to place the book under the pillow of her delivery bed at time of birth. Also in Rabbi Elimelech’s name is that any woman that eats any food after the Shabbat and says “this is for the mitzva of “melava malka” escorting the Shabbat Queen” that is a big Segulah to have an easy childbirth with G-d’s help.”

5.  In addition to the Noam Elimelech, Rabbi Elimelech wrote a small booklet called the “Tzetl Kattan” “The Small Note” in which he enumerates the daily conducts a person should have. Here’s a translation of some of it:

A. “Every moment you aren’t learning Torah…like when lying in bed unable to fall asleep, you should contemplate and think about the positive mitzva of “And I will be sanctified in the midst of the Children of Israel” and he should imagine that there’s a great fire up to the heavens and in order to sanctify G-d’s name he goes against his nature and casts himself into it. G-d takes a good thought and considers it a done deed so when lying in bed he did a great biblical commandment.”

B. “He should have these same thoughts when reciting the first verse of “Shma Yisrael” and add in that even if all the world’s nations threaten to torture him and skin him alive if he doesn’t bow down to idols that he is prepared to die for the sanctification of G-d’s name and not give in and bow to the idols. He should imagine himself going through this for the sake of G-d and he will fulfill his obligation of Shma and prayer properly.”

C. Man was created only to break his nature. Therefore a person should quicken himself to repair his character traits at age 18 as I will explain. Someone whose nature is stubbornness should go to the other extreme for 40 days likewise someone lazy should do the same doing things speedily for 40 days straight whether going to sleep or getting up and dressing quickly, washing one’s hands cleaning your body and going to synagogue quickly immediately after getting up from studying. Likewise someone who is bashful in the negative sense, should accustom himself for 40 days to pray out loud with movement to express the verse all my limbs will declare “Who is like you G-d” and bless loudly over the Torah until he assisted from heaven to overcome this negative bashfulness. Likewise someone whose diction is faulty can accustom himself to listen to his words whether words pertaining to regular or heavenly pursuits, or during Torah learning for habit creates mastery. Likewise someone who isn’t diligent in his Torah study should accustom himself for 40 days to learn more than usual and he should also read my Tzetl Katan before learning and he will merit assistance from the heavens to keep on breaking his character traits until he stops them.”

What is the torah 
Inside the Ohel praying. CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2055049

6. “Rabbi Elimelech wrote a prayer as an introduction and preparation for prayer which is known as “Rabbi Elimelech’s Prayer”. The most famous part is: “Aderabah” the opposite, place in our hearts that each one of us should see the attributes of his friend and not heir faults. And everyone should talk with their friend in the straight manner you desire, and one should not hate the other G-d forbid. And may You strengthen our ties with our love for you as it is revealed and well known before you… and everything should be to give You pleasure and satisfaction.”

This prayer can help open the gates of the heavens to accept our prayers. Indeed many people say it before praying.

7. A partial list of his leading disciples includes: The “Ohev Yisrael”- Lover of Israel of Apta, Rabbi Aharon Leib of Premishlan, Rabbi Yaakov Yitzchak Horowitz’ the “Chozeh” Seer of Lublin, The Maggid (Speaker) of Kozhnitz, Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev, Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Riminov, Rabbi Moshe Leib from Sassov, and Rabbi Kalonymus Kalman Halevi Epstein- author of the Maor VaShemesh.

8. When Rabbi Elimelech was to leave this world he bequeathed his spiritual legacy to 4 of his leading disciples. To the “Chozeh” of Lublin he gave his gift of “vision” and asked him to teach his nephew Rabbi Tzvi Elimelech Shapira of Dinov. To the Maggid of Kozhnitz he bequeathed the spiritual power of his heart. To Rabbi Mendel of Riminov he bequeathed the strength of the soul in his mind, and to The Rabbi of Apta he gave his spiritual power of speech.

9. During World War 2 the Nazis destroyed his grave and were astounded when opening his coffin to find his body totally intact as if just buried. After the war a new building was erected on the foundations of the old building of his grave that was destroyed.

10. Rabbi Elimelech passed away on the 21st of Adar in the year 5,547 (1787) in the town where he served, Lizhensk and his grave is a place people come to pray at. Rabbi Elimelech promised that whoever visits his grave won’t leave the world without repenting.
The Tifereth Shlomo says that on this day (of Rabbi Elimelech’s Yohrtzeit) he holds his hand out blessing and speaking on behalf of those who visit and pray at his grave and those who learn from his books.

Click here for Teachings of Rav Elimelech of Lizhensk


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Related Articles

Check Also
Back to top button