web analytics
August 30, 2015 / 15 Elul, 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post


Reb Elimelech M’Lizhensk (Part I)


Teller-Rabbi-Hanoch

Just when it seemed that the Jews could never recover from the ruinous events of the 17th and 18th centuries, their plight was worsened yet, by even heavier taxes imposed by the Polish government. The townsfolk were increasingly hostile, and the police were indifferent to attacks upon Jews and their possessions. As a matter of law, Jews were banished from most professions, forcing a large number of them to engage in agriculture. But they were not allowed to own the land.

They worked for what might be compared to a feudal lord, and was referred to in the colloquial parlance as a “Poritz.” Invariably, the Poritzs were interested in squeezing whatever money they could out of the Jews and mercilessly punished, with full government endorsement, any delinquency in tax or rent.

One of the many Jews who had incurred the wrath of his Poritz had an outstanding debt of 3,000 golden coins. It was off to prison for him and the Poritz made it very clear that he would never see the light of day until his debt was paid in full. These were never vain threats, and the kindhearted and benevolent Reb Eliezer Lipman learned of this poor soul’s plight.

Reb Eliezer engaged in many acts of chesed, including the supreme mitzvah of redeeming Jews from captivity. This time it would be an august challenge, for he only had 1,000 golden coins. Still, he did not falter in his quest and asked to speak with the Poritz.

As he was making his way to the Poritz’s doorstep, he heard torturous moans that he gathered were from the Jewish prisoner held in the mansion’s dungeon. Those awful moans only further strengthened Reb Eliezer’s resolve.

The visitor was shown into the Poritz, who was cordial until he learned the purpose of the call. Any trace of geniality evaporated at the very mention of the prisoner. “The stinking Jew owes me 3,000 golden coins,” the Poritz fumed, “for all of the time that he hasn’t paid his debts. He will rot in the cell to the last of his days, until every coin is received!”

Eliezer attempted to reason with the hardened landowner. “What have you to gain from a prisoner who dies in jail? You are after your money, and this will not return it. Let me pay you all the money that I have, 1000 golden coins, for the freedom of the prisoner and surely the Lord will bless you so that you will not lose out from this deal.”

But the Poritz would not budge; nor would Eliezer give up. Finally, the determined ba’al chesed prevailed, and the prisoner was released.

The Poritz was impressed both by Eliezer’s negotiations and that a perfect stranger would spend 1,000 coins of his own money to redeem a fellow Jew. “I see that you are an upright man,” the Poritz commented, “and I am therefore going to offer you a break. Since you are a flax merchant I recommend that you travel to my brother-in-law who is a flax distributor. I will write you a letter of recommendation encouraging him to give you a substantial discount.”

“Thank you,” Eliezer responded softly, “but I parted with my last coin in order to redeem your captive.”

“In that case,” reflected the Poritz, “here is your money back; invest it wisely with my brother-in-law!”

Joyously, Eliezer departed to the flax distributor armed with his letter of recommendation. The new Poritz read the letter and was amenable to making a sale at a fair price. He had Eliezer escorted to his warehouse so that he could personally inspect the material. Eliezer was impressed by the quality of the flax and it’s low cost.

Just as they were leaving the warehouse, Eliezer heard a tormented shriek and wail from somewhere nearby. “What is that noise?” Eliezer Lipman wanted to know.

“Oh that,” the worker said with a flip of his hand. “It’s hard for me to believe that old Jewish farmhand is still alive. Ever since he was imprisoned he has made such a racket that we have denied him food and drink to quiet him down. Eventually, I guess, it will work…”

Upon hearing this Eliezer dropped the bolt of flax and rushed out of the warehouse to speak with the man he had just negotiated with. Using the money that he had brought for his purchase, Eliezer Lipman managed to redeem the prisoner.

The captive was released in a dreadful state, and Eliezer had a doctor summoned and food gingerly administered. He then invited the man to come to his house for the holiday of Passover that was imminently approaching.

Grateful that he managed to save a fellow Jew before it was too late, Eliezer and his guest were about to set off when the wholesaler called out, “Hey, what about our deal? Don’t you wish to purchase some flax?”

“How could I ever do business with a man as wicked as you?” Eliezer declared. “Have you no compassion or human dignity?”

Most amazingly, this Poritz was visibly moved by the reproof. Filled with contrition, he pledged that from that day forward he would never commit a shameful act, and to prove his intentions he was going to reduce the price of the flax even more and put the money for the ransom toward the flax purchase.

Eliezer Lipman was amazed how things had developed. It was exactly as the rabbis had taught: one mitzvah brings in its train another mitzvah! Both ransoms did not cost him; also as the rabbis teach: no action or mitzvah ever goes unrewarded.

But what greater reward could Eliezer have received for his constant chesed and tzedakah than a beautiful family, two of his sons being none other than Zusha of Anapoli and Reb Elimelech M’Lizhensk.

(To be continued)
Chodesh tov – have a pleasant month!

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Reb Elimelech M’Lizhensk (Part I)”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Aqsa Mahmood, a nice Glasgow Muslim woman who turned jihadist and joined the ISIS.
Israeli Woman Arrested Trying to Join ISIS
Latest Judaism Stories
Torat-Hakehillah-logo-NEW

The common translation of the opening words of this week’s parsha, Ki Seitzei, is: “When you go out to war against your enemy.” Actually the text reads “al oyvecha” upon your enemy. The Torah is saying that when Israel goes out to war, they will be over and above their enemy. The reason why Bnei […]

Rabbi Avi Weiss

The love between Gd & Israel is deeper than marriage; beyond the infinite love of parent for child

Q-A-Klass-logo

Question: When a stranger approaches a congregant in shul asking for tzedakah, should the congregant verify that the person’s need is genuine? Furthermore, what constitutes tzedakah? Is a donation to a synagogue, yeshiva, or hospital considered tzedakah?

Zvi Kirschner
(Via E-Mail)

Taste-of-Lomdus-logo

Since giving the machatzis hashekel will not change his financial situation, he is obligated to do so even though it is more than a fifth of his income.

Today, few people fast during the Days of Selichot, but the custom is to rise early to recite Selichot.

Each month is associated with a particular tribe. The month of Elul is matched up with Gad. What makes Gad unique?

Sanctions and indictment of the Jew, holding him to a higher standard, is as common and misplaced as ever.

To allow for free will, there are times when Hashem will allow a person the “opportunity to be the messenger.”

“There is a mitzvah to pay the worker on that day,” answered Mr. Lerner.

Be happy. Be grateful. God knows what he is doing. It is all happening for a reason.

We get so busy living our lives, handling our day-to-day little crises that we forget to go that one step deeper and appreciate our lives.

The promise for long life only comes from 2 commandments; What’s the connection between them?

Mighty Amalek deliberately attacked enemy’s weakest members, despicable even by ancient standards

If we parents fail to honor responsibilities then society’s children will pay the price for our sins

Consider how our Heavenly Father feels when He sees His children adopting all other parents but Him

More Articles from Rabbi Hanoch Teller
Rabbi Hanoch Teller

The Yale 5 were treated liked pariahs by their fellow Jewish students; their beliefs rejected

Rabbi Hanoch Teller

Since the students knew the housing rules in advance they should not have picked Yale hoping for an exception in their instance.

Yale argued living on campus meant living in the “real world,” with its complexities and challenges

I felt terror posing questions to Rav Elyashiv doing so only twice in the 9 years I was in his shiur

In a cab with Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach & Rav Elayshiv discussing if/when to say tefillas haderech

Rav Elyashiv favored books about gedolim with 2 caveats: accuracy; and no distasteful elements

Humility often confused with low self-esteem, truly means that a person realizes his true worth

If we are certain that God is on our side, we can easily become arrogant and even cruel

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/jewish-columns/chodesh-tov/reb-elimelech-mlizhensk-part-i/2011/10/19/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: