web analytics
July 1, 2015 / 14 Tammuz, 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post


The Ever-Amazing Reb Elimelech (Part XVI)


Teller-Rabbi-Hanoch

It was when Reb Elimelech assumed the leadership of the chassidic movement that the Austrian Kaiser decreed that before a woman may wed, a tax of 400 golden coins must be paid to the government. This tax was far too exorbitant for the commoner to pay and many feared that they would never be able to marry off their daughters.

In a village not far from Lizhensk lived poor Berish, an upright widower who had a daughter. The girl had reached marriageable age and an appropriate match was proposed. The boy did not seek a dowry, but the new government tax was an insurmountable hurdle for Berish. He feared that he may never be able to marry off his only child, and his desperation and depression knew no bounds.

He figured that his only hope would be to seek Reb Elimelech’s intervention – and off he went to Lizhensk. The entire way he mulled over his bitter plight, and was bursting with animosity and ire. By the time he arrived at Reb Elimelech’s court he had lost all composure and broke in and exclaimed, “Rebbe, I have a din Torah against the Almighty!”

The second the words escaped his mouth he regretted what he had said – such a brazen accusation against Heaven – and in the presence of the holy Reb Elimelech no less! He looked for the nearest exit, but before he could even move, Reb Elimelech beckoned, “Come here, my son.

“I understand that you wish to have a din Torah against the Holy One, blessed be He. Fair enough, but a proper din Torah requires a panel of three judges. So please go summon my dayanim.”

Berish could not believe how matters had unraveled. He was appalled at the situation he had gotten himself into, but once the rebbe had spoken, there was nothing that could be done. He tried to focus on how he would present his case.

The dayanim appeared at the court without delay. Reb Elimelech turned to the poor man and instructed, “State your complaint.”

The dayanim peered down at Berish as he stumbled to find his tongue. “Honorable dayanim,” he began, “The Almighty has given us a Torah with 613 mitzvos, the first of which is “to be fruitful and multiply.” Yet the kaiser has decreed that no Jewish man in this country may marry off his daughter until he pays 400 golden coins to the government. There is hardly a family that can afford this astronomical sum and therefore it means that Jewish daughters will be disqualified from marrying and fulfilling the mitzvah that the Torah has commanded.

“I have a daughter who finally has an opportunity to wed and this royal decree will not permit the shidduch. As long as this edict is in force, it will be impossible for us to fulfill the very first mitzvah in the Torah! I therefore request that this law be annulled.” Having finished his recitation, Berish gulped some air and sat down.

“I imagine,” Reb Elimelech intoned, “that the Holy One would respond, ‘My people are not observing my mitzvos. I must therefore appoint a difficult ruler who will make harsh decrees that will cause them to repent.’ ”

He then paused and added, “According to the law, the litigants must exit as the dayanim deliberate. However, the Almighty fills every corner of the world. It would not be fair to request one of the parties to exit while the other remains; therefore the plaintiff may also remain as the judges clarify the law.”

The rebbe fell silent and his face burned like a flame. After quarter-of-an-hour of silence he opened his eyes and requested a Gemara Gittin.

His will was fulfilled and he opened to page 41, where the Talmud ponders whether a man who is only half-free may wed? Such an individual may not marry a servant, for he is partially free. And he may not marry a free woman, for he is partially a servant. Because of this midway status he will be unable to fulfill the mitzvah of being fruitful and multiplying, and therefore his master must set him free so as not to deny him.

Reb Elimelech stressed the last words, “The master is forced to set him free,” and looked Heavenward – and said no more.

Finally Reb Elimelech addressed Reb Berish and declared, “You may now return home, for the decree has been abolished.”

And indeed, as this poor man returned to his village he heard along the way that the decree had been rescinded, fulfilling the words of the rabbis, “tzaddik gozeir, v’HaKadosh Baruch Hu meka’yem – a tzaddik decrees, and the Holy One, blessed be He fulfills.”

(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 “The Ever-Amazing Reb Elimelech (Part XVI)”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
The concealed wooden doors opened to reveal stairs leading to an ancient mivkah.  The mikvah is a Jewish ritual pool that has been used for thousands of years -- to this day --  for various purification purposes.
2,000 Year Old Mikvah Found Beneath Jerusalem Living Room
Latest Judaism Stories
Staum-062615

Amalek, our ultimate foe, understood that when unified, we are invincible and indestructible.

Torat-Hakehillah-logo-NEW

Perhaps on a deeper level, the mitzvah of parah adumah at this junction was not just to purify the body, but the spirit as well.

Rabbi Avi Weiss

Halacha isn’t random; it’s a mechanism guiding individuals and society to a higher ethical plateau.

Q-A-Klass-logo

Question: Should we wash our hands in the bathroom with soap and water, or by pouring water from a vessel with handles three times, alternating hands? I have heard it said that a vessel is used only in the morning upon awakening. What are the rules pertaining to young children? What is the protocol if no vessel is available? Additionally, may we dry our hands via an electric dryer?

Harry Koenigsberg
(Via E-Mail)

Less clear, however, is whether the concept applies to the area of civil law such as the law of transfer of property.

The greatest of men, Moshe, had to wait for Hashem to sprinkle purifying waters on Bnei Yisrael to mark the conclusion of the period of death.

My Plate, My Food
‘My Loaf Is Forbidden To You’
(Nedarim 34b)

Of Chukkim “Satan and the nations of the world made fun.” They may appear irrational & superstitious

I realized from this story that I was sent as a messenger from above. Hashem has many helpers in this world to help do his work.

Tosafos answers that nevertheless the sprinkling is a part of his taharah process.

“What difference does that make?” replied Shraga. “What counts is the agreement that we made. I said two hundred fifty and you accepted.”

Zaidie’s legacy of smiles and loving words was all but buried with him, now the family fights over $

Israel’s complaining frustrated Moshe, making it increasingly hard for him to lead effectively

Dovid’s musical Torah teachings were designed to penetrate the soul and the emotions.

It occurred to me, as my brain rattled in my skull on a two-hundred mile ride through rural Virginia, that our souls work in much the same way.

More Articles from Rabbi Hanoch Teller
Rabbi Hanoch Teller

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

Rabbi Hanoch Teller

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

Reb Shlomo Zalman could not endure honorifics applied to him because of his enormous humility

Though braggarts come across as conceited, their boasting often reflects a low sense of self-regard

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/jewish-columns/chodesh-tov/the-ever-amazing-reb-elimelech-part-xvi/2013/01/03/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: