web analytics
April 25, 2015 / 6 Iyar, 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post


The Ever-Amazing Reb Elimelech (Part XVII)


Teller-Rabbi-Hanoch

Reb Elimelech was concerned for every Jew but himself. Even when he was physically assaulted by an over-zealous misnagid, his reaction was typical: “Master of the Universe, I forgive him with my whole heart. Let no man be punished on my behalf.” But when Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berdichev was persecuted, Rabbi Elimelech rallied to support him. He was always there on behalf of others.

Reb Shmelkeh of Nikolsberg, one of the early chassidic giants, was not properly appreciated by the people of his town. In his region of Germany the followers of the nascent chassidic movement were scarce, and the adherents of the so-called Enlightenment were numerous.

Despite the prevalent liberal ideas of Nikolsbergian Jewry, Reb Shmelkeh did not spare admonishment to his flock who were not especially interested in what their rabbi had to say. Basically, they just closed their ears and paid no heed to what the rav had to say.

Actually, the situation was even worse than just ignoring the rabbi. They despised him, held back his salary and wouldn’t even pay him the decency of a friendly greeting.

Reports of how Reb Shmelkeh was suffering reached as far as Lizhensk, and Reb Elimelech decided to come to his aid. Legend has it that as Reb Elimelech was walking to the mikveh he heard a voice from Heaven proclaim, “Whoever can recue Reb Shmelkeh mi’Nikolsberg from the riffraff of his congregation will be granted passage to the World to Come.”

Reb Elimelech turned to the man who was walking with him and inquired, “Did you just hear something?”

“I didn’t hear a thing!” he replied definitively.

“Since I am the only one who heard this,” Reb Elimelech concluded, “obviously the message was directed specifically to me. I may not ignore this mission.”

Reb Elimelech set off for Nikolsberg and arrived at the home of his friend from long ago. The two had a warm reunion and shared Torah thoughts and matters concerning the service of the Lord. After they concluded their discussions, Reb Elimelech got to the point of his mission. “Allow me to admonish the people of this city.”

“Forget it,” Reb Shmelkeh insisted. “The people of this town listen to no one; it is not worth your efforts.”

Reb Elimelech was eventually able to prevail and word circulated that a guest speaker would be addressing the members of Reb Shmelkeh’s shul. Everyone’s curiosity was piqued. They wondered if this mysterious guest would try and chastise them, just like Reb Shmelkeh had tried.

The shul filled up and Reb Elimelech ascended to the podium. “Not like your rabbi has taught you,” he began, and the assembled fell into a puzzled silence. “Many of the things that you thought were forbidden are in fact permitted.” He then launched into an intricate and erudite pilpulistic excursus to prove that “a, b and c,” as well as “x, y and z,” are indeed permitted.

The audience was mesmerized; the speaker had legitimized so much! The rabbi concluded by inviting everyone to come back the next day at the exact same time when he would continue from where he left off.

To say that the guest speaker’s discourse was a hit would be an understatement of criminal proportions. All of his dispensations were the talk of the town and, needless to say, the next day the shul was Squeeze Room Only, as virtually all of Nikolsbergian Jewry had squished into the shul. It was assumed that yesterday’s talk was merely the “warmup” for even more major dispensations that would be revealed today.

As the guest speaker strode up to the podium the shul was bursting with anticipatory adrenaline. “My dear friends,” Reb Elimelech began, “I have made a mistake…”

Everyone had assumed that he was not lenient enough the day before and would rectify this at once. They were going to be disappointed – profoundly disappointed.

“Everything I said yesterday was incorrect, and patently false.” He then went on to explain that Torah law may never be violated and the very same holds true for rabbinic law. Throughout the length of his discourse, which he interspersed with castigation and teshuvah thoughts, he held their undivided attention.

A very subdued audience shamefacedly looked at each other afterwards and remarked, “He hasn’t said anything different to us than what Reb Shmelkeh has been saying all along.” And they resolved that they would go to their shunned rabbi and beg his forgiveness.

When Reb Shmelkeh saw an assemblage outside his window he was certain that they had come to complain about yet another thing, probably about the darshan that he allowed to address the people. He was thoroughly unprepared for the fact that they had come to beg for his forgiveness and commit to listening to him from then on.

(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 XVII)”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
"Killing Jews is worship that draws us closer to Allah." That's his Jihad. What's yours? - An ad campaign sponsored by  the American Freedom Defense Initiative.
MTA Hopes to Change Rule, Ban ‘Killing Jews’ Anti-Jihad Ad
Latest Judaism Stories
Torat-Hakehillah-logo-NEW

In her diary, Anne Frank wrote words that provided hope for a humanity faced with suffering.

Leff-042415

The Arizal taught this same approach, making the point that the Torah would never mention wicked people and their sins if there was not great depth involved from which we are to learn from.

Staum-042415

Humility is not achieved when all is well and life is peachy but rather when times are trying and challenging.

In order to be free of the negative consequences of violating a shvu’ah or a neder, the shvu’ah or neder themselves must be annulled.

“I accept the ruling,” said Mr. Broyer, “but would like to understand the reasoning.”

He feared the people would have a change of heart and support Rechavam.

Ramifications Of A Printers Error
‘The Note Holder’s Burden of Proof’
(Kesubos 83b)

Question: If Abraham was commanded to circumcise his descendants on the eighth day, why do Arabs – who claim to descend from Abraham through Yishmael – wait until their children are 13 to circumcise them? I am aware that this is a matter of little consequence to our people. Nevertheless, this inconsistency is one that piques my curiosity.

M. Goldman
(Via E-mail)

In this case one could reason that by applying halach achar harov we could permit the forbidden bird as well.

“What a way to spend a Sunday afternoon,” my husband remarked. “Well, baruch Hashem we are safe, there was no accident, and I’m sure there is a good reason for everything that happened to us,” I mused.

The answer to this question is based on one of the greatest shortcomings of man – self-limiting beliefs.

Myth that niddah=dirty stopped many women from accepting laws of family purity and must be shattered

In every generation is the challenge to purge the culture of our exile from our minds and our hearts

Rabbi Fohrman connects the metzora purification process with the korban pesach.

The day after Israel was declared a State, everyone recited Hallel and people danced in the streets.

More Articles from Rabbi Hanoch Teller
Rabbi Hanoch Teller

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

Rab Elyashiv

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

A humble person who achieves a position of prominence will utilize the standing to benefit others.

“he’s my rabbi” the Black painter said with pride, pulling out a photo of the Rebbe from his wallet

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/jewish-columns/chodesh-tov/the-ever-amazing-reb-elimelech-part-xvii/2013/02/06/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: