R' Noam Elimelech Lipman, [of Leżajsk]
Hebrew: אלימלך נועם אלימלך Lipman, [of Leżajsk]
|Also Known As:||"R' Elimelech Weisblum", "R' Elimelech Lipman of Lizhensk (Weisblum)", "Noam Elimelech Wajsblum from Lizensk", "Noam Elimelech Lipman of Leżajsk", "R' Elimelech of Lisenzc", "Reb Meilech of Lizhensk", "Great Reb Elimelech Lizhensk", "Noam Elimelech Mi'Lizhensk", "רבי א..."|
|Birthplace:||Tykocin, Podlaskie, Polska|
|Death:||Died in Liezensk, Poland|
|Place of Burial:||Leżajsk|
Son of R' Eliezer Lipa Lipman ("Noam Elimelech's" father) and Mirel Mirish Lipman
|Occupation:||Rabbi & ABD, Rabbi, note: direct descendent of rashi, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elimelech_of_Lizhensk, אדמו"ר, מחבר הספר נועם אלימלך|
|Managed by:||Private User|
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Amongst the adherents of the Chassidic traditions he is referred to with the deferential title of “The Rabbi, Rabbi Elimelech of Lizensk. He is considered to be one of the central founders of the Chassidic movement in Galicia and Poland. Rabbi Elimelech spread the philosophy of Chassidism throughout Galicia. From his home in Lizensk, he reigned over a large community of Chassidic followers who lived in the shadow of his personality and deeds.
Reb Elimelech Weisblum was born in 1717 (5477 in the Jewish calendar) a little village near the town of Tykocin, Galicia, to Mirl (Mirish) and Rabbi Eliezer Lipa Lipman. Rabbi Eliezer Lipa and his wife were financially well-off small town merchants, and they used their resources to engage in charity-work and good deeds. Elimelech was the eldest of the six siblings born to his father and mother. He developed a special relationship to his older half-brother Meshulam Zusya, son of his mother’s previous marriage, who would in time become a great master in his own right, Rabbi Zusha of Hanipol.
The two boys engaged in Torah-study together, and after learning in the Talmud and commentaries, they began still in their youths to learn the Kabbalah, Jewish mysticism, as per the pedagogical philosophy of the Arizal, Rabbi Yitzchak ben Shlomo Luria Ashkenazi. The two brothers spent eight-years travelling in self-imposed exile, wandering from town to town spreading Torah and inspiring people to mend their ways and repenting for the sake of the entire Jewish people and the exiled Shechinah, or Divine Spirit. This period is recognized as a genre in Chassidic storytelling known as “the Holy Brothers.” During this time they lived a life of hardship, poverty, penance and fasting. However, Rabbi Elimelech would later instruct his followers that they should not imitate those practices of his, as they would not lead them on a path to perfection. In the course of his journeys, he joined with his older brother for studies in the town of Równe under the tutelage of the Chassidic movement’s second leader and master, the Maggid of Mezeritch
After studying with the Maggid of Mezeritch, Rabbi Elimelech returned to Galicia where he worked to spread the philosophy of Chassidism despite the strenuous opposition of the Mitnagdim, the opponents to Chassidic influence in Jewish communal life.
Rabbi Elimelech passed away in Lizensk on the 21st of Adar, 5547, (1787 CE), and was succeeded in the town’s rabbinate by his son, Rabbi Eleazar.
Rabbi Elimelech was married in Szeniawa to Sprinza (Esperanza), daughter of Rabbi Aharon Rokach Margolioth, and niece of Rabbi Eleazar Rokach. She bore him children, but ultimately died prematurely. After her passing, he married to Gittel, daughter of Rabbi Yaakov Margolioth.
Rabbi Elimelech’s nephew was Rabbi Meshulam Zusya of Safed, who was named after his brother, and who was to be patriarch to the Kahane rabbinical dynasty.
His brother-in-law was Rabbi Yehoshua of Szeniawa, father to Rabbi Yaakov of Tyczyn, author of the “Birkat Yaakov” on “Choshen Mishpat.”
1. Rabbi Elimelech’s eldest son was Rabbi Eleazar, named for his mother’s uncle, Rabbi Eleazar Rokach. Rabbi Eleazar declined to fill his father’s position of Chassidic leader after his death. He compiled and edited the “Noam Elimelech,” in which are also included correspondences with his father. He died on the 28th of Tammuz, 5566.
His other children were
2. Rabbi Lipa Eliezer of Chemelnick, 3. Rabbi Yaakov of Maglanitza, 4. Esther Etil, and 5. Mirish.
Rabbi Elimelech of Lizensk’s primary composition is the “Noam Elimelech,” which is among the first great Chassidic works; it teaches the principles of his lifelong philosophy. Every Shabbat during the third meal, Rabbi Elimelech would give over to his students a lecture on the weekly Torah-portion. His son, Eleazar, would memorize the lectures and copy them down after the Shabbat. Eleazar showed the work to his father and received his blessing; however Eleazar did not print the compilation of lectures and produce the book until after his father’s death, in accordance with his father’s mystical reasoning-based instructions, and despite the pleas of his students for the work. Over 50 editions have since been published.
The “Noam Elimelech” is divided into two parts: an exegetical commentary on the Torah, the Five Books of Moses, and the “Yalkut Shoshana,” a commentary on the remainder of the Hebrew Bible, the Books of Prophets and Writings, as well as on the teachings of the Jewish sages.
The composition’s original printed text displays asterisks in seemingly random places above various words. Chassidic traditions maintain that these asterisks relay great meaning, and so they have remained in subsequent printings. Rabbi Dov Ehrmann writes in his book “Devarim Areivim”:
“In the first edition of the sefer [book], there are in many places small stars which allude to some secret meaning.”
The Klausenberger Rebbe once said that the stars in the heavens are a commentary on the stars in the Rabbi Elimelech’s “Noam Elimelech.”
Rabbi Nachman of Breslov says in his book, “Likutei Moharan,” that:
“The level of holiness of the holy Rabbi Elimelech is transcendent high above anything seen or understood within his book.”
A student of Rabbi Elimelech, the Maggid of Kozhnitz, Rabbi Yisroel Hopsztajn, is reported by his son not to have ever begun the Shabbat without first learning some from the “Noam Elimelech.” Another student, Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Rimanov, said that only on the eve of the holy Shabbat, and only after a purifying immersion in the mikvah, or ritual bath, could he begin to comprehend the depth of wisdom of Torah in the book.
Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi referred to the “Noam Elimelech” as the “Book for the Righteous.”
Yitzchak Ginsburgh in his book, “Transforming Darkness into Light: Kabbalah and Psychology” talks about three main Chassidic compositions and describes each as serving a different type of person:
1. The Likutei Moharan, by Rabbi Nachman of Breslov, is described as a book for giving hope and encouragement to those trapped in problems, through the Rabbi’s personal and creative articulation of problems in life.
2. The Tanya, by Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi, founder of Chabad-Lubavitch Chassidism, is considered a resource for people of average level. Its focus is on a coupling of intellectual comprehension and of esoteric understanding. 3. Rabbi Elimelech’s “Noam Elimelech” is held as the handbook of a righteous Master of Chassidism. His book teaches those special few the path to both mystical leadership in Chassidism and temporal leadership of the lay flock. The development of the phenomenon of the Tzaddik, or righteous master, as a concept in Chassidic thought attached to the Rabbi’s leadership position, was significantly influenced by Rabbi Elimelech’s book.
In the book Rabbi Elimelech stressed an idea that the Tzaddik’s role is “to give life to all the worlds by virtue of his Divine soul.” He also believed that the Tzaddik’s personality should play a central role to the Chassidic follower.
Chassidism subsequently adopted the book as a central pillar of study, and it is weekly learned by many on the Shabbat. It was also used as a charm for women bearing children, and the book would be placed beneath the birthing woman’s pillow.
Rabbi Elimelech is also famed for another, small composition known by its Yiddish name, “Zetl HaKatan,” which means “little note.” The work contains seventeen instructions for a pious Jew’s behavior in daily life.
He also wrote a list of customs for devout practice called “Hanhagot HaAdam.”
Rabbi Elimelech composed a supplication meant to be said as a preparation for Shachrit, the daily morning prayer service. The prayer bears his name, “Tefillat Rabbi Elimelech.”
Beliefs & Legacy
Rabbi Elimelech was known as a righteous Master of Chassidism. He spent his life studying and teaching the Torah, and especially encouraging the common Jews to draw closer in repentance and return to G-d. He was an ascetic and avoided partaking in alcohol.
Rabbi Elimelech engaged constantly in kindness and good deeds, and distributed all of his wealth as charity for the poor. He elevated the souls of his Chassidim and raised the spirits of those who sought his blessings, and his seat at Lizensk became the center for those who pursued spiritual growth.
Rabbi Elimelech is contrasted with his older brother Rabbi Zusha, where the latter is portrayed as a charismatic “saintly simpleton.” At the same time, tradition relays that only Rabbi Zusha had the fortitude to remain in the same room as his teacher, the Maggid of Mezeritch, when the Maggid would relay an exhilarating lecture. Other students are reported to have fled the room or passed out in ecstasy.
A story is told from the two brothers’ wanderings and their reflections on the Divine:
Rabbi Zusha and Rabbi Elimelech were rooming in an inn. Nightly, non-Jewish peasants would come into the brothers’ their room and mockingly and derisively beat the one who lay nearest the fireplace, Rabbi Zusha. After several nights of the same treatment, the brothers changed places, as Rabbi Elimelech suggested that his brother had experienced enough “Divine Punishment.” The next nights when the non-Jewish peasants came to mock and beat, one of them decided that the “one by the fire” had had enough, and that they should instead beat the other brother. Rabbi Zusha was beaten and mocked again, and concluded to his brother that the will of G-d couldn’t be avoided.
A story illustrating how Rabbi Elimelech was perceived by his students is relayed:
Once the time came to rouse Rabbi Elimelech from his slumber, but none of his students dared do the deed. Finally they called his brother, Rabbi Zusha of Hanipol. He opened the door to Rabbi Elimelech’s room and with his hand covered the scroll on the doorpost, the mezuzah. Rabbi Elimelech immediately awoke. The students later asked Rabbi Zusha about what effect the mezuzah scroll had had on Rabbi Elimelech. Rabbi Zusha explained that his brother constantly envisions the holy name of G-d, however while sleeping, he could not do so. Instead, Rabbi Elimelech focused on the mezuzah scroll and the holy name written within. When Rabbi Zusha covered the scroll, Rabbi Elimelech immediately awoke so as to again consciously envision the name.
Rabbi Elimelech’s primary students were,
- the Seer of Lublin, Rabbi Yaakov Yitzchak Horowitz,
- the Maggid of Kozhnitz, Rabbi Yisroel Hopsztajn,
- Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Rimanov, and
- Rabbi Avraham Yehoshua Heshel of Apt.
These four pupils were his successors and continued to spread the legacy of Rabbi Elimelech, each one of them in a different and unique way. They eventually established their own Chassidic courts of thousands of Chassidim, and their dynasties are preserved to this day.
In addition, Rabbi Elimelech of Lizensks’s students also included,
- Rabbi Naftali Zvi of Ropshitz,
- Rabbi David Lelover,
- Rabbi Moshe Leib of Sassov, and his son,
- Rabbi Eleazar Weisblum.
- Rabbi Kalonymus Kalman HaLevi Epstein of Krakow the “Maor veHaShemesh,” was his youngest student.
Rabbi Elimelech’s unique path of pure fear of G-d, extraordinary humbleness and exceptional self-sacrifice for each and every Jew drew countless Chassidic followers to his court which had profound and everlasting influence on them. Thousands of followers continued in his path and sought out his blessings, his guidance and his advice. But above all, they absorbed his ways of repentance, improvement and spiritual growth.
Rabbi Yisrael of Ruzhin said of him:
“Five hundred years prior to his birth the world already benefited from his merits, his two hands were like the Two Tablets and his ten fingers were like the Ten Commandments.”
The perception of Rabbi Elimelech, his great modesty, and the esteem in which he was held is illustrated in a story told about the author of the Tanya and founder of the Chabad-Lubavitch stream of Chassidism, Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi:
Rabbi Schneur Zalman was once visiting in the home of a Rabbi who was a Mitnaged, or opponent of Chassidism. Rabbi Schneur Zalman saw Rabbi Elimelech’s composition, the “Noam Elimelech,” lying discarded on the floor beneath a bench, and he announced to his host, “Know that even were the author of this book himself to be discarded under a bench by you, and he wouldn’t say a word about his humiliation. From this you should learn just how great this book’s author really is.”
Rabbi Elimelech’s Death & Tomb in Chassidic Thought
Upon Rabbi Elimelech’s gravestone there is no year of death. Instead, the Hebrew acronym for “rest in peace” (תנצב”ה) is written, which has the same gematria, or numerical value, as the Hebrew year of his passing, 5,447 (תקמ”ז).
In many Chassidic traditions, confessional prayers are omitted on the anniversary of Rabbi Elimelech’s passing. It is said that when the hour of Rabbi Elimelech’s passing from the world drew near, he laid his hands on his students’ heads, and to four of them passed on his spiritual strengths:
- To the Seer of Lublin, Rabbi Yaakov Yitzchak Horowitz, he invested illuminated eyes. He was also asked to ensure the education of Rabbi Elimelech’s nephew, Zvi Elimelech Schapira of Dynów.
- To the Maggid of Kozhnitz, Rabbi Yisroel Hopsztajn, he gave capabilities of the heart.
- To Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Rimanov, he bequeathed the ability of the soul in his intellect.
- To Rabbi Avraham Yehoshua Heshel of Apt, he left the power of speech.
After his passing, Rabbi Elimelech was interred in the city of his death, Lizhensk, Galicia. The site became the focus of adoration and pilgrimage of thousands of Jews from around the world.
There is a tradition in which Rabbi Elimelech promises that whoever will visit his grave will be deserving of salvation and will not pass away from this world without first repenting. A multitude of tales are preserved in Chassidic lore in which Jews would reach a ripe old age even after illness so severe that they begged death’s embrace. They would remain alive until they repented wholly and completely, and only then would they find eternal peace.
The tradition is one reason why so many Jews embark on pilgrimages from near and far in order to prostrate themselves on Rabbi Elimelech’s grave.
Another tradition relays that Rabbi Elimelech requested that he not be raised too high in heaven once his spirit passed on, as he wanted to remain as close as possible to the Children of Israel in this, the temporal world. A story is told in Chassidic circles of Rabbi Elimelech’s tomb in the Holocaust of European Jewry: When the Nazis entered Lizhansk they found a group of Jews praying at Rabbi Elimelech’s tomb. When the Jews saw the Nazis they dispersed in a terror and the Nazi soldiers approached the tomb so as to desecrate it. The soldiers first removed the stone cap from above the grave and then began digging. When they uncovered Rabbi Elimelech’s corpse, they saw a body pure and whole as on the day of his burial, and whose face radiated a heavenly aura. Upon witnessing the holy phenomena, the Nazi soldiers themselves then dispersed in a terror, and thus were the Jews who had been praying spared certain doom.
Following the end of the Second World War, the current building housing the tomb was built. In Chassidic tradition such a building is referred to as an ohel, or tent.
Pilgrimage to his Tomb
Already during Rabbi Elimelech’s lifetime, traveling to Lizensk was considered a segulah for salvations, and so Rabbi Elimelech’s tomb in Lizensk acts as a magnet to thousands of Jews seeking comfort and salvation, and is filled with worshippers throughout the year, but especially before the Jewish High Holidays and the anniversary of his passing, the 21st of Adar.
The Chassidic master Rabbi Shlomo HaKohen Rabinowicz of Radomsk, author of the “Tiferet Shlomo,” is said to have stated that “on the anniversary day of Rabbi Elimelech’s death, the Rabbi Rabbi Elimelech stands upon his tomb and blesses with both hands those visiting his grave.” Despite being a Kohen, or Jewish priest, someone ritually forbidden from entering most cemeteries, he traveled to the tomb of Rabbi Elimelech, and encouraged other Chassidim to travel there as well.
- "All descendants of the “Noam Elimelech” are welcome to contact us for receiving the YALKUT. Please write to ENoam@013.net.il.
"Yalkut Einot Noam"
The source of the family tree chart on the media tab as well as Elazar and Eliezer Lipa's profiles is a booklet (in Hebrew) called "Yalkut Einot Noam". It is updated from time to time by a group of descendants of Reb Elimilech. You can Google for it, they even have a Facebook page.
According to the above mentioned booklet, the source of the Name Weisblum is from the white flowers (some says Lilies) that were embroidered on the Reb's white suit.
Reb Elimilech didn't use this name, it was just a nickname, but some of his descendants adopted this name after his death. (ZB)
Elimelech of Lizensk
Elimelech Weisblum of Lizensk (Polish: Leżajsk) (1717–1786) was an Orthodox Rabbi and one of the great founding Rebbes of the Hasidic movement.
He was also known as a tzaddik who devoted his life to studying and teaching the Torah, as well as encouraging people to repent and return to God. He was an ascetic, who believed in staying away from alcohol.
Rebbe Elimelech was a prominent student of the Maggid of Mezeritch, and was brought under his tutelage by his illustrious brother the famous Tzadik and Rebbe Reb Zisha of Hanipoli.
After the death of the Maggid of Mezeritch, he was considered by most of the Maggid's students and followers as his successor.
Rebbe Elimelech had many famous rebbes as students and talmidim including the famous Chozeh of Lublin, Rebbe Menachem Mendel of Rimanov, the Kozhnitzer Maggid, the Apter Rov, the author of Maor veShemesh Rabbi Kalynomus Kalman Epstein, Rav Naftali of Ropshitz, Rebbe Dovid Lelover and many others.
- Collection of Stories about R' Elimelech of Lyzensk.
- Noam Elimlech - "Sefer Shel Tzadikim
- Reb Meilech of Lizhensk, Rebbe of Rebbes - Seven Segulot
He was born in Galicia, a region of southeast Poland, and died in Leżajsk, Poland. He is also known by the name of his book Noam Elimelech; the title of his most popular work. This book is one of the principal works of Hasidism. The work itself has asterisks or stars placed in random places over words. It is said that angels dance over these stars, although there is no basis for this belief in halachic Judaism.
The Klausenberger Rebbe once said that the stars in the heavens are a commentary to the stars in the book Noam Elimelech. As such, all subsequent printings have included these stars. The Noam Elimelech also wrote Tzetl Koton, a seventeen-point program on how to be a good Jew.
To this day, his grave in Lizhensk is visited by thousands of those faithful to Hasidism, particularly on the anniversary of his death, the 21st of the Hebrew month of Adar (and Adar II in leap years).
Dov Ber of Mezeritch, assembled around himself a close circle of saintly followers, called the "Chevra Kadisha" (Holy Society), who became the joint third generation of leadership of the new Hassidic movement after the passing of the Maggid Dov Ber in 1772. They spread out to appointed areas of Eastern Europe to spread the new path of Hasidic Judaism.
Rabbi Elimelech was a leading member of this circle and authored the classic Hasidic work Noam Elimelech. It fully developed the Hasidic mystical theology of the doctrine of the Tzaddik.
Noam Elimelech is popularly regarded in Hasidic lore as the "book of the righteous". It instructs select people of great spiritual ability in the mystical paths of the Hasidic Rebbe. Because of this, Rabbi Elimelech led the proliferation of Hasidic dynastic leadership in the "Mainstream Hasidic" path, and his book is considered the archetypal guiding work of the General Hasidic path.
Many of the followers of successive generations in Mainsteam Hasidism became future Rebbes in their own right. Rabbi Elimelech was the first leader to bring Hasidism to Poland, from its original centre in the Ukraine. Through his teachings, Hasidic dynasties flourished in successive offshoots in Poland in the 19th century.
The brothers Rabbi Elimelech and Reb Zushya
Rebbe Elimelech was a prominent student of the Maggid of Mezeritch, and was brought under his tutelage by his illustrious brother the famous Tzadik and Rebbe Reb Meshulam Zushya of Anipoli.
Both brothers are central figures in Hasidic tradition and Reb Zushya is especially beloved for his sincerity and fervour. The two offered a contrast in the model of the Hasidic Rebbe, with Elimelech the ascetic scholar, and Zushya giving the impression of the charismatic "saintly simpleton", although he too was well versed in Hasidic philosophy.
Of all the students in the Maggid's "Holy Society" it is told that only Zushya could contain his dveikus (fervour) and remain in the room as the Maggid revealed fiery new teachings. The other students would faint or run out of the room in ecstacy. The two brothers would travel together in mystical exile of repentance to atone on behalf of the whole Jewish people and the exile of the Shechinah (Divine Presence). Famous Hasidic tales are told of their encounters.
On one occasion Rabbi Elimelech and Reb Zushya were staying at an inn. Each night non-Jewish peasants would enter their room and jestingly beat the one who lay nearest the fireside, Reb Zushya.
One night, Rabbi Elimelech offered to change places with his brother so that he could take the beatings instead. Sugesting that Reb Zushya had suffered enough of this "Divine admonishment" the agreement was made and Rabbi Elimelech lay next to the fire instead. That night, the common gentiles again entered to begin their jest. This time, however, one of them said that the one by the fire had taken his fair share of the treatment, and now it would be better to jest with the other one! Again Reb Zushya took the beatings. Afterwards, he told his brother that whatever is decided in Heaven transpires!
After the death of the Maggid of Mezeritch, the Hasidic movement avoided one centralised leader, as had characterised it under the Baal Shem Tov and the Maggid. Instead the great leadership of students of the Maggid dispersed across Eastern Europe, from Poland to Russia, taking with them their different interpretations of Hasidic worship.
Nonetheless, in this third generation, Rabbi Elimelech was considered by most of the Maggid's students and followers as his successor. He began the dissemination of Hasidism in Poland, which subsequently increased to a much greater extent under his foremost disciple, the Chozeh of Lublin.
Many of Rebbe Elimelech's students (talmidim) went on to be Rebbes in their own right. The most famous are the Chozeh of Lublin, Rebbe Menachem Mendel of Rimanov, the Kozhnitzer Maggid, the Apter Rov, the author of Maor veShemesh Rabbi Kalynomus Kalman Epstein, Rav Naftali of Ropshitz, Rebbe Dovid Lelover.
To this day his grave in Leżajsk, Poland, is visited by thousands of those faithful to Hasidism, particularly on the anniversary of his death, the 21st of the Hebrew month of Adar (Adar II in leap years).
As is common amongst great Rabbis, he is most commonly known by the name of his popular book Noam Elimelech, a commentary on the Torah. This book is one of the principal works of Hasidism. The sefer was called Sefer Shel Tzadikim, (a Book for the Righteous) by Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi (founder of the Lubavitch dynasty).
The book has asterisks or stars placed in random places over words. Tradition has it that these stars have some meaning. In Devarim Areivim (another Hasidic classic), the author, Rabbi Dov Ehrmann, wrote: "In the first edition of the sefer, there are in many places small stars which allude to some secret meaning". The Klausenberger Rebbe once said that the stars in the heavens are a commentary to the stars in the book Noam Elimelech. As such, all subsequent printings have included these stars.
The Noam Elimelech also wrote Tzetl Koton, a seventeen-point program on how to be a good Jew as well as Hanhagos HaAdam a list of customs for all pious Jews to follow.
1. ^ Breslov creative faith and Habad intellectualism are regarded as separate Hasidic paths from "Mainstream Hasidism". This three-part division of the Hasidic movement and their three archetypal texts is cited in Transforming Darkness into Light: Kabbalah and Psychology (The Teachings of Kabbalah Series) by Yitzchak Ginsburgh. Gal Einai Publications
2. ^ Cited in The Great Maggid by Jacob Immanuel Schochet. Kehot Publications
Read this article from Jewish Gen Rabbi Elimelech the son of Elazar Lipman of Lizhensk
from the Hebrew Encyclopedia (Born in 5477 - 1717 in a village near Tiktin. Died in 5547 - 1787 in Lizhensk.)
He was one of the Hassidic giants, one of the students of the “Maggid” Rebbe Dov Ber of Mezherich. Rebbe Elimelech and his brother Zushia of Anipoli traveled around from town to town to Poland as if reenacting an exile – for Hassidic purposes, with the intention of “bringing the multitudes back to the source, inspiring people to repent, and purifying the hearts of the children of Israel”. Due to the influence of his brother, Rebbe Elimelech became close to the Maggid Reb Dov, and due to the latter's influence, he became given over to Hassidism.
After the Maggid died, Rebbe Elimelech settled in Lizhensk, which is near Jaroslaw in Galicia. During the time of his residency there (5535-5547 – 1765-1777), Lizhensk became a center of Hassidism in Galicia and Poland. Many stories spread about the piousness and righteousness of Rebbe Elimelech, and thousands streamed to him, not only to learn Torah from his mouth, but also to learn from his character traits. In contrast to what was accepted at that time in Hassidic circles, where they used to worship G-d from joy; Rebbe Elimelech was an ascetic, and at the time that he reached the pinnacle of asceticism he would chastise and smite himself with sharp thorns (as is told by Rabbi Moshe of Koznice in his book “Beor Moshe”, on the Torah portion of Maasey).
According to his students “his greatest desire was to separate from this material world and to stand in the source of holiness” (Rabbi Yisrael of Koznice: “Avodat Yisrael” on the Torah portion of Chayey Sarah), however Rebbe Elimelech instructed his followers to distance themselves from asceticism, “for the strength of the sufferer is weakened by fasting and asceticism, and there is no possibility of reaching wholeness in this manner” (Rabbi Kalonymos of Krakow: “Meor Vashemesh” for the Sabbath of Repentance – the Sabbath between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur).
Rebbe Elimelech was the first founder of practical Hassidism and of “Tzadikism” as a set phenomenon in Hassidism. The “Tzadik” was in his eyes an intermediary between G-d and man, a “friend of G-d”, “Holy from his mother's womb, and called a son of the Holy One Blessed be He” (“Noam Elimelech” on the Torah portions of Mishpatim and Lech Lecha), for “By means of his holy deeds, he can enact everything” (ibid.).
The following Tzadikim numbered among his disciples: the “Chozeh” Rabbi Yaakov Horowitz of Lublin; the Magid Rabbi Yisrael of Koznice; Rabbi Avraham Yehoshua Heschel of Apta; and others. His son Rabbi Elazar, took over form his father (he died in 5566-1806 in Lizhensk). He organized the letters of his father and published the volumes of “Noam Elimelech” (published in Lvov, 5548 – 1788, and later on in many other editions), as well as “Likutei Shoshana” (Lvov 5618 – 1856, at the end of “Noam Elimelech”).
About R' Elimelech of Lizhensk (עברית)
רבי ר' אלימלך האט געהאט פינעף קינדער:
ר' אלעזר מליזענסק ר' אליעזר ליפא מחמלניק בעמח"ס אורח לצדיק ר' יעקב רויטמאן ממגלינצא לאה גיטל מיריש
ר' אלימלך האט געהאט דריי איידימער:
1) ) אסתר עטיל, אשת ר' ישראל אלבום מפריסטיק, א זון פון ר' משה, און אן איר-אייניקל פון הרה"ק' ר' קאפיל ליקאווער זצ"ל. (זייער חתונה איז שוין געווען נאך די פטירה פונעם הייליגען ר' אלימלך)
2) מירוש אשת ר' אליהו פון שדה לבן - זיי האבן געוואוינט און רימונוב און ר' מענדעלע רימונובער (תלמיד פון ר"ר אלימלך) האט זיי אויסגעהאלטן.
3) ר' שמואל צורף - און עס איז נישט קלאר ווער זיין רעביצין איז געווען ולאור זה איז דא אסאך וואס זאגן אז ער איז געווען מירוש'ס מאן בזווג ראשון. ר' שמואל צורף ליגט אינעם צווייטען צימער פונעם אוהל..
רבי ר' אלימלך האט געהאט דריי ברידער'ס ר' זושא מהאניפולי ר' אברהם (געווען א דאקטער אין קעניקסבערג) ר' נתן (המכונה שיף)
אויפן לעצטן נאמען האבן זיי געהייסן ווייסבלום און זייער טאטע האט געהייסן ר' אלעזר ליפמאן און זייער מאמע האט געהייסן מרת גיטל
רבי ר' אלימלך האט געהאט צוויי ווייבער. בזוו"ר איז ער געווען אן איידעם ביי רבי אהרן רוקח זצ"ל בזוו"ש איז ער געווען אן אייעם ביי רבי יעקב מרגליות זצ"ל
R' Elimelech of Lizhensk's Timeline
Tykocin, Podlaskie, Polska
March 11, 1787