Living Legacy: Rav Yerachmiel of Peshischa

Living Legacy: Rav Yerachmiel of Peshischa

By Yehuda Alter

The 8th of Iyar marks the yohrtzeit of Rav Yerachmiel, the son of Rebbe Yaakov Yitzchok, the Yehudi Hakodosh of Peshischa, an ish kodosh, and a tremendous tzaddik, a ga’on b’Torah, and a master of the hidden and revealed Torah. 

He was renowned for his tremendous humility, lowering himself to everyone. His entire life, he would nullify himself to others and held very little of himself. He could not abide when anyone would praise him, and for many years, he served his Creator in seclusion, only later becoming well-known in the Chassidic world. 

One of the tzaddikim once said that the Yehudi Hakodosh once explained a certain concept in Torah in many different ways. “The first seven ways were understood by only the greatest talmidim. Thirteen of the explanations were understood by his son Rav Yerachmiel. From there and on, no one understood it.” 

In his early life, he was completely hidden in his avodah. For thirteen years, he worked as a watchmaker—serving Hashem with great fervor and diligence, completely hidden from the public. One of the tzaddikim drew a parallel to Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai who was secluded in the cave for thirteen years, and then attained his lofty levels. “So too,” said the Saraf of Molgenitza, “Rav Yerachmiel attained his lofty madreigos following his thirteen years of seclusion.” 

He learned Torah from his illustrious father, and spent much time in the courts of Rav Yisochor Ber of Radoshitz and Rebbe Menachem Mendel of Rimanov. 

Following the passing of his father, he continued to work as a watchmaker, refusing to accept the mantel of Rabbonus. Instead, he sent chassidim to his two brothers. Only after much pleading from the chassidim did he agree to lead them, and he became known far and wide, with many chassidim streaming to his court from throughout Poland. 

It is related that his avodas hatefillah was so intense that his eyes would bulge out of their sockets. One of the tzaddikim related that the image of the tzaddik engaged in his fiery avodah remained etched his memory for eternity. 

He had a number of illustrious talmidim, and a number of illustrious children. 

He was niftar in the year 1836, and he was interred in the ohel alongside his holy and illustrious father in Peshischa. 

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