Living Legacy: Rebbe Elimelech of Tosh, zy”a

Living Legacy: Rebbe Elimelech of Tosh, zy”a

This Shabbos, the 23rd of Kislev, marks the yahrtzeit of Rebbe Elimelech, known as the Saba Kaddisha, of Tosh. He was the grandfather of the previous Tosher Rebbe, and prophetically foretold about his beloved grandson, “the entire world will one day chap your shirayim.”

He was born to his holy father, Rav Meshulam Feish, known as the “Saraf” due to his incredible fire in his avodah, in the year 1865. The story is told that although he had one son Mordechai, he wanted another son. He traveled to the tziyun of Rebbe Elimelech of Lizensk and recited the entire tehillim there with fire and with tears. Upon arriving home, he joyfully informed his rebbetzin, “mazel tov. We will have a son.” The son that was born to them nine months later was named Elimelech, for the holy Noam Elimelech.

His father guarded him like the apple of his eye, keeping him close by so he could observe him in his avodah. As a child, he once saw his father performing gilgul sheleg in the icy snow, and asked, “do you have so many aveiros that you need to undergo such sigufim?” His father explained, “I may not, but maybe a Yid will come to me tomorrow, and the only way to help him is by removing his aveiros. So I am performing this in his stead.”

He married the daughter of Rav Yitzchok Eizik Weiss, later the Rov of Munkatch. He would sit and learn together with his father-in-law for hours on end.

The Tosher Rebbe said about the Torah greatness of his grandfather: “He was a ga’on atzum, a baki in every area of Torah, niglech as well as nistar, a po’el yeshuos for so many—and yet he worked mightily and successfully to hide his greatness. In fact, he said numerous times: ‘by us they see nothing.’ And indeed, a hidden tzaddik is greater than a revealed tzaddik.”

“I would observe him in his avodah,” said the Tosher Rebbe about his zeide. “In all of his ways, he ensured that no one should sense any of his greatness. But anyone with the proper eyes could see that his mind was in the heavens. I merited to stand near his shtender, and it was there that I saw some of his holiness. It is difficult to explain to someone who was not there. When chashuve people sought to come to him for Shabbos, he talked them out of it... fearful that they would sense his greatness.”

Rebbe Elimelech was content with having very little—not wanting to enjoy anything that this world had to offer. When his shtreimel grew so tattered, and his son had a new one made for him, he still only wore it only a few times... when something broke, he did everything to fix it and did not need to buy a new one and yet the atmosphere around the home was one infused with holy joy.

He had four holy sons, the eldest was Rav Mordechai, the father of the previous Tosher Rebbe.

Rebbe Elimelech was niftar on 23 Kislev 1943, and interred in an ohel a short distance from the ohel of his father. His resting place attracts masses throughout the year in search of yeshuos.

Living Legacy explores the lives and legacies of tzaddikim of yore whose aura is felt to this day. It is a special project of Comments or suggestions may be emailed to [email protected]

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