Living Legacy: Rebbe Mordechai of Lechovitz, zy”a
Shabbos, 13 Shevat, marks the 202nd yohrtzeit of Rebbe Mordechai Yoffe of Lechovitz, the founder of the Lechovitz, Kobryn, and Slonimer dynasties.
As his name suggests, he was a direct descendant of the “Ba’al Halevushim,” who was also named Rebbe Mordechai Yoffe. His father was Rav Noach, was a a parnas in town of Neshivizh.
He would later say; “I came to the world in order to implant Torah and Yiras Shomayim into the hearts of my fellow Yidden.” And indeed, he would dedicate his life to this endeavor.
When he was a child, Rebbe Aaron of Karlin passed through the town, and his father complained that his son had no cheshek for learning. The Rebbe asked that the boy remain alone for a moment. After a while, he came out of the room, and said that the child will learn from now on with great hasmodoh.
Sadly, he was orphaned from his father a short time later. The boy would run to the forests and spend hours talking to his father in Heaven. When he was only ten years old, he darshened in the great shul in Vilna, astounding all the Talmidei Chachomim of the city.
He became a talmid of Rebbe Aaron of Karlin, and of his talmid, Rebbe Shloime of Karlin. He also became close to the Rebbe, Reb Baruch’l of Medzibuzh.
After the passing of his rebbe, Rebbe Shloime of Karlin (who was famously killed al kiddush Hashem) he became a rebbe in Lechovitz. This was by the instruction of his Rebbeim, who instructed him to spread chassidus in the Litvishe areas, where the light of chassidus had not yet reached.
The teachings of the Rebbe continue to inspire to this day:
He explained the words, ki b’simcha teitzei’u—with joy, one can go out from all suffering. The Yiddish saying “Moroh Shechorah, depression, iz kain schoira nisht… not in this is world, and not in the next world,” is attributed to the Lechovitcher.
On bitachon, he said: I cannot go to sleep at night with even one coin in my possession; this way, I awake in the morning, completely dependent on Hashem for that day’s sustenance.
The tzaddikim of his generation described him in the grandest of terms. His Rebbe, Reb Baruch’l said that he was a pure as Adam Harishon before the sin of the eitz hada’as, while the Kesdushas Levi of Berdichev said that one third of the world stands on the shoulders of the Lechovitcher.
He was in teh city of Stolin, for the wedding of one of the Stoliner Rebbe’s descendants, when he was niftar. The place of his burial in that town is not fully confirmed, but a monument was erected by Reb Yisroel Meir Gabbai, commemorating one of the greatest lights of the chassidic world.
The holy Lechovitcher pioneered a derech in Avodas Hashem that remains alive and well to this very day in the dynasties that were begun by his talmidim—an everlasting living legacy of this great tzaddik.
Living Legacy explores the lives and legacies of tzaddikim of yore whose aura is felt to this day. It is a special project of BoroPark24.com. Comments or suggestions may be emailed to [email protected]