Living Legacy: Rebbe Naftoli of Lizensk
The 25th of Cheshvan marks the yohrtzeit of Rebbe Naftoli Weisblum of Lizensk, a son of Rebbe Elozor of Lizensk, who was a son of the Rebbe Elimelech of Lizensk, zy”a.
He was born in the town of Lizensk, Poland, in the year 1765.
He was an extremely holy person whose greatness was only matched by his extreme humility. He refused to accept upon himself any rabbinic title, and did not even allow the people to call him rebbe. This despite the fact that he was a ba’al mofeis and ba’al ruach hakodesh by whom open miracles were seen.
He was the eldest grandchild of his illustrious zeide, and for twenty-two years, he merited to spend time in his glow, gleaning and absorbing his holy ways in Torah and avodas Hashem.
From his youth, he conducted himself with exceptional kedusha, and immersed himself completely in Torah learning with great diligence—but he did all he could to conceal his greatness, not allowing people to stand by and witness his avodas Hashem.
He was a prize talmid of Rebbe Naftoli Zvi of Ropshitz, a talmid of his holy grandfather, and he was close to many tzaddikim of his generation, including the Rebbe Reb Hersh of Rimanow, the Ahavas Shalom of Kossov, the Divrei Chaim of Sanz, and Rebbe Sholom of Kaminka.
Each night, he would conduct tikkun chatzos, crying bitterly over the Churban Beis Hamikdosh.
About his refusal to become a rebbe, the Shinever rov said: “All the great rebbeim were compelled from Above to accept upon themselves the mantle of leadership, except for Rav Naftoli, who got his way.” He would be mispalel that people should not come to him, and he would constantly encourage people not to journey to him. One Shabbos, a large crowd gathered in Lizensk, and the Rebbe proclaimed: “I forgot to daven this week that people shouldn’t come to me.”
His life was filled with pain and tragedy; he lost an astounding ten of his children during his lifetime.
Countless stories abound of the tzaadik’s greatness, his great avodah, and the yeshu’os that he effected for Yidden, illuminating for them the darkness of the galus.
The great tzaddik was nistalek on the 25th of Cheshvan of the year 1845, and he was interred inside the ohel of his holy and illustrious grandfather in the town of Lizensk.