Page 34 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 25

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J
e w i s h
B
o o k
A
n n u a l
14
Holy Land, he called on Rabbi Pinhas of Koretz to bid him
good by. Several days preceding his honored guest’s arrival Rabbi
Pinhas, realizing that a veritable royal personage was coming, be-
gan to tidy up his home. When the guest arrived Rabbi Pinhas
remarked whimsically, “How do rabbis act when they come to-
gether? They gossip a bit, and that’s what I ’ll do. When the
venerable Rabbi Jacob Joseph ha-Kohen of Polnoye wrote his
book, he printed a thousand copies and sold them for a coin a
piece. Why did he bother to do this? He should have printed one
copy, and I would have given him a thousand coins for it.”
(Derekh Tsaddikim)
N
oam
E
l im elekh
The rabbi who headed the court of the Kosov community
wrote: I learned from someone who heard it personally from
Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, head of the court in Tlust, that
he was browsing through a copy of
Noam Elimelekh
at the home
of his father-in-law, the
zaddik
Rabbi Hayyim of Kosov, may his
merit shield us. His aged father-in-law entered and asked what
book he was reading, and whether he understood it. Abraham
Joshua replied, “How can I understand this book which, accord-
ing to popular belief, is intelligible only to one who is capable
of resurrecting the dead?” The venerable rabbi commented, “I
state it differently: only one who can resurrect the dead can
comprehend this book.” (Ohel Elimelekh 191)
A
W
riter
s
D
isposition
When Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Ladi (18th century) visited a
rabbi who was a leader of the
mitnagdim,
the
mitnaged
said to
him: “Under my bench I keep a book
Noam Elimelekh
by Rabbi
Elimelekh of Lizensk who, I understand, was a disciple of the
Maggid of Mezerich. Perhaps you can tell me something about
this man’s disposition.” Rabbi Shneur replied, “Such was his
temperament that if he were placed under a bench, he would not
utter a word.” (Bet Rebbi 63,3)
T
he
P
ower
of
S
tories
Rabbi Nahman of Bratzlav (18th-19th century) averred that his
awakening to serve the Holy One, blessed be He, was stimulated
by the many hasidic stories he had heard in his childhood. His
father’s house in the town of Miedzyboz, center of the Baal Shem’s
followers, teemed with hasidim spinning their captivating tales.
Listening to these fascinating stories stirred him to devote him-
self to the Holy One, blessed be He, and to attain his worthy
achievements. (Sihot ha-Ran)