#148 (s5760-48/ 15 Av) 


Rebbe Elimelech of Lizensk, instructed the great Torah scholar,
Rabbi Simcha of Bubraka, that he should travel to his brother, Rebbe Zusha of Anapoli



The great Torah scholar, Rabbi Simcha of Bubraka (cited in Pri Magadim), once fell critically sick. As he was not at all a believer in Chassidic Rebbes, his mother went secretly without his knowledge to the famous holy Rebbe, Rabbi Elimelech of Lizensk, to request his blessing for her son's recovery. He told her not to be afraid; with G-d's help, her son would regain his full health.

He told her that when she arrived home, she would find her son even weaker than he was before. Shortly thereafter, the lord of the area would host a gala affair, to which three great doctors from the big city of Lvov would be invited. She was to request that these three examine her ailing son. When they would come to her home, they would see how extremely weak her son was and would despair of his life. Nevertheless, she should not lose hope.

After they would leave the house, the Rebbe Elimelech continued, one of the three doctors would fall down while they were walking through the market place. His companions would help him stand up, and at that moment one of them would suddenly remember a certain medicine which would be able to help the sick Torah scholar.

This doctor would return to her home and write a prescription for that medicine. When she administered that medicine to her son, his condition immediately would begin to improve and eventually he would regain his full strength. The tzadik concluded his words by instructing her that as soon as her son was healthy, he should travel to the tzadik Rabbi Zusha of Anapoli, brother of the Rebbe Elimelech.

The woman returned home, and all the events that the holy Rebbe had foretold came to be, to the last detail. When the scholar was cured his mother related to him all that had happened. The son was very moved, and said that before he would travel to Anapoli, he and his mother must go to Lizensk to thank the Rebbe Elimelech in person. They went, and as soon as the Rebbe Elimelech laid eyes on them, he asked if they had fulfilled his instructions to go to see his brother. They responded that Anapoli was a great distance away and the recovered invalid was not yet strong enough for that.

A short while after, Rabbi Simcha travelled to Anapoli. There, a man came up to him in the street and said, "Simcha! I still don't have a guest for Shabbos. So you shall be my guest for the holy day." The scholar was astonished. How does this man know the first name of a stranger from a distant city? Seeing a teenage boy walking nearby, the scholar asked him the identity of the man now walking ahead of them. "That's our Rebbe," they boy said. The scholar was happy and excited that he had encountered R. Zusha so quickly, and went along with him to his home.

When they arrived, the Rebbe turned to him and said, "Simcha! Did you review the weekly Torah Reading yet?" "No." "Then take a chumash, and go over it now."

Afterwards, the Rebbe told him to come with him to the mikveh, and cautioned him to immerse while he, Zusha, was still in the water. The scholar carefully followed all the instructions. After they came out and got dressed, R. Zusha asked him, "Simcha! Do you have any difficulties in your studies?"

When Rabbi Simcha got back to his hotel, he thrust himself into his studies and reviewed all the thorny problems he had come up with in the Talmud and the Early Authorities, which even after all the time he had put into them, still seemed nigh unsolvable. Now, he suddenly found all those difficulties to be easily resolved and was left with nary a question to probe. Needless to say, the famed scholar, Rabbi Simcha of Bubraka, became a devoted follower of the Rebbe Reb Zusha of Anapoli.

[Translated by Yrachmiel Tilles from Sipurei Chassidim, Ekev (#447-not in Artscroll's English version)]


Biographical notes:
Rabbi Elimelech of Lizensk (1717 - 21 Adar 1787), was a leading disciple of the Maggid of Mezritch, successor to the Baal Shem Tov, and the leading Rebbe of the subsequent generation in Poland-Galitzia. Most of the great Chassidic dynasties stem from his disciples. His book, Noam Elimelech, is one of the most popular of all Chassidic works.

Rabbi Zusha of Anapoli (?- 2 Shvat 1800), was also a major disciple of the Maggid. The seemingly unsophisticated but clearly inspired "Reb Zusha" is one of the best known and most beloved Chassidic personalities. He and his famous brother, R. Elimelech, spent many years wandering in exile, for esoteric reasons.

Yrachmiel Tilles is co-founder and associate director of Ascent-of-Safed, and editor of Ascent Quarterly and the AscentOfSafed.com and KabbalaOnline.org websites. He has hundreds of published stories to his credit.

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