Friday, November 9, 2007
Unbelievable Erev Shabbos Ma'aseh From Reb Elimelch of Lizhensk
Here's another amazing ma'aseh regarding the holiness of how one must prepare for Shabbos on Erev Shabbos, and do teshuva like it was Erev Yom Kippur. I heard this from my rebbe.
The Noam Elimelech, Rav Elimelech from Lizhensk had an erev Shabbos in his home and court like no one else. It was revealed to Tzaddikim in this world that the Chesed L'Avraham, Rav Avraham Azulai, the grandfather of the ChID"A, asked Rav Elimelech from Lizhensk, the Noam Elimelech, after both of them had passed from this world, the following question: "My seforim are so great and so beloved in Shamayim, that the Malachim up here are learning them personally. Yet when anyone mentions you're name, Reb Elimelech from Lizhensk, there is a huge noise and tumult. Why is that?"
The Noam Elimelch answered him that, "It is not that I am greater than you. That, of course is not the reason. Rather, it is because every Erev Shabbos in my house, it was like Erev Yom Kippur."
There is another story that comes from the Rebbe from Djikov. He was once in a certain city and heard that there was an old man there that worked as a young boy in the house of R' Elimelech. This man was very sick, and barely conscious and always layed down in bed. However, when he heard the Rebbe from Djikov say the name of Reb Elimelech and asked him what he remembered from the house, the man actually sat up in bed, trembling with fear. Tears poured down his face and he said:
"When I worked there, I remember that there were miracles happening from morning until evening every single day. But because I am old I do not remember any of these. What I do remember is that every Erev Shabbos, the Rebbe would come home from the Mikvah, and roll up his sleeves. He then proceeded, every single week, to place both of his arms into the fire and into the coals of the fire up to the elbow, sifting through the fiery coals. There were sparks and flames flying to the right and to the left. Yet he would not be burnt at all. And he would scream and cry at the top of his lungs so that everyone in the house and in the courtyard could hear, 'Meilech! Meilech! You're such a Rasha, even the flames run away from you! They want to stay so far away from you, they don't want to even burn you, Rasha!'
(Aparantly, as a young boy, he had once struck his mother and ever since then he dipped into the mikva of fire and the mikva of water, trying to cleanse himself of that and other aveiros.)
Watching and experiencing this sight every Erev Shabbos, the whole house was filled with fear and trembling and everyone did Teshuva. They all, from the simplest Jewish housekeeper in the house, begged and pleaded with each other to be forgiven for anything that they had done. But the minute that the Rebbetzin lit the Shabbos candles, the whole house was filled with joy from the beginning until the end of Shabbos."
Now, none of us will be placing our hands in fire or performing miracles. However, instead of just running around taking care of the errands of Erev Shabbos, we can make an effort to have a little bit more fear and eager anticipation that Shabbos is coming, and we can do teshuva, lest we come into the holy Shabbos with unclean hands. IY"H by us!
(Picture courtesy of wunderland.com)
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