Monday, January 3, 2011
We know about VeLo Am Ho'Oretz Chossid, but can a Tzaddik be a Tzaddik/Baal Mofes without being a Talmid Chochom? Surprisingly enough that seems to be the general concensus when it comes to Reb Shayelle, sadly enough, and that point is addressed in the book. They try hard to disspel it as a myth, and bring several stories to counter that opinion, saying that it was a chelek of his hiding his greatness in Torah and Avodah, and that from time to time he would remind people of his proficiency in Torah, just so that they remember... Despite that it seems like the general opinion did stem from the fact that he would read from Noam Elimelech during tishen, instead of saying divrei torah like some other Rebbes. During the poezer (recess) between Shacharis and Mussaf on Rosh Hashonoh, when other Rebbes would go to the Mikveh and learn Zohar etc. Reb Shayelle would cut cake and pour schnapps into cups so that hungry Jews would have what to eat... And believe it or not, but they say that his final - or at least one of his final - request(s) before he passed away was to tell his hoizgezint that they should prepare lots of food for all the people that will soon come to the levaya, so that they not go hungry... No wonder they say in the name of the Minchos Elozor that he said on Reb Shayelle that אויף בארשט און קארטאפל איז קיינער נישט קיין מתנגד.....
So when I said yesterday that the Petrushener Rov - a Pressburger Talmid - belittles Reb Shayelle's prowess in Torah I may have singled him out unfairly. We can infer the same opinion from the Munkacser Rov, and I see some of you heard the same thing from your antescedents. I'm very bothered by this, especially when it comes from friends, not "Misnagdim," because it perpetuates the myth that Chassidim can't and don't learn. After all, here we have this Rebbe of thousands of Chassidim, or at least admirers, who could see MiSof HaOlam VeAd Sofo, Kipshuto, who could send wild dogs to hold back a wagon of his Chossid and keep his Chossid out of harm's way, who could keep the Budapest express train from leaving until his Chossid got on that train , and he had difficulty with a "shtikkel tosfos?!" So עולמו של אבא seems to bavoren this question and says that the reason he was zoche to that level of ruach haKodesh was because he was nizhar in Cheyt Hayodua and because he gave away all his money while still a MaSHB"K in Liska. What also is baffling is that Reb Hershelle Lisker is the one that took him out of Yeshivah - after Reb Shayelle's mother sent him there to learn - and made him his MaSHBaK! His mother heard about it and wanted to take him home, but RHL convinced her that he'd lose nothing by becoming his Meshamesh, and she agreed. So did he remove him from Yeshivah because learning was not his "thing?" Can one be a Tzaddik without being well-versed in Torah?!
The Minchas Elozor of Munkacs in Marienbad (perhaps)