Reb Elimelech M'Lizhensk's Message for Today

March 12 will be the yahrzeit of the hassidic master whose words on brotherhood are most timely during this period of Israeli elections and Netanyahu's speech to Congress. The film about him will be screened at select locations in the USA.

Rabbi Hanoch Teller,

Judaism Rabbi Hanoch Teller
Rabbi Hanoch Teller

Every year over 30,000 pilgrims ― in the dead of the Polish winter and at significant expense ― travel to the remote Galician village of Lizhensk for Reb Elimelech’s yahrzeit. What draws so many people to make such sacrifice for just a few hours? The phenomenon begs an explanation and Reb Elimelech and the Chassidic Legacy of Brotherhood, which I have written and produced, provides the answer.

This truly touching story in the film is anything but a travelogue promoting a destination. Rather, it is a riveting history and mussar lesson. Beginning in a hassidic court amid hundreds of hassidim dancing in circles that rotate and spin; uncoil and swirl, the audience is treated to a detailed explanation by the celebrated scholar and historian, Rabbi Berel Wein.

Throughout his portrayal of the dismal period in Jewish history when Polish and Ukrainian Jewry were devastated by the Chmelnitzky massacres, the frequent blood libels, pogroms, the Sabbetai Zvi and Jacob Frank debacles, rare archival material, famous artwork and the places described― shot on location ― are screened.

The future of that region’s Jewry was hardly certain and hung in the balance. It was the advent of the hassidic movement that gave the despondent a purpose to live. More than anyone else, the Baal Shem Tov came to the people’s rescue.

Orphaned at a very young age, the Baal Shem was no stranger to difficulty and without fire and brimstone or righteous indignation, he built up the bitter souls with a message of love. Love for one Jew toward another, and unrestrained love of the Lord.

The floundering hassidic movement embraced Reb Elimelech as their leader, making Lizhensk the capital of hassidut in Galicia. From that humblest village, Reb Elimelech was able to lead and inspire his followers in a way that would change the face of Jewry.

Reb Elimelech bequeathed a legacy to see the good in others and never focus on their drawbacks. His message is as relevant today as it was in pogrom-ridden Poland of the 18th Century as this film so masterfully conveys. This is a film not to be missed!

Below is a list of screenings to take place during the week of Reb Elimelech’s yahrzeit. Each one to be introduced by the writer. View the film’s trailer here and people review here.

List of screenings:

Note: Rabbis Chanoch Ehrentreu, Dovid Gotlieb, Abraham J. Twerski, Berel Wein and Moshe Weinberger together with Avraham Fried and Abish Brodt appear in the feature-length documentary: (This film will not be available on DVD or through any other medium).

March 7 - Nashville, TN, Sherith Israel - Israel Liff Auditorium, 3600 West End Avenue, 7:30 PM

March 8 - Baltimore, MD, Congregation Tiferes Yisroel, 6201 Park Heights Avenue, 8:00 PM

March 9 - Cherry Hill, NJ, The Max and Anna Krupnick Torah Links Center, 1092 Springdale Road, 7:00 PM

March 10 - Virginia Beach, VA, The Simon Family JCC, 5000 Corporate Woods Drive, 7:15 PM

March 11 - Brooklyn, NY, The New JCC of Marine Park, 3415 Quentin Road, 8:00 PM

March 14 - Skokie, IL, Chabad of Skokie, 4059 Dempster Street, 8:30 PM

March 15 - Passaic, NJ, Congregation Ahavas Israel, 181 Van Houten Avenue, 7:30 PM

March 16 - New York, NY, Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun, The Ramaz Middle School, 114 East 85th Street, 7:30 PM Reb Elimelech and the Chassidic Legacy of Brotherhood