Thousands of Jews from all over the world have arrived in the past few days to pray on the yahrtzeit of Rabbi Elimelech of Lizhensk zt'l at his shrine in Poland, which in recent years has become a popular pilgrimage site.
In the middle of the hilula event, Admor Rabbi Yoshiyahu Pinto, the leader of the worldwide Shuva Yisrael movement, arrived accompanied by his students and followers.
Rabbi Pinto prayed at the holy shrine for Jews around the world. Afterwards, Rabbi Pinto met in a nearby tent with other Admorim and rabbis and shared with them Torah insights by Rabbi Elimelech of Lizhensk zt”l.
"Rabbi Elimelech, the author of the Noam Elimelech, was the Holy of Holies," said Rabbi Pinto in a lecture he delivered. "He was among the greatest of the chassidic movement and had an unparalleled sanctity. It is known that Rabbi Aharon of Belz wouldn’t enter a house that didn’t have his book Noam Elimelech. He would say that the book is like a mezuzah which belongs in every Jewish home. Rabbi Elimelech was supremely holy. He was completely detached from the physical world and was completely spiritual." Rabbi Pinto gave his blessing to the large crowd that had traveled far and wide to come and visit the shrine in Poland.
Rabbi Pinto was welcomed in Lizhensk by Rabbi Simcha Krakowski, the attendant of the Lelover rebbe and the chairman of the main Hachnassat Orchim [hospitality organization] at the shrine. Rabbi Krakowski reviewed for Rabbi Pinto the extensive activity going on at Rabbi Elimelech's shrine throughout the year and revealed his past connections with the Baba Sali - Rabbi Pinto’s illustrious ancestor.
From Lizhensk, Rabbi Pinto traveled with his students to a nearby town to visit the shrine of the Divrei Yechezkel of Shinova.
Rabbi Pinto had spent time earlier in Warsaw, where he met with, among others, senior officials of the Polish government: Secretary of State Tadeusz Kościński, Deputy Marshal of the Polish Senate Michael Kaminski, Israeli Ambassador to Poland Dr. Yaakov Livna, American entrepreneur Brock Pierce, Georgian businessman Roman Pipia, and Joseph Lipsey of Puerto Rico.
He led a prayer assembly in the old Warsaw cemetery, where he also erected a tombstone over the grave of a Jew who died on the way to Poland while fleeing the war in Ukraine.
After the moving prayer at the cemetery, Rabbi Pinto was received at the Jewish Agency in Warsaw as their guest of honor, and met with a group of about 150 Jewish refugees from Ukraine. The immigrants are expected to immigrate to Israel today and Rabbi Pinto blessed and encouraged them.
On Shabbat, Rabbi Pinto will stay at his residence in Rabat, the capital of Morocco. He will be giving lectures on Torah and ethics to his students who are planning to come from all over the world to spend Shabbat with their Rabbi.
This article was written in cooperation with Shuva Israel