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21 Sivan 5774 - June 19, 2014 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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The Ma'or Voshemesh, Ha'admor Rabbi Klonimus Kalman, zt"l, of Cracow

In Honor of His Yahrtzeit — Rosh Chodesh Tammuz (5583)

"The Shulchan Oruch of Toras HaChassidus." This exalted comparison was used by the great chassidic masters to describe the sefer of Rabbeinu, Ma'or Voshemesh on Torah and the festivals.

Indeed, the sefer lays out, in clear format, chassidus in practice from when a person is born right into his old age.

Reb Klonimus Kalman zt"l was one of the closest of the great pupils of the Rebbe Reb Elimelech of Lizhensk, zy"a.

It was from his rebbe that he absorbed the sublime teachings of chassidus, which he later taught chapter by holy chapter, week by week. These were later pieced together to form his renowned sefer.

Once, during the period that Rabbeinu stayed under the wings of his Rebbe, never leaving his presence, the Rebbe Reb Elimelech asked him to bring him a glass of tea after having fasted all day.

Several minutes passed, and then some more, and still the talmid had not brought the drink to his Rebbe.

Calling out to the adjacent room, Reb Meilich inquired as to the delay. Trembling in confusion, Reb Klonimus Kalman entered the room, his eyes darting nervously right and left and then down to the floor.

Barely able to speak coherently, he explained that, as he had entered the room, hot tea in hand, to serve his Rebbe, he was shocked and bewildered to see another person present. The latter shone with a radiance and hadras ponim that was too awesome to behold and in his great fear he had dropped the cup and spilled the tea. He then returned to the kitchen to prepare a second cup of tea, but was then too afraid to reenter the room.

"Woe to the children who are not fitting to merit seeing their father's face!" exclaimed the Rebbe, Reb Elimelech.

"The figure you saw was none other than Avrohom Ovinu, our very first father. I had no idea that you would be so frightened to see him, else I would have warned you, oy vey!"


In his sefer (Parshas Bolok) the Ma'or Voshemesh retells a conversation that he followed between the two great brothers, his Rebbe and the Rebbe Reb Zushe zt"l.

"`My dear brother,' began Reb Zushe, who was the older of the two. `Teach me to work miracles and bring down yeshu'os for our brethren who are in need of them.'

"And his brother, my Rebbe, the holy Reb Elimelech, zt"l replied, `When tzaddikim connect and are close to each other, when a true bond exists between them, then obviously, they can po'el yeshu'os for all of Klal Yisroel. However, when there is, chas vesholom, a rift among the tzaddikim, they cannot possibly annul the harsh decrees suspended over our nation's head.'"


In his many droshos, Rabbeinu would exhort the laymen, businessmen and workers to set aside time for Torah learning and to concentrate when davening.

When talking to the more learned and talmidei chachomim, he would bring a different point to their attention: Even if you learn Torah, you must ensure that this is accompanied by yiras Shomayim.

Then, quoting from Rashi in Parshas Mishpotim, "Ma eilu miSinai, af eilu miSinai, the study of Mishpotim and halachos concerning worldly matters are just as holy as the other mitzvos."


The holy Divrei Chaim zt"l of Zanz, once commented on the madreigoh of Reb Klonimus Kalman. "He is one of those tzaddikim whose level parallels that of Odom Horishon before the sin. Like Odom, this great person remains unaffected spiritually by the food he eats. The holy body can absorb the physical without it harming him spiritually in any way. In fact, the more he eats, the more he manages to raise the food, bringing it to its rightful tikkun."

On another occasion, the Divrei Chaim was heard to say, "Whoever saw the Ma'or Voshemesh saw a being made of clay, a mortal whose very life was a ray of holiness shining down from above. Like Odom Horishon before having sinned, this tzaddik could survive without eating at all."


After the histalkus of his Rebbe, Reb Elimelech zt"l Rabbeinu traveled together with his close friend, R' Meir'l of Apta, to shelter under the wings of Reb Yaakov Yitzchok, better known as the Chozeh of Lublin.

At the court of the Chozeh, it was accepted by all that the more distinguished of the talmidim would sit right at the table close to the Rebbe during the `Torah' on Shabbos.

In their deep humility, Rabbeinu and his friend Reb Meir'l did not consider themselves to be of this elite group and they humbly sat in a corner listening to the Chozeh.

Reb Naftoli of Ropshitz zt"l was present at the time and noticed their behavior. Nodding in their direction, he remarked to his son, Reb Eliezer'l of Dzikov, "You see those two holy beings? Fortunate are those who will one day travel to them to seek their holy guidance."


Just as he cleaved to his master the Rebbe Reb Elimelech in his lifetime, Rabbeinu remained as one with his Rebbe even after the latter's passing, continually transmitting his teachings and conduct to the next generations of talmidim and chassidim.

His son, Reb Aharon zt"l of Cracow related the following:

"I once accompanied my great father to the tziyun of his holy Rebbe in Lizhensk. On the way, we prepared ourselves as is fitting before coming to pray at such a holy site. Upon arriving, we entered the ohel and davened with immense hislahavus, continuing for a long time. When I had finished, my father asked me to go outside and lock him in, for he wanted to be alone on the tziyun of his Rebbe.

"I did as I was bidden, locked the metal door and waited for my father to finish.

"After a long while I could no longer hear a sound from inside, and wondered what could be taking so long. I pressed my ear to the door and was met with silence. Fear began to grip me, but this was surpassed by my dread of disturbing my father. I could not possibly open the door. I waited another long while and still could hear nothing, and began to worry that perhaps my father was not feeling well. Had something choliloh happened to him? With trepidation, I slowly turned the key and unlocked the door. I opened it and, in the dim candlelight and dancing shadows, I made out the form of my father spread over the grave of the Rebbe, Reb Elimelech. His body was prostrate, motionless. I called to my father, but he still did not stir. Reckoning that this was a case of pikuach nefesh, I shook him, bringing him to consciousness by force. This seemed to work and, after a few minutes, my father awoke, very disturbed.

"What did you do to me, my son?" he reprimanded me. "If you had left me as I was just another few minutes, my soul would have become entwined with that of my Rebbe and teacher and I would have gone to him, to life in Olom Habo."


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