Thousands of Jews from around the world flocked to the famed town of Lizhensk, in present-day Poland, for the yahrtzeit of the Rebbe Reb Elimelech, zy”a, on 21 Adar, last Thursday.
“It’s a very difficult thing to put into words, but when I finally pushed my way to the tziyun, I was completely overcome by a feeling of the kedushah of the spot,” said a Boro Park graphic artist who asked not to be named.
“The air inside the ohel is wet with the tears of people davening there. You feel as if you are standing there and talking to the Rebbe Reb Meilech.”
The graphic artist also had a role in one of the seemingly endless tales of miraculous salvation that emanate out of the yearly journey to the tzaddik’s kever.
Among the many requests he had brought with him was to be mispallel for a co-worker of his wife, who had been unsuccessful in finding a shidduch for many years. His wife, however, was unable to verify her friend’s full name in time for the yahrzeit.
“I just said with an innocence, ‘We need a shidduch for Chani [not her real name],” he said. “When I landed in the airport three days later, my wife called to tell me that Chani is a kallah, and would I drive her that night to the vort?”
Many tzaddikim have spoken of the auspiciousness of Lizhensk for delivering yeshuos and inspiration for the Jews who visit there.
The Ohev Yisrael of Apt commented that “the air in Lizhensk had been purified by the prayer of the Rebbe Reb Meilech.”
“I’ve been going for seven years and the reason I go is that there is a special feeling that I get there that I have not sensed by any other holy site,” said Yossi Hirsh of Lakewood. “On the plane, everybody I speak to has the same reaction. There is something above and beyond about Lizhensk.”
Since the fall of the Iron Curtain, Jews from around the world have once again been able to travel to the holy site, with more making the journey every year.
“It’s amazing, the sheer number of people that go now,” said Chaim Reichberg, whose father, Reb Mendel, z”l, was the first to work on restoring the tziyun and organizing trips following the fall of communism.
“People come without knowing where they’re going to stay or what they will have to eat. They know it’s a hard trip, but for the Rebbe Reb Meilech they are willing to endure whatever they have to.”
As the crowds that travel grow, so do the stories of those who were helped by the tzaddik. One person who made the trip this year had been struggling with a difficult problem in his real estate business. With the bank threatening foreclosure, much of his parnassah seemed on the line.
While waiting for his flight in the Warsaw airport, he received an email that a buyer was interested in buying the property. After reading the message a few times and registering the news, he broke into tears of joy and relief.
“I never felt such a powerful feeling as when I was by the Rebbe Reb Meilech — and I’ve had uplifting Yom Kippurs. I was just overwhelmed with the feeling that I was standing on holy ground,” said a Monsey resident who asked not to be named. “I went with a long list of things to daven for myself and others. When I came back, I felt that I had left the whole pekel in Lizhensk.”