“Noam Elimelech – Prayers And Customs” (Chassidic Classics) – Kindle Edition

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“Noam Elimelech – Prayers and Customs” (Chassidic Classics) – Kindle Edition, transl. Tal Moshe Zwecker. The customs and guidance for life as taught by the Rebbe Elimelech of  Lizhensk a student of the Great Maggid of Mezritch.  Contains Tzetal Katan (a seventeen-point program on how to be a good Jew)  & “Hanhagos HaAdam (a list of customs for all pious Jews to follow) as well as his prayer.

There are two stories behind the title of this book “Rebbe of all Rebbes and Sefer Shel Tzadikim”. Rabbi Aharon of  Belz is quoted saying that “Rebbe Elimelech may his merit shield us, was the Rebbe of all the Rebbes.”

Indeed there is a story told of the Rebbe’s brother the Rebbe Reb Zisha of  Hanipoli. After Rebbe Elimelech passed away he was approached by his brother’s students to be their new leader. Rabbi Zisha declined and explained his reason with a parable: “The possuk in Bereshis 2:10 states “And a river went forth from Eden to water the garden and from there it split into four paths.” The Torah is eternal and alludes to all events above and below for all generations. Eden alludes to our holy master the Baal Shem Tov. The river was his student the holy Mezitcher Maggid. The garden refers to my brother the Rebbe Elimelch. This then is the meaning: a river flows from Eden to water the garden, the Torah flows as water from the Baal Shem Tov by way of the Mezritcher Maggid to the Rebbe Elimelech. From there it separates into four paths: they are 1.The Holy Rebbe the Chozeh or Seer of Lublin. 2.The Holy Rebbe Avodas Yisrael the Koznitzer Maggid. 3. The Holy Rebbe Mendel Rimanover and 4.The Holy Ohev Yisrael the Apta Rav. You need no Rebbe other than them.”

There is a story about Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi the founder of  Chabad Hassidism that he once said “My sefer Tanya is also called “sefer shel beynonim” a book for the average Jew. But the sefer Noam Elimelech is a “sefer shel Tzadikim” a book for the righteous”.

The style of the sefer Noam Elimelech is difficult to follow and we will therefore try to explain it. The Rebbe will usually quote the verse in the parsha, which the Torah discourse will focus on and be woven around. Usually the Rebbe either immediately introduces a new verse or another teaching of  Chazal from the Midrash or Talmud. This verse or teaching is a springboard or introduction to relate a concept or idea in Jewish thought. This concept is then applied elsewhere and read back into the original verse.

The method of reading and learning used by the Rebbe in Noam Elimelech is generally the method called Remez. This is one of the four methods employed in learning Torah collectively called by the acronym Pardes. It stands for Pshat, Remez, Drash and Sod. The simple meaning, hints and allusions, exegesis and sermons, and the secrets of Torah. The method of teaching by hints and allusions employs the transformation of letters and use of synonyms and words that have similar spellings and different meanings. For examples see parshas Noach where Teyva means both ark and word, and Bereshis where erev means sweet as well as evening. Transformations also use the alternate alphabets such as At’Bash and Ayak’Bachar. In these methods letters are substituted for each other.  See Vayeshev on the word mitzvah for an example of an At’Bash transformation.

This sefer also employs the use of  Gematria numerology. This technique assigns numerical values to the Hebrew letters and compares words that have the same value. So we can see that words with the same value are related.  See parshas Bereshis note 4.

The Rebbe also uses Roshei Teivos and Sofei Teivos and Notrikon as well (Initials, final letters and compound words) to make words into acrostics, so that notrikon of Terumah can be read Terum Hei uplift the letter Hei and Teshuva can be read Tashuv Hei return the Hei. The roshei tevos of the word Nachal, river form the acrostic Notzer Chesed LeAlafim.

Another system of learning verses employed is the use of kinnuyim or aspects and expressions. This is used to connect words and concepts according to the deep secrets behind them. So that in parshas VaYeshev the name Adon”ai is called the antechamber of the name Hav”ya because one must enter the service of Hashem through fear represented by this name. And in parshas VaYetze words and prayers are called angels because the mitzvos performed create angelic messengers to convey them to Hashem.


Rabbi Tal Moshe Zwecker, formerly of  Oceanside Long Island in New York, is a Clevelander Chassid  (of the Nadvorna dynasty). He currently lives in Ramat Bet Shemesh Alef, Israel with his wife and children. Rabbi Tal Moshe Zwecker is a volunteer speaker and Maggid shiur in local Ramat Bet Shemesh  Shuls. He teaches classes on the Virtual Yeshiva and also does guest speaking engagements on a variety of topics from Shabbos Drashos, Shalosh Seudos Torah, Chassidus, Mussar, Jewish Meditation and Topics in modern and contemporary Halachah.

He also run Machon Beer Mayim Chaim, the organization founded to spread Chassidus in English. The Baal Shem Tov saw Meshiach in a vision. He asked him “When is the Master coming?” Meshiach told the Holy Baal Shem Tov “when your wellsprings spread out.” That is the goal of  Machon Beer Mayim Chaim to spread the teachings of  Classical Chassidus to a wide audience.

“Noam Elimelech” Prayers and Customs (Chassidic Classics), transl. Rabbi Tal Moshe Zwecker is available for iPhone,  iPod Touch,  iPad with free Amazon app  (download app – here)

Format: Kindle Edition
File Size: 461 KB
Publisher: Kindle eBook (Aug. 26, 2010)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services
Language: English
Price: $3.16 (Buy now)

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