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Friday, March 01, 2013

Reb Elimelech

Saturday night is the 21st of Adar, which is the yahrtzeit (anniversary of the death) of the Noam Elimelech, Reb Elimelech zt"l (may the memory of the righteous be a blessing) of Leziansk.

Ordinarily, for Reb Elimelech's yahrtzeit, I post Avraham Fried's hit song Aderaba, whose words were written by Reb Elimelech. This year, because I am in mourning for my father and cannot listen to music, I cannot post it.

However, I'd like to tell you all about a new documentary film about Reb Elimelech, which was made by R. Hanoch Teller and is being screened in the US this week (Yes, I sent him an email asking about screenings in Israel). I urge you all to see it.

Here's the trailer. Let's go to the videotape (I had to give my son the headsets because of the music).

Here's a blurb about the movie.

Rabbi Elimelech and his sainted brother Reb Zushe, disciples of the Magid of Mezhritz, student of the founder of hassidism, the Baal Shem Tov, wandered on foot all year from shteitl to village to impoverished town, bringing Torah and spiritual warmth to the persecuted and impoverished Jews of Eastern Europe.

And each year, for his yahrzeit, close to 35,000 pilgrims battle snow and freezing temperatures to travel to the remote corner of Poland where he is buried. It is said that anyone who prays at his grave on the day of his yahrzeit will not leave this world without achieving complete repentance.

In honor of that date, Rabbi Hanoch Teller's English language documentary "Reb Elimelech and the Chassidic Legacy of Brotherhood" will be shown at various venues in the US next week.

Arutz Sheva attended the Israeli screening held at the OU Israel Center in Jerusalem several days ago and, along with the large audience of English-speakers, found it inspiring, educational and most suitable for family watching. Using quality cinematic techniques, state-of-the-art graphics, full orchestration by leading musicians, original scores, duets by famed vocalists Abish Brodt and Avraham Fried, and rare archival material, Teller has created an exceptional experience for the Jewish audience.

Who exactly was Reb Elimelech of Lizhensk? The answer to these questions, as well as the understanding of the origin of the hassidic movement, is beautifully explained in this 74-minute film. But far more than just seeing the backdrop of Jewish life in 18th-century Poland and Ukraine, which - as the film shows - involved the Chmielnitzky massacres, blood libels, pogroms, debilitating taxes upon Jews, and the prohibition against Jews earning their livelihood as they wished, the viewer will understand the atmosphere of angst-ridden despair that resulted in the Sabbetai Zvi and Jacob Frank false Messiah debacles.

In that context, it is all the more wonderful that the Baal Shem Tov was able to give to the masses—whom he mixed with and uplifted—a reason to live and a way to live in which feeling close to G-d was as important as keeping each detail of His commandments.
Read the whole thing.

Here's the screenings schedule in the US:
Screenings Schedule::
With a live introduction by Hanoch Teller in each location - not to be missed:
Lawrence = March 2 = Shaaray Tefila , 25 Central Ave. Lawrence = 8:30 pm
Brooklyn = March 3 = Young Israel of Midwood, 1694 Ocean Avenue = 8:00 pm
Waterbury =March 4 = Yeshiva Atteres Shmuel = 4:30 pm
Toronto = March 5 = Bais Yaakov High School, 410 Lawrence Ave. W = 8:00 pm
Miami = March 6 = Yeshiva Toras Chaim, 1025 NE Miami Gardens Drive = 8:00 pm
Cincinnati = March 10 = Cincinnati Hebrew Day School = 12 pm
Los Angeles = March 10 = Kanner Hall, 7269 Beverly Blvd = 7:00 pm
If this one gets nominated for an Oscar next year, I'll finally have an Israeli film for which I can root. 



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