Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Sfas Emes's Yortzeit

Today, the fifth of Sh'vat is the Sfas Emes's yortzeit. It is customary on the yortzeit of a tzaddik to give tzedakah and light a candle l'ilui nishmaso and to pray to HaShem for the things we need in the zechus of the tzadik. May HaShem view our prayers favorably in the merit of the tzadik Rav Yehudah Aryeh Leib of Gur zt"l.

Years ago I heard an incredible story about the Sfas Emes. Rav Elya Lapian had gone to visit the Sfas Emes in Poland. The Sfas Emes was much older than Rav Lapian yet when Rav Lapian entered the room the Sfas Emes stood out of respect. Rav Lapian was taken aback. After all, the Sfas Emes was known as one of the gedolei hador. Why was he standing for Rav Lapian, a young Rosh Yeshiva. The Sfas Emes said that he standing out of respect for someone who experienced giluy Eliyahu.

Rav Lapian was always overcome with the thought. How did the Sfas Emes know? Rav Lapian had never told anyone.

If anyone knows more details about this story, please share them. Thanks.


I just read the story in the beginning of Lev Eliyahu so here is the accurate story.  The story was told by Rav David Mishkovsky who was the menahel of Yeshivas Knessess Chizkiya in Kfar Chassidim where Reb Elya Lopian was the mashgiach ruchani.

When Reb Elya lived in Kelm his wife got very ill.  The doctors said that there was nothing they could do.  She was in a very bad state and the family was gathered around her bed crying while Reb Elya was an adjacent room beside himself with worry.  Just then, a yid comes into the room and asks what all the crying is about.  Reb Elya explained that his wife was deathly ill in the next room and the doctors say there is no cure for her illness.  The yid asked Reb Elya what disease she had.  When Reb Elya told him, he instructed Reb Elya that there is a certain plant that he can find in a certain field.  He should get the plant, boil it and give his wife to drink the soup from the plant.  He did this and she got better.

Reb Elya had a strong feeling that this yid was Eliyahu Hanavi but he never told anyone the story.

Years later he visited the Sfas Emes in Gur.  They discussed various issues and at the end of their conversation Reb Elya asked the Sfas Emes for a bracha.  The Sfas Emes answered that a yungerman who had gilui Eliyahu does not need his bracha!  Reb Elya answered that if the Rebbe knows that he had gilui Eliyahu then he davka wants the Rebbe's bracha!

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