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Rebbe Elimelech of Lizhensk - more than a single quotation

רבי אלימלך מליז'ענסק
צילום: Attribution only license|talsardar.

Translation by Yehoshua Siskin

Sometimes all we know about a person is a single quotation credited to his name. 235 years ago today Rebbe Elimelech of Lizhensk, one of the greatest personalities of the Chasidic movement, passed away. Rebbe Elimelech is most famously associated with the "Prayer before Prayer, meant to be recited before praying. The following verse taken from it became a popular song:

"On the contrary, make our hearts such that we see only the good in our friends and not their faults. May we speak to one another in a way that is upstanding and desirable before You, and let not any hatred arise between one person and the next, Heaven forbid. Strengthen our atttachment to you with love, as it may be revealed and known before You that everything we do is for Your pleasure."

Other wonderful thoughts are found in this prayer. It might be worthwhile to get to know them, too, and to compose music to them as well. For example:

* "Protect us from ulterior motives and pride, from anger and severity and sadness, from indulging in idle gossip, from other bad character traits, and from everything that diminishes our pure and holy worship of You which is so dear to us."

* "Do not allow any bad thought to arise in our hearts, heaven forbid, neither when we are awake nor in a dream."

* "Awaken our hearts and the hearts of your entire nation of Israel, as well as the hearts of all those who attach themselves to us and the hearts of all those who wish to be in our company, to establish your Oneness through truth and through love, and to serve You with sincerity."

* "Remove from us all the barriers that separate you, our Father in heaven, from us, and save us from every hindrance and every error; do not leave us, do not abandon us, and do not make us ashamed."


In his memory.



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