© 2019 by Cong. Birchos Yosef.

REB SHMELKA ZT"L

A Tzadik, A Rebbe
 

One of the early leaders of the Chassidic movement, the saintly Torah giant Rabbi Shmuel Shmelke Halevi Horovitz (1726-1778), spread his light from the town of Nikolsburg in the eighteenth century from 1773 till 1778. He also served as the Chief Rabbi of Moravia.

 

Reb Shmelke zt"l was born in Chortikov, Galicia in 1726 to his father Reb Tzvi Hirsh zt"l, a Talmid of the holy Baal Shem Tov. In their early years, Shmelke and his brother Pinchas - who also became a Gadol Hador known as the Baal Haflah from Frankfurt - studied Torah together for a long time. After traveling to Mezritch and meeting the great chasidic master Rabbi Dov Ber the Maggid, they became his ardent Chasiddim.

After serving first as Rav in Ryczywohl and Shinove, Reb Shmelke was invited, in 1773, to become the rabbi of Nikolsburg and Chief Rabbi of Moravia, where he made a powerful impact. The fact that he was a Chasid angered many members of the community, which led to the personal intervention of Rabbi Elimelech of Lizhensk which quieted down the uproar.

Reb Shmelke established a major yeshiva that attracted numerous outstanding Talmidim. Among these were such luminaries and Chasiddic leaders as Rabbi Yaakov Yitzchak, the Seer of Lublin, Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Rimanov, Rabbi Yisrael of Koznitz, Rabbi Yitzchok Eisik of Kalev, Rabbi Mordecai Benet who later became Chief Rabbi in Moravia, and Rabbi Moshe Leib of Sassov.

 

Through his talmid Reb Baruch of Kalev zt"l, who became his son-in-law, comes a link of Tzadikim till the Nikolsburg Rebbe Shlita, Rabbi Yosef Yechiel Mechel Lebovits. So, in fact his light kept on shining through many generations till this very day.

Kever of Reb Shmelka of Nikolsburg