Living Legacy: The First Liska Rebbe, Ach Pri Tevuah
In Chassidic Hungary, there are a few
legendary names of the early pioneers, tzaddikim of Hungarian origin who
connected with the derech hachassidus, and made their way to the luminaries of
the Chassidic movement—returning to their native Hungary to spread the light
The Liska Rebbe, Rav Tzvi Hirsh Friedman, was one of the prominent ones. His yohrtzeit falls 14 Av. Born in 1798 in Uhel, his father was a hidden tzaddik by the name of Rav Aaron. His mother, Sarah, was the cook in the court of the Yismach Moshe in Uhel, and would bake bread for the poor of the shtetl.
His father, considered one of the lamed-vov hidden tzaddikim of his generation, was niftar when the young Tzvi Hirsh was only eight years old. The young boy accorded his mother great reverence, and would consult his holy mother on all matters of his avodas Hashem.
The Liska Rebbe spent years in the court of the holy Yismach Moshe, who was the first to spread chassidus in Hungary, and he would eventually become close to a number of tzaddikim—remaining a primary talmid of the Yismach Moshe.
Upon the advice of his Rebbe, he accepted the Rabbonus of Liska. Here he attracted thousands of chassidim who came for his brachos and his wise counsel. He became renowned for his great tzidkus, and for his Torah teachings. In time, Liska became the most prominent chassidic court in all of Hungary. He erected a magnificent Shul in the town—one of the largest in the entire region—which could seat five hundred people.
But even after thousands flocked to him, he still made his way to the holy Ruziner, Rebbe Meir’l of Premishlan, and the Sar Shalom of Belz—who, in turn, spoke of him in the most glowing terms.
Rav Tzvi Hirsh was known for his fiery avodah, and his brilliant Torah. But it was burning love for his fellow Jew that he placed above all else. He would say: “there are mitzvos that I dislike, and aveiros that I love.” To the confused listener he would explain: “Sometimes people say that it’s a mitzvah to hurt such a person, or that it's an aveirah to assist this person. Every Yid—no matter where they are—is deserving of our overwhelming love.”
And he would help his fellow Yidden in natural ways, as well as the supernatural; With clear ruach Hakodesh, and performing many mofsim. His prowess and erudition in Torah was likewise very great; he authored Ach Pri Tevuah and Hayoshor v’hatov, incredible seforim that are learned to this day.
The Ach Pri Tevuah was niftar on 14 Av, 1874, and was interred in Liska, where his kever continues to be an address for tzaddkiim and simple folk alike on trips to kivrei tzaddikim in Hungary.
Following his passing, he was succeeded in Liska by his son in law, Rav Chaim Friedlander, known as the Tal Chaim. His son was Rav Tzvi Hirsh Friedlander of Liska, and through him, the Liska dynasty continues among the Friedlander family to this day—upholding the living Legacy of its founder, the holy Ach Pri Tevuah of Liska.