Rabbi Kalonymus Kalman Epstein – The Author of Maor VaShemesh

Rabbi Kalonymus Kalman Epstein, the author of the Torah commentary Maor VaShemesh, was among the greatest Rebbes that Chassidut has known. The main disciple of the holy Rabbi Elimelech of Lizensk and the Chozeh of Lublin, he frequented many other Rebbes, including the Maggid of Zlotchov and the holy Menachem Mendel of Rimanov.

Rabbi Kalonymus was an exceptional individual, a man educated in Torah and Kabbalah, one whose words pierced the Heavens as he poured out his soul in prayer. He lived in Krakow, which during his time was largely opposed to Chassidut. However a turning point was eventually reached, and he was able to introduce many noteworthy individuals to Chassidut. He prayed in the Beit Midrash of the gaon Rabbi Nathan Neta Shapira (the Av Beit Din of Krakow and author of Megale Amukot), and many people from other synagogues came to hear him pray. Although this created opponents for him, he was eventually able to spread Chassidut throughout the city. Rabbi Kalonymus ended up becoming famous in the Diaspora for his Torah commentary Maor VaShemesh, a work that was accepted as authoritative throughout the Jewish world. In fact after a few years, it was printed at the same time as chumashim. On Tammuz 1, 5587 the soul of Rabbi Kalonymus ascended to Heaven, and his body was laid to reset in Krakow’s newer cemetery (not the older one, in which the Rema and others are buried). In accordance with his wishes, no tombstone was raised over his gravesite, and today it is a gathering place for many, as people come to express their troubles and request aid both for individuals and the community. May his merit protect us all.




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