Elimelech Weisblum of Lizhensk (Polish: Leżajsk) (1717-1786) was an Orthodox Jewish rabbi and one of the great Hassidic rebbes of the past. He was also known as a tzaddik who devoted his life to studying and teaching the Torah, as well as encouraging people to repent and return to God. He was an ascetic, who believed in staying away from alcohol. Rebbe Elimelech was a prominent student of the Maggid of Mezeritch, and was brought under his tutelage by his illustrious brother the famous Tzadik and Rebbe Reb Zisha of Hanipoli. After the death of the Maggid of Mezeritch, he was considered by most of the Maggid's students and followers as his successor.
Many of Rebbe Elimelech students (talmidim) went on to be rebbes in their own right, the most famous are Chozeh of Lublin, Rebbe Menachem Mendel of Rimanov, the Kozhnitzer Maggid, the Apter Rov, the author of Maor veShemesh Rabbi Kalynomus Kalman Epstein, Rav Naftali of Ropshitz, Rebbe Dovid Lelover.
Rebbe Elimelech was born in Galicia. He died in Leżajsk, Poland. As is common amongst great Rabbis, he is most commonly known by the name of his popular book Noam Elimelech, a commentary on the Torah. This book is one of the principal works of Hasidism. The sefer was called Sefer Shel Tzadikim, (a Book for the Righteous) by Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi (founder of the Lubavitch dynasty).
The book has asterisks or stars placed in random places over words. Tradition has it that these stars have some meaning. In Devarim Areivim (another hassidic classic), the author, Rabbi Dov Ehrmann, wrote: "In the first edition of the sefer, there are in many places small stars which allude to some secret meaning". The Klausenberger Rebbe once said that the stars in the heavens are a commentary to the stars in the book Noam Elimelech. As such, all subsequent printings have included these stars. The Noam Elimelech also wrote Tzetl Koton, a seventeen-point program on how to be a good Jew as well as Hanhagos HaAdam a list of customs for all pious Jews to follow.
To this day, his grave in Lizhensk is visited by thousands of those faithful to Hasidism, particularly on the anniversary of his death, the 21st of the Hebrew month of Adar (and Adar II in leap years).