(Courtesy: R’ Tal Moshe Zwecker)
The Holy Rav Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev once traveled with his student rav Aharon of Zhitomir, author of Toldos Aharon together to the city of Lizhensk. There they stayed together with the Rebbe Reb Elimelech in his home. The Rebbe Reb Elimelech questioned the Berditchever saying to him, “Why are you stealing away all of my own students?” (This was because many great Torah scholars left the Rebbe Elimelech to study under the Berditchever.) The Berditchever answered Rebbe Elimelech with humility, “Vaymens Bin Ich Den? Ich Bin Zich Ayer Talmid Oych! – And just whose student do you think I am? I am also your student! Therefore all my students, are therefore your very own student’s students!” With this humble answer he was able to placate and satisfy the rebbe Elimelech.
Afterwards the Berditchever continued on his way to attend to some matters while his students Rav Aharon of Zhitomir remained behind and continued studying in the Rebbe Elimelech’s beis midrash. Rebbe Elimelech did not realize this, and when one night he walked in and found rav Aharon sitting there learning he was surprised and he asked Rav Aharon, “Why did you not go on and continue the travels with your Rebbe?” Rav Aharon answered Rebbe Eliemelch, “Mein Rebbe Ken Ich. Bin Ich Gebliben Ba Aych Zu Kenen! – My rebbe I know already. I remained behind to get to you as well!” Hearing this Rebbe Elimelech got all worked up. He seized Rav Aharon and began to shake him by the lapels of his clothing and declared, “Dayn Rebben Kenstu? Afilu Zein Zhupstze Kenstu Nisht Bifrat Im Aleyn! – You think you really know your Rebbe? Why, you don’t even know his lapels let alone do you really know him and how great he is!”
When the Holy Rav Kalonymous Kalman Epstein of Krakow author of the Maor VaShemesh was but a young child the Holy Rav Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev visited his town. The young boy hid himself beneath the holy Berditchever’s tallis as children do, to see what the Rebbe was doing as he prayed. The manner and conduct of the holy and righteous tzadik left such an impression on Rav Epstein that from that point on there burned within him a holy fire!
When Rav Epstein grew up he became a well known student of the holy Rav Elimelech of Lizhensk. Rav Elimelech once met the Berditchever in Rav Epstein’s company. When Rav Elimelech’s prided himself on having such an illustrious and holy person as one of his own students, the Berditchever took a good look at the author of Maor VaShemesh. He then recognized on his face, that the holy Rav standing before was that same boy from years ago. “No, no,” said the Berditchever to Rebbe Elimelech, “this one is one of mine! When he was but a five-year old and he hid under my tallis, the holiness and sanctity already left it’s mark until he has reached his current level and stature.”