A Legendary Chosid: Reb Mordechai Peltz

No story of the Machzikei Hadas organization and its activities will be complete without telling about Reb Mordechai Peltz z”l.

Reb Mordechai was a devoted Chosid of the Mitele Ruv z”l and was the backbone of the Rebbe’s many activities. He was a great Talmid Chochom and brimmed with Yiras Shamayim and Chassidus. At the same time, he was a talented speaker and writer. He was also very knowledgeable and spoke many languages.

His worldly talents, however, did not place him in the camp of the Maskilim; just the opposite. He was a Chasidishe Yid in every aspect. He never removed his “Kulpik” (a special hat worn by the early Belzer Chasidim, similar to a Shtreimel), even when he walked in the streets of Vienna and met with government officials.

Reb Mordechai was born in Lemberg to Moshe Tzvi Enser, a famous Maskil and author, but his mother held steadfast to Chasidish tradition. His father was probably as talented as Reb Mordechai, but he took the talents to become an author and writer among the Maskilim.

When Reb Mordechai was a young Bochur, his mother sent him to his uncle, so he should not be influenced by the Haskalah of his father. His uncle was a Belzer Chosid and he traveled with him to Belz. Many years later, in an introduction to one of his books, Reb Mordechai’s father praised him and his family with much pride.

Reb Mordechai was a great Masmid in learning even after he was involved in many communal activities. Once he was traveling on a long trip. Upon arrival to his place of lodging, he told the host that he is very exhausted. The host showed him to his room, and Reb Mordechai prepared to go to sleep and closed the door. When he felt that the host won’t realize, he lit a candle and studied all night with one foot on a chair, so he won’t fall asleep. The host eventually did come to check up on him and saw him. (That’s how we know about the story…)

Reb Mordechai became a Ruv in a town in Galicia and as a Ruv he took care of all the downtrodden in town. The townspeople weren’t happy with his Tzedakah and Chesed activities, so Reb Mordechai publicly resigned in protest and went back with his family to live in Lemberg.

He was a person of wholly dedication. Whatever he did was with zeal and with all his might. He davened with a Bren and Hislahavos. His Chesed and communal activities were all done in this manner. Once he was walking in Vienna and he saw a poor Jewish family being evicted from their apartment. He was appalled that no one helped them. He stood up on a chair on the street with his Kulpik and whole Chasidish attire and asked people in fluent German for Tzedakah for the family. People saw this amazing site and donated to him until he had the funds to pay the rent for the family. For a few years thereafter, he continued to send them the rent. To add to the fascination of this story, this family were not Shomrei Shabbos.

These are just a few brief stories of a fascinating and exemplary Chosid, who was devoted to Tzadikim and served Hashem with every fiber and skill, and with devotion and Bren.

For previous articles in this series on the Mitele Ruv z”l click here