Original oil painting of The saintly Tzadik Reb Yeshaya Steiner of Kerestir zt”l, affectionately known as Reb Shaya’le.
This painting shows a Younger Rebbe Shaya’le & was quite possibly done in his lifetime.
Reb Shaya’le was a legend in his own times, famed for his superhuman Avodas Hashem. He was especially known for his dedication to feeding the poor and hungry under any circumstances, often performing miraculous feats to provide sustenance for those in need.
Already as a young bachur, he served as a faithful aide of the holy Tzadik, Reb Hershel’e of Liskazt”l, helping him in his many charitable endeavors. One of his tasks was to distribute bread to the many people who flocked to the Rebbe for inspiration and advice. His Rebbe would comment, “Look at my Shaya’le distributing the bread. The sack is empty, but he continues to give….” Even long after the supply ran out, Reb Shaya’le mysteriously continued handing out fresh rolls.
Later in his life, his holy light shone forth from the town of Bodrogkeresztúr (Kerestir), Hungary, where he guided his flock with incredible holiness and devotion. Reb Shaya’le occupied a small house at 65 Kossuth Utca. Incredibly, that modest house survived the destruction of World War II and the ravages of the Hungarian communist regime. It still stands today in its original form, seemingly untouched by time.
Thousands visited Reb Shayale’s home in their time of need, seeking the blessing and often supernatural intervention of the “miracle rabbi.” Others simply enjoyed the warmth and care showered on them by the beloved Reb Shaya’le. Some sought nothing more than a roof over their heads and some warm food—often their first proper meal in weeks.!
His own lofty levels notwithstanding, it was never beneath him to worry about another Jew’s most basic needs. He personally made sure that none of his visitors ever remained hungry. On Rosh Hashanah, in the midst of preparing for the blowing of the shofar, Reb Shaya’le was observed slicing cake so the many Yidden in shul would not be hungry.
Incredibly, on his deathbed, Reb Shaya’le called over his family and told them, “There will be a large funeral here and many people will come from the surrounding towns and villages. Please prepare several large pots of food so that the people coming to my funeral should not go hungry.” This was what the Tzadik worried about as he prepared to meet his Maker!
Although the Tzadik left us a century ago, his light continues to shine to this day. Countless people have merited miraculous Yeshuos in his great merit.
Jolán Szilágyi (15 June 1895, Székelyudvarhely – 8 July 1971, Budapest), was a Hungarian painter, graphic artist and cartoonist.
She married Tibor Szamuely. During the Hungarian Soviet Republic Tibor was People’s Commissar for Military Affairs and Jolán produced political posters, such as “Minden gyárnak legyen munkászászlóalja!” (Every factory should have a workers’ battalion!). When the Republic was overthrown, she went into exile spending time in Italy, Germany and the Soviet Union, before returning to Hungary in 1948.
In 1921-1922 she was studying at VKhUTEMAS, the art and technical school founded in 1920 in Moscow. When Béla Uitz and Alfréd Kemény attended the 3rd Congress of the Communist International in Moscow, they met with Szilágyi who introduced them to
El Lissitzky. Lissitzky, of Lithuanian Jewish оrigin, began his career illustrating Yiddish children’s books in an effort to promote Jewish culture in Russia.Over the years, he taught in a variety of positions, schools, and artistic media, spreading and exchanging ideas.
Reb Shayla, and Jolán Szilágyi are both of Hungarian descent and were both alive during a long period of each others lifetimes. It is very possible this painting was painted during Reb Shayla”s lifetime.
In great condition.
Dimensions: (painting) 18in. x 14.5in. (with frame) 23.5in. x 20in.
See also lot 205.