Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev in the age of corona

No matter what anyone did, Rabbi Levi Yitzchak knew how to find a positive and optimistic way of presenting it to G-d. We sorely need him.

Sivan Rahav-Meir ,

Sivan Rahav-Meir
Sivan Rahav-Meir
Eyal ben Ayish

We need Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev now more than ever. The man who was called "Defender of Israel" always sought out the good in every person and in everything. He passed away 211 years ago this week.

In memoriam, Rav Elhanan Shtiglitz wrote the following:

We need another Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev, someone who will look at our youth on the Zoom screens and tell them: 'You are amazing, you have enormous strength.' And then he will look toward heaven and the Master of the Universe and proclaim: 'Look at your children, how much effort they make despite such a distorted reality.'

We need another Rabbi Levi Yitzchak who will look at the exhausted teachers and console them: 'You are doing holy work.' And then he will tell the Master of the Universe: 'Look at their tireless efforts to educate the next generation from afar.'

We need another Rabbi Levi Yitzchak who will look at all the business owners struggling to stay open who project business as usual to their kids, a Levi Yitzchak who will then tell the Master of the Universe: 'Look at how parents worry about their families, how much they labor to celebrate the holidays in joy despite their hardships.'

We need another Rabbi Levi Yitzchak who will fill our most pressing need: advocacy. Advocacy that will caress us so that instead of constantly being scolded for what we are doing wrong, we will be praised for what we are doing right. Not to focus on what we are lacking, but on the unlimited good that we perform, on light revealed in cracks within the darkness, on illumination within the shadows.

We need another Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev, or at least begin to act like him with everyone we meet until the day comes when a little bit of trust will return, including trust in ourselves. For this is what he taught us: 'Judge every person favorably, including yourself.'"

In his memory.

• Translation by Yehoshua Siskin



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