Sunday, October 23, 2011

Yarzheit: 25 Tishrei: R. Levi Yitzchak of Berdichev

Rabbi Levi Yitzchak Deberamdiger of Berdichev [1740 - 25 Tishrei 1810] is one of the most popular Rebbes in chassidic history. He was a close disciple of the Maggid of Mezritch. He is best known for his love for every Jew and his active efforts to intercede for them against [seemingly] adverse heavenly decrees. Many of his teachings are contained in the posthumously published, Kedushat Levi.

A Story of Rebbe Levi Yitzchok

The Jewish wagon drivers of Berdichev felt they had to be ready for work as soon as it became light, so in order to save time, they would wrap tefilin and pray speedily next to their wagons, and at the same time do all the little tasks necessary to prepare the wagons for the road that day. When the Berditchever first saw them doing this, he raised his eyes towards Heaven, and exclaimed, “O Merciful Father, how wonderful are your children, the Jewish people. Even while they work, they pray!”

Of course, Rabbi Levi Yitzchak was not one to fail to try to improve the situation. One day he approached the wagoners as they were completing their prayers and removing their tefillin and tallises. Walking right up to them, he mumbled, “Why-do-you-pray-so-fast-no-one-can-make-out--the-words-yadayada-blablah-etc”

“WHAT?” they exclaimed in amazement. He repeated: “Why-do-you-pray-so-fast-noone-can make-out-the-words-yadayadablablah-etc”

“Rabbi, please slow down. And a bit louder. We can’t understand a word you are saying.”

“Aha!” Rabbi Levi Yitzchak pounced. “So how to you expect The Holy One to understand and accept your prayers, the way you race through them?”

“No, Rabbi,” responded immediately the most quick-witted one. “It is just like a baby that is first learning to talk. It sounds like nonsense and no one can understand. EXCEPT the baby’s mother; she can always understand her child.”

The Berditchever was delighted with their answer. He repeated it at every opportunity. It became yet another quiver in his arsenal to remind his Jewish flock as well as G-d of the ongoing love affair between them.

[Source: Yerachmiel Tilles]

Rebbe Nachman predicts the passing of Rebbe Levi Yitzchak

The Rebbe's conversation on Sunday night, the week of Noah 5570:

"My teachings are very great. They are filled with divine inspiration and can be used to predict the future. Listen carefully and pay close attention to my lessons and you will see the future. After things happen, you will also see that they were predicted in my lessons. It all has been set forth in my teachings."

I heard this after the Sabbath of Beraishis 5570. I had come to the Rebbe on Sunday night to show him the lesson "In the Beginning.... Before the Eyes of All Israel" as brought in Chapter 67 of the second part of Likutei Moharan.

That week we actually saw the Rebbe's words come true. That Sabbath's lesson had actually revealed deep secrets and predicted future events.

On the previous Thursday, the 25th of Tishrei, the famed Tzaddik and holy light, Rabbi Levi Yitzchok of Berditchov passed away. Friday night was the Sabbath of Bereishis, and the Rebbe revealed the lesson "In the Beginning... Before the Eyes of All Israel". In this lesson, the Rebbe spoke of the "glory of Israel". He said that when a Tzaddik passes away, this "glory of Israel" is eclipsed.

News of Rabbi Levi Yitzchok's passing did not reach us until the following Monday. When the Rebbe revealed this lesson, we had no idea of his inference.

When we later heard of the passing of this great Tzaddik, we then understood the Rebbe's meaning. The lesson speaks of the eclipse of the 'glory of Israel", a title the Rebbe had often given to Rabbi Levi Yitzchok. He also spoke of him as the attribute of Tefillin. [During the previous summer, Rabbi Levi Yitzchok had travelled through Wallachia, and Rabbi Nachman had his Tefillin examined. He explained that both are "the glory of Israel".]

Esrogim had not been available that year, and only arrived miraculously at the last moment. The Rebbe said that he knew Esrogim would come, for he trusted in the Tzaddikim of our generation, particularly in the great Tzaddik, Rabbi Levi Yitzchak, the glory of our congregation.

It is therefore obvious that with Divine inspiration the Rebbe had revealed in that lesson that the sainted Rabbi Levi Yitzchok had passed on. Look carefully into this lesson and you will see that it all speaks about this. Search, and you will find it."

Source: from the writings of Rebbe Nachman of Breslov, by Rabbi Nathan of Nemirov
Translated by Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan

No comments: