By: Ariel Goldin
Tears are running freely down my cheeks as I remember all of the amazing times I had in your house throughout my year on Shluchos and all the visits after that. There are so many things to say that I’m having a hard time gathering my thoughts…
I remember first arriving in Virginia, first walking into your house and feeling immediately comfortable. In general, it usually takes me a while to warm up to new people but you and Miriam were so friendly and welcoming I felt instantly at home. Two days later I was telling my mother how I was comfortable enough already to walk into the house and open the fridge and her saying how you guys must be amazing people. I assured her that you were.
For the ten months that I was living in your home, I watched as you transformed so many people who came to the Chabad House. The change and growth that I witnessed was amazing and no one else could have pulled it off. Aside for weddings, Bar Mitzvah’s, and births, I saw more Yiddishkeit in the people of Tysons. I saw people observe more Torah and Mitzvos under your persuasion and influence.
Even after I moved to New York and would come visit for Shabbos or Yom Tov (happily welcomed every time no matter how you were feeling and regardless of the number of other guests you were having), I saw the community grow under your care. Each time I would return, I was amazed by what you had accomplished in the few weeks or months since my last visit.
I also watched your family grow through your love. I saw Miriam smile as she made Shabbos dinner for 30 people and how she would glow when you would thank her for it. I saw Zalman first rolling over, Mirel calling herself “tights” instead of “Deitsch”, Mendel making leaf piles, and Chaya learning to read while you patiently and devotedly helped them all. Then, I think of them now and how proud you must be!
At the end of my year of Shluchos, you and Miriam gave Chana Raizel and me each a chitas. You had our names written on them but I remember you handing it to us and specifically saying, “We didn’t put your last names on them!” Baruch Hashem, both of us have new last names a few years after leaving Tysons.
On the topic of name change, you passed away the Shabbos of my Sheva Brachos. I had called Miriam a few weeks before to find out if you were going to be able to come because I wanted you to say a bracha under my chuppah. Even though you couldn’t make it, I know how much you wanted to be there. I also know that you waited until after my wedding to leave so that I could be happy and I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Levi, driving home from Midrasha shortly after you were diagnosed you told me that G-d willing, everything would be ok. I can’t even begin to imagine what was going through your head at this moment and here you were trying to reassure me.
Every Friday night at the Shabbos table you would go around and ask every person to say something that inspired them that week. This tradition always used to drive me crazy! And of course, you knew this and would always skip me unless I had something particular in mind.
The truth is, Levi, that you inspire me. You inspire me to pursue my goals and to think of others more. You inspire me to always think positive and to never give up. I hear you singing your favorite niggun and only hope that I can inspire people even a fraction of how much you’ve inspired everyone you’ve ever met.
I miss you, Levi! Moshiach Now!