לזכר נשמת הרה"ח השליח ר' לוי יצחק בן הרה"ח ר' זלמן יודא דייטש ע"ה

Please donate to the Levi fund. (Please specify that it is for the Levi fund )

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Beannacht Levi (Gaelic)

By: Susan Infeld

My relationship with Levi is a bit different than most who have written thus far.

I met Levi initially through his friendship with my husband Don, who was the Rabbi's close confidant and "Chief Medical Officer". As a practicing RN, I too became part of Levi's medical care team. I was blessed and honored to be invited into Levi and Miriam's "circle of trust" and worked closely with them, both in and out of the hospital, toward achieving optimal pain and symptom management.

I am not Jewish. But Levi and Miriam (and their entire family) welcomed me as if I were family. I am always amazed how Illness breaks down boundaries. Perhaps that is one of the blessings lying deep within the mystery of suffering. These past few years I learned much about the beauty of Chabad and this loving family. And I hope that Levi and Miriam's lives were enriched as well through the diversity that I brought to the table.

As a Hospice RN, I have witnessed many a fighter. But never, ever, have I seen the courage and fierce determination that "Team Levi" demonstrated. And I am not just talking about Levi and Miriam here... although they are legendary. The familiar phrase "it takes a village to raise a child".. in this case became, "it takes a World Wide Movement to fight Levi's cancer". Medical specialists (traditional and non-traditional) from around the world poured their collective wisdom into helping Levi and Miriam find treatments and a cure. It was staggering to witness the tireless quest and unflappable support that Levi received from "the best and the brightest"...and from family, friends and colleagues near and far.

Levi, Miriam, and all of you taught my husband and I so much about the beauty of friendship; one that travels hours and hours.... and more than once.... just for a visit. You taught us much about the beauty of family as we witnessed the love and support Levi received from the countless phone calls, visits, help at home and dinners around the Shabbos table. And with deep and radiant passion, Levi and Miriam taught us by example, what love and commitment in a marriage truly is.

In the heartbreak that everyone feels at this unspeakable loss, I call upon my Irish heritage and of the familiar Claddagh symbol; a heart surrounded by two hands which means "Love, Loyalty, and Friendship". Levi Deitsch was fearless and tireless in all three virtues. In our shared loss of his beautiful life, I respectfully offer the traditional toast "Today, we are all Irishmen".

A Gaelic poet penned the following words that I share in friendship today:

"May we live in peace without weeping.
May our joy outline the lives we touch without ceasing.
And may our love fill the world, angel wings tenderly beating".

"Cead Mil Failte".."A Hundred Thousand Welcomes" to Levi..who rests among angels wings.

Beannacht Levi, (Goodbye and G_d bless)

Susan Infeld, RN

Levi would always give

By: Sholom Loebenstein

As a brother (In-Law) to Levi, I am speechless, I have no words to say. In addition to the question why does the Hashem take away the best of the best people in the world, there are simply no words to describe the pain and anguish my family and I have that Levi has left us. We are left with no answers as to why this had to happen to Miriam, Chaya, Mendel, Mirel, Zalman and all Levi’s family and friends together with the whole Klal Yisroel. May Hashem bless them with much strength courage and happiness throughout their lives, they should only hear good thing from now on till the coming days of Moshiach speedily in our days.

All of those who were lucky to know, meet, or hear of Levi would know that Levi symbolized many things: always loving one another, being kind to every individual, helping everyone no matter who they are, always smiling, laughing, and doing Mivtzoim, always with a passion and with love for a fellow Jew. You were always able to see how he loved life by his acts of kindness. Levi would always give, give and give with a smile on his face.

I got to know Levi quite well especially over the last three to four years, whether it was by our long serious and funny conversations over the phone or from my personal visits to Tyson’s Corner over the last three years.

Levi was a warm, charming, funny guy to know and to be with, and over the last three years while Levi was ill, so many people, not only America but the whole world would fly in to spend some time with Levi and it wasn’t only his friends but also respected rabbis philanthropists, family so on and so forth. They all knew that Levi was such an important person to everyone.

As a fifteen year old Bochor, I always sought advice and help whether it had to do with school, friends, learning, general behavior and most importantly more personal matters. Let me tell you Levi knew it all. I always knew I could speak to Levi when I needed to. I knew I could trust him with all my personal matters. Levi was so-to-say my “Mashpia” who I always listened to and loved very much.

Just two and a half months ago, while I was there for Tishrei, I spent a lot of time with Levi walking to Shul, at home, in the spa and so on so forth. One thing that sticks out of my mind is that one Shabbos Levi and I went on a long walk to Shul and Levi was not felling very well at this time but nevertheless he was asking me as usual all about school, my teachers, what I was learning in and out of school, and with whom I have Shiuirim with, what I’m doing next year, what I like and what I don’t like, what I waste my time on and what I don’t waste my time on etc. Even though it was a very serious talk never the less Levi still made me laugh constantly like he always did. As always Levi will finish off by saying in his loud deep voice “Sholom Menachem Mendel! Now that you told me everything, now tell me how you’re going to improve all of that!”

I always thought I knew Levi until I read all the stories, poems, speeches, about Levi and his life on the blog. As well as you think you know Levi, there is always something you don’t know about him and when you find what it is you just get even more and more inspired by him.

From sitting and reading all these wonderful and special stories about Levi on the blog no matter if it was his long time old friend or Shluchim around the world, or respected elder rabbis, or men, women, and children in Levis Chabad house who wrote. It brings tears to my eyes to know what a great and special bother-in- law I have and love so dearly and so much.

This is a big loss for the whole Jewish community. Levi will be missed very much by everyone. But we pray that soon we will be dancing on the streets with Levi and all our loved ones and the whole Klal yisroel with Moshiach on the way to Eretz Yisroel, may it be speedily in our days.

May we all take and use Levi’s lessons to our everyday life and use them will just like Levi wants us to.

There is so much more I could say. I could be here for days writing about Levi and his Shlichus, funny, serious, cool, and loving stories.

Levi I miss you and love you so much and will always take your lessons into my hand and whenever I need to make a big decision I will think of you and think to myself “what would Levi have told me to do?”


Monday, November 29, 2010

He was a natural charmer

By: Mendy Wuensch

I don't have specific stories in mind. I knew Levi since I was about 8 or 9 in overnight camp. We hooked up at camp pretty much most of my summers. Then we were in Ohlei Torah together.
Levi, was one of those guy's from your class that EVERYONE knew and everybody was friends with. He was a natural charmer filled with love and always smiling, not to mention always belting out some singing with his chazanish voice. He was a pillar in a group, and all his friends loved him.
I used to love to stroll over to Levi's house Friday night's. He had on average by his Friday night table 30 to 50 bochurim or more. It always ended off in a farbrangen between Levi, his older brothers, and family. It was so beautiful and magical.
I am trying to sum up Levi, but there really isn't many words befitting. You just had to know him to understand.
Levi. I will miss you very much, may we see you very soon with Moshiach NOW!!!

He cared and noticed the changes

By: Zalman Chein

I would like to share a short story, which I think about all the time:

In the summer of 5760 I was working in the office in cgi Montreal and Levi (who was head counselor the year before) came to spend some time in camp. He was working on a project to organize the camp songs. We had a rather large room with a couch that turns into a bed, Levi stayed with us, it was great.

After camp I receive a thank you card in the mail from Levi, a general thank you and the bottom he wrote: “You’ve come along way baby, keep it up”.

To me that one line made the world of a difference, Levi cared and noticed the changes I’ve made, the struggles I was having and he made a point of mentioning it.
That line stayed in my head, at later times he did not have to say it, I knew he was thinking it.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

He loved to laugh

By: Meir Geisinsky

It has been two weeks since I learned of my dear friends Levi’s passing, and it still hasn’t sunk in, and I don’t know that it ever will. I knew I wanted to write to this blog for I understand that it brings comfort to the entire Deitsch family. But I couldn’t get myself to make it real though I attended the levaya and frequented the shiva. Before I continue writing I implore all of you that find yourself often checking this blog for new material on Levi, because of your closeness to Levi, to please contribute as well, just find the time and the strength to do it – just do it for Levi for I know for a fact that it is comforting to them.

One of my reasons/excuses for delaying writing is I simply didn’t know which direction I should go with this letter. So, I’m probably –certainly going to go all over the place with it, but will hopefully go full circle at the end.

I grew up the next door neighbor of Levi. Though I was best friends with Levi’s older brother I’m only a year and some older than Levi – so, much fun and time was had with him as well. I mean how couldn’t I? Anyone that seemingly walked on Crown St. became Levi’s friend. I thought I knew Levi and I thought I knew Levi through and through as they say, there were nights we sat on my porch until it was light outside, we talked about anything and everything, I really thought I knew Levi, but I cannot tell you how amazed, stunned, impressed, humbled I am with Levi’s handling and “accepting” of Hashem’s way – with regards to his what many think is an unacceptable illness.

When I first learned of the rumors that there may be something up/down with Levi, I called him more frequently just in case I can either infer anything or be there for him. I certainly didn’t ask him directly. When I heard for a “fact” that something not so good had been found in Levi’s chest, I painfully sat down to write an email to Levi – the kind of email that takes 30 minutes to write 3 lines. Of course I had no idea how to react or what to write, but I knew as a friend I could not just let it be and go on with my day, that’s what I’m supposed to do as a friend, something that we all know that Levi was a master at. Like 20 seconds after hitting the “send” button, I get a call from Levi: C’mon Meir, cut the trash, don’t talk to me like that. I can’t tell you how embarrassed and uncomfortable I was, I was sitting at the computer devastated about the news I just heard and Levi calls me laughing like “knock it off Meir” It’s just a Hashem thrown curve ball at him, but in the same mood like he was when he came to my backyard to play basketball. At that point I jumped on Levi’s back with optimism, hope and almost assurance that all would be well. It goes without saying how his dear wife Miriam was equally as optimistic and upbeat, though she remained as devoted and concerned to Levi’s every move. Every time I would visit Levi or speak to him, not for a moment did I feel like I was talking to a different Levi Deitsch than I used to sit on my porch until 5 in the morning with, I kept telling myself things must be under control – a person can’t be that accepting. Then for me to read after his passing about all the times he was told by doctors that he has months to live!!!!! Wow, and a painful wow is all I can say!

It is at this point that I would like to praise and show admiration for Levi’s dear parents Reb Zalman Yuda A’H and Tzirel (May she only know from strength, simchas and Nachas) I would often be asked by Chabad members: how is it that the Deitsch family next door to you, all of them are on track all of them Chassidim, all class leaders, all of them destined to go on Shlichus, you have been in the house what can you tell us? To be honest I was never able to put my finger on it, though Reb Zalman and Tzirel were certainly role models and completely given over to each child and each Mitzvah. I once heard a saying: to be born a mentch is an accident but to die as one is an accomplishment. To see Levi’s acceptance of hashems way to the bitter end, though painful, heartbreaking and shocking to me is still a reflection of the great upbringing that Levi experienced, though he certainly didn’t go without a fight or an all out war more like it.

I recently spoke to Levi’s dear Aishes Chayil Miriam, and I agree completely with her sentiment, in addition to of course missing Levi, she misses Levi saying, it’ll be good, it’ll be good. She said, she somehow has the feeling that if Levi can send her a message now he would say, it’ll be good it’ll be good. I’m not sure how to interpret his passing, but everything else that came Levi’s way – he didn’t view it as a problem, more a like a challenge or a bump in the road as he would say often.

I just went back through my many letters and I found a letter I received from Levi in 1993 (I’m from the post it stamp letter generation – before email) How fitting, the return address on the envelope said: Ha Ha 518 Crown St…

Does that sum Levi or what? Was Levi not all about “Ha Ha” He loved to laugh, he loved to make other laugh, he was one ball of laughter, he knew it, his family knew it, his class knew it, his community knew it, everyone who came in contact with him knew it and enjoyed it. While certainly he had a serious side to him- when an atmosphere needed a laugh, he broke out of any mood he may have been in to deliver the laugh. I mean not only was Levi fun, but he had an ability to lead- inspire- and make one believe in himself. Like the time I was pretty much circumstantially cornered into a position that I would have to sing Mi Adir under a chupah or they would have to ask a waiter or photographer to do it – I immediately called Levi and said: Levi, do you have magical powers? Can you teach me the song until I think my singing won’t ruin the marriage? Levi was extremely patient (he really had to be) and encouraging. I guess he also wanted a good laugh :)

It is now our turn to take all the lessons that we learned from Levi, the moments we enjoyed with Levi and do as he would undoubtedly wants us to do and let another Jew another person benefit from it. Levi oh Levi I thank you for the laughs, I thank you for the memories, I thank you for the hospitality that has been mentioned by so many others on this blog, and last but not least, I thank you for the inspiration! I can write all night until it turns light outside, but I’ll leave room on this blog for others to write. Will love you forever! Moshiach Now.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

A Great Guy

By: Dan Altman

My family moved to Northern Virginia about two and a half years ago and really had no connection to the local Jewish community. We visited Chabad Tysons and were immediately welcomed by Rabbi Levi. My first impression was that he was a great guy. He made a special point of meeting with me privately, was welcoming, friendly, and funny. Most importantly, he welcomed us into the community and encouraged us to participate. Each year that I have been associated with the Shul, I have lived more Jewishly...lighting candles and observing shabbas, attending more services, improving my Hebrew, and participating in all of the great family events with my kids. Even when he was not feeling well, Rabbi Levi would be there on many Sundays for Hebrew school and was always in a good mood welcoming everyone. His departure is a terrible loss for all of us; however, the impact of the important work he did will live on. Miriam, the kids, and the rest of the Deitsch family are in our prayers.

With his help we celebrated a beautiful simcha

By: Rabbi Shmuel Klammer

Rabbi Levi made a real difference in the life of my family. Without him, his rebbetzin, and other members of Chabad of Tysons Corner, my nephew would not have had a bar mitzvah. With his help we celebrated a beautiful simcha. We also spent a most meaningful Shabbos with the Deitsch family. The warmth and inspiration at his Shabbos table will be something that we will always remember. Rabbi Levi is a guide for Klal Yisroel; he is a role-model and a leader. We wish his wife, children and the entire community nechumim.
יישר כח, לוי!
By: Anonymous


צווישן די אלע זיסע זכרונות וואס איך האב פון דיר און מיט דיר, בראש ובראשונה קום איך דיר א יישר כח.


  אסאך האבן שוין דערציילט און געשריבן וועגן לוי'ס ברייט הארציקייט און זיינע מעשים פון צדקה און חסד. ווען ער האט נאר געקענט, האט ער געהאלפן א צווייטן מיט א פאר דאלער, אלץ א נדבה אדער אלץ א גמ"ח.

   ס'איז געווען ביום מן הימים און דער מצב ביי אונז אין בית חב"ד איז געווען זייער ענג. דער סוף פון חודש קומט, און אין טשעקינג אקאונט איז ליידיק...

  ס'איז מיר אויסגעקומען ריידן מיט א שליח, גיט ער מיר א זאג: אז דו דארפסט, זאלסט רופען לוי דייטש. ער זאגט זיך קיינמאל ניט אפ אז א שליח בעט אים הילף. ער וועט דיר זיכער העלפן מיט א גמ"ח.

(איך האב געקענט לוי גאנץ פיין און פאר אסאך יאר; מיר זיינען געווען נאנט אין ישיבה און האבן פארבראכט צוזאמען לאנגע שעות. עס האט מיר געווען מער ווי אומבאקוועם צו בעטן הילף ביי לוי, אבער אז מ'דארף און מ'מוז, שעמט מען זיך אפ...)

 איך האב גערופען לוי און מיר האבען געשמוסט גאנץ פיין - פונקט ווי אין די גוטע אלטע טעג. (אלע ווייסן וויפיל לוי האט געהאט אזא חוש אין א געשמאקע רייד מיט א חבר... ס'האט זיך געפילט ווי ס'איז א תועלת ל"נותן ולמקבל"). צום סוף אונזער רייד, האב איך עם געבעטן א גמ"ח.

  לוי האט מיר געזאגט אז זיכער וויל ער מיר העלפן, אבער האבן די געלט, וועט ער ערשט האבן אין א וואך צייט. "קענסטו ווארטן ביז יעמאלט"? האט ער מיר געפרעגט.

 איך האלט נאך אין מיטן טראכטן פונקט ווי אזוי צו ענטפער'ן (איך האב נישט געקענט ווארטן קיין וואך...), גיט לוי א הויכע זאג אין זיין טריידמארק שטימע: "וואס זאג איך ווארטן נאך א וואך!? נעם מיין קרעדיט קארד נאמבער גלייך יעצט, נעם וויפל דו דארפסט, און דו קענסט מיר אפצאלן ווען דו האסט".

 איך דאנק לוי אפ, און מיר האלטן ענדיקען דעם טעלעפאן קאל. פלוצלונג הער איך ווי לוי זאגט מיר אין א שטילע קול: "מענדל, זאלסט וויסן זיין אז עס פאסט דיר נישט...".

  איך קען זיך נאר פארשטעלן ווי איך וואלט נאר געטראכט און געפילט אז איך וואלט געהערט די זעלבע ווערטער פון מאן דהו... אבער פון לוי? איז עס געווען א קאמפלימענט און א שבח! לוי האט די איינדרוק פון מיר אז איך דארף זיין פון די חברה וואס העלפען די חברים און נישט פון די וואס נעמען ביי זיי.

קיין איבעריקע ווערטער פון ביידע אונזער זייט'ן איז ניט געווען נויטיק. איך האב גוט פארשטאנען די מעסעדזש וואס לוי האט מיר געשיקט מיט אזא איידלקייט. אז די מצב אין וועלכע איך האב זיך יעמאלט געפונען האט געשטאמט פון א מדה אשר מיסוד העפר הוא...

לוי'ס טיפע חושים האבען עם גע'יכול'ט נישט נאר צו געבען הילף ביד רחבה, נאר אויך ווי אזוי צו געבען און וואס צו זאגען יעדער איינע עם צו מחזק זיין בשעת מעשה -- יעדער כפי ענינו.

 די געלט האב איך אפגעצאלט בזריזות נפלאה. פארוואס איז דאס געווען וויכטיג? ווייל לוי האט געהאט מער ווי גענוג מענשן וואס האבען עם געדארפט און זיך פארלאזט אויף זיין ברייט הארץ...


לוי, מן הסתם האב איך דיר דערמאנט וועגען די מעשה איינע פון די צייטן וואס מיר האבן געזעסן אין שטוב ביי דיר אין ווירזשיניא, אבער איך האב דיר זיכער נישט אפגעדיינקט ווי עס דארף צו זיין און ווי עס וואלט געפאסט. דער אמת'ע יישר כח וועט זיין נישט בדיבור נאר אין מעשה בפועל.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Big Levi!

By: Velvel Lipsker

To me, Levi Deitsch was always Chezzy’s “BIG Brother”. He was A very Big Guy, with a very Big Voice, A Big Smile and a very, very Big laugh, but most of all Levi had a HUGE heart.
I will just share some memories that I have of Levi, whom I was very fortunate to know, even though he was a few years older than me.

When i would walk down Crown Street, I would always bump into him, because I would go very often to the Giesinskys (my cousins) at 514, and we would meet in the back for a game of “Kickball” Oholei Torah style.

Chessy and I celebrate our birthdays 1 day apart (28-9 Adar) so we celebrated together many times. In 1989, when we were in 3rd grade, Levi came to our class to Farbreng with us (he was about 12 at the time) and tell a story, in his booming voice, to bring Chayus and lebedigkait to us little kids.

I wished I had and older brother like that (I am the oldest boy in my family. Later I realized from Levi what kind of older brother I should be…)

Some time earlier, I have no Idea when, but it must have been before 1987, I have a clear memory of being in Manhattan for some menorah Parade, and a group of boys were on a street corner doing Mivtzoim. It was a cold night, and they needed a ride back to crown heights. My father, who had a station wagon at the time, picked them up and they all piled into the back. One boy spoke up – Levi of course who was the natural leader of the group. I still remember him in the blue coat (the kind with the plush lining in the hood that had a zipper down the middle of the hood, so it could be opend up and held in position with two snaps at the edges. Those of you who grew up in CH in those years know what I’m talking about) Levi would have been not older than 10 at the time but was carrying on a conversation with my father! And giving everyone a good laugh.

I owe my current position in the Yeshivah to Levi –seriously! Let me explain.
In summer of Nun Vov (’96) most of my class had decided that we were going to go together to an out of town Yeshivah. We had put a lot of work into the group, and everything looked great. For the summer, most of the group went to the Yeshivas Kayitz in Italy, where Levi was a counselor. While they were there, Levi farbrenged with them the whole summer, that if they did not like the Yeshiva, then the correct approach was to stay there and make it better, not to run away, and seek “greener pastures” he succeeded in convincing them and they all decided to stay.

(I want to note here that this is something that I always admired all the Deitsch's for, most Bachurim, myself included always believed that in order to develop into a proper Bachur, you need to “Go Away” for a year or two. They always stayed in OT and turned out Just fine… they believed in making your place better, not abandoning your friends etc.)

Well I was at a different camp that summer, so I was not part of this new movement to stay in OT, so I continued with my original plan to go to T. for Yeshiva. As a matter of fact I was a little upset at Levi for “Messing Up” my plans.

That Sukkos, I was farbrneging in “Deitsch's Sukka” at 518 – as I did many times, and I met up with Levi (something I did relatively often) so I asked him straight out “why did you do this” etc. and he asked me a very powerful question (Levi could get quite serious when he needed to…) he said “What’s gonna be with all the guys in your class who are on their way out – or are already out of Yeshiva?! I – typically – answered: ‘well that’s not my problem’, what can I do about it anyway? There a bunch of… etc. Levi told me off! What do you mean “What can you do about it. You have a friend who dropped out? Call him up! Ask him how he’s doing, how his Yidishkait is doing! He’ll say he’s doing OK, but he won’t be OK but next time he’s wants to do something he shouldn’t he’ll stop and think “oh, soon Velvel is gonna call me and ask me how I’m doing, and I’ll want to answer “OK” and I want it to be truthful – and you’ll be keep another Yid close because He’ll know THAT SOMBAODY CARES ABOUT HIM!!!

This was a completely new Idea to me. We stayed and Farbrenged about it for many, many hours. I know that it’s something Levi practiced, and I always saw it By Chessy, to keep in touch with EVERYONE.

Well I have to admit that it took a couple of years until I really began to understand what he was saying, and I kept up my elitist attitude for a while – but it slowly sunk in, and I began to realize that there are other Yidden out there. I think that Levi exemplified this – Ahavas Yisroel, not only to a Yid who is far, but even to your next-door neighor, even to your fellow Lubavitcher…
Today I serve as a Mashpia in Yeshiva in Miami Beach (where I had the pleasure of working with Nosson A”H last year) and I always place a special emphasis on feeling – and showing Ahavah to all my Talmidim, especially those who need the extra attention.

I got Mussar on more than one occasion from Levi, but it was always with Love, from Levi’s big heart, and it was always with a Big, Big laugh…
Levi was the last person we saw in 770 before we went off to the airport as Talmidim Sheluchim to Melbourne, Australia in Cheshvon of 5761.
A few weeks later he was engaged to Miriam Loebenstein. We were all so happy! We would get to attend his Chassunah (most of our group knew him from camp – who didn’t know Levi?!).

I want to share a story from the Shabbos Sheva Brachos (which was in Beth Rivka) Rev Zalman Yuda A”H was farbrenging – it seems that he took a bit of Mashkeh, with his old-time buddies, Rabbi Glick, and a certain SH.P. Z. - who had since had a falling out with Lubavitch etc. but had come to celebrate with them. During the Farbrengen Sh.P.Z. was lamenting the fact about how disorganized thing were in Chabad. “For Example – he said – the famous Library in the Yeshiva in bedford-and-dean, who do you think built it? Me and a few friends!” the Central Lubavitch Yeshiva had to wait for a couple of Shmendriks from “Torah Ve’daas” to come along and build their Library”…

You got it all wrong, said Reb Zalman, the Yeshiva didn’t need you to build their Library, rather you had the Zechus to build the Library at the Yeshiva….

I think that Levi really lived like this, seeing every opportunity, and challenge, as a Zechus to jump on, which of course, he did.

May your beautiful family, Mother, Wife and Children find Comfort – “and only you, who created tears, can wipe them away forever…”

“So bring on the day when there’ll be only Joy…”

ומחה ה' אלוקים דמעה מעל כל פנים
With Love
Velvel Lipsker

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

He inspired people to push themselves

By: Chana R Friedman

On SImchas Torah of 5769, I was working for Rabbi Levi as a Shlucha with another girl.
He was extremely excited that it was Yom Tov, and apparently the entire community was excited as well.

Rabbi Levi gave out L'chaim, led a lot of joyous, exciting dancing, and encouraged the women on the women's side to dance as well.

Near the end of the Hakafos, when most other people had left, there were a handful of people who stayed in the Shul, dancing with the Torah's and saying L'chaim. It was when it was emptying out, that Rabbi Levi asked each person in the Shule to make a Hachlota.

After each person made their hachlota the group of men did another round of dancing, around the Bimmah. One man promised to come to the morning Minyan twice a week. Etc. After each person made their Hachlota, Rabbi Levi got more and more excited and joyous, and encouraged another round of wild dancing.

There was one man who was from out of town, and spoke in broken English. He hardly understood what was being said, but thoroughly enjoyed the dancing.

Rabbi Levi told him in a booming voice, "repeat after me:" "I" , "I", "Will", "will", "only", "only", "marry", "marry", "a Jew", "a Jew" !!!

After he repeated these words he gave a loud bang to the Bimmah, and they all rejoiced.
We learned later on that this man had been dating a non-Jewish woman.

As can be seen from this story, and as I learned first-hand after watching this remarkable Rabbi, he inspired people to push themselves, to reach greater heights in Yiddishkeit and Chassidishkeit.

Additionally, every Friday night, at dinner, surrounded by their many Shabbos guests, Rabbi Levi would ask each guest to share their inspirational thought for that past week. So often the guests shared something special that they learned or experienced with “Rabbi Levi” or Miriam, and their four children, Chaya, Mendel, Mirel and ‘baby’ Zalman. In between the inspirational stories that left us all teary, Rabbi Levi would teach everyone his “favourite niggun”. And even though most people hadn’t heard the niggun before, with Levi’s powerful voice, each guest knew the niggun well by the time the meal was finished.

Something else that deeply touched me about Levi was that he was able to balance Shluchos, and family time so well. I remember many times when he would help his wife Miriam, put his K”H gorgeous children to bed. I remember coming into Mendel’s room one day, and seeing Mendel being read a story by his Tatty. They read the story holding it up to the ceiling so that Mendel could see all the pictures properly.

On a personal level, Levi inspired me to go on Shlichos for life. When I got engaged and introduced him to my Chosson, he was only satisfied once he knew that we were planning to go on Shluchos. And it was because of the life-changing and amazing year that I spent in Tysons Corner, under Levi and Miriam’s guidance that I knew that I could go on Shluchos for life. Rabbi Levi’s care for others, his concern that the people he inspired were constantly moving forward in their levels of Avodas Hashem, and his passion for Shluchos is my inspiration. I am forever grateful.

Thank you, my cousin, Levi.

Open Letter to my son , Geoffrey.

By: Glenn Goldenhorn

The Rabbi, your Rebbe was taken from us. Your world in your few short years has compelled you to reach, from your, inner strength from way down within. You will realize in the years to come that your Rabbi was of the greatest teachers you will ever come to know. The Rabbi's lessons were laser pointed. If there exists a problem than solve it now. The only communication to your fellow man should be inspirational. Don't deal in frivolous nonproductive activity. Don't talk a good game, play one instead. Be understanding, sensitive and aware off all people important to you and all of those who are important to them. Make all men important to you without regard to financial wealth. When you find someone , like a little guy such as you were , in need, than bring the positive forces from yourself, family and community to bear and then install a positive outcome that will last a lifetime and beyond.

Geoffrey you love Chabad, you can thank your Rabbi.

Your Rabbi taught you about love. Now that you have been taught you must live it and teach it as your Rabbi did. Teach the love that your Rabbi had for his family , faith and fellow man. Take the light he gave you and make it brighter for the sake of mankind and your fellow Jews.

Keep life simple. You Rabbi was not a complicated man. Say what you mean and do what you say.

Rabbi Deitsch taught you one very important lesson. He taught you to Love your G-d with all your heart and all your soul. Learn that lesson well Geoffrey and all I have written will be much more clear as time goes on.

I love you son and to you and the Deitsch Family entire , I share your loss.

Love Dad.

That was Levi Deitsch


טו כסלו תשע"א
By: Anonymous

I barely knew Levi Deitsch.

But for the little I knew him I am very thankful.

Over the past years I met him on a few occasions.

He being friendly with some of my uncles and myself friendly with some of his brothers and cousins, led me to some chance encounters with him. We would exchange 'Shalom Aleichem', chat a little and go our separate ways.

Though he was several years my senior, he would always ask me how I was doing and take interest in my goings and doings. One strong image, fresh in my mind, was meeting Levi about a year ago or so, standing outside his mother's house. He inquired if I was married, I said I was married and who I was married to. Hearing that I was married and knowing my wife's family, his face lit up with a huge smile, and he proceeded to tell me at length how happy he was for me. This was at a time when he was in pain, recovering from a difficult treatment.

Levi was a person who was truly happy for other people, and people felt that genuine care. Every chance encounter with Levi would leave a lasting impression.

It was about six months ago when my life changed; I was rushed to the hospital and was informed that I had some form of cancer, and was hospitalized for close to two weeks.

During the time we were waiting for my precise diagnosis, while the fear of the unknown was very strong, Levi was already busy helping me. He had heard of my predicament and immediately contacted my relatives to ensure that everything was being taken care of accordingly, and suggesting on how I would receive the best care.

Later, Levi heard that an uncle of mine had skipped work to spend time with me at the hospital, and help me in any way he can. Levi excitedly spoke of how much he respected my uncle, whom he had known in his youth.

Though this isn't the place for me to take pride in my uncle, I nevertheless feel that it is important for me to tell this, I think Levi was trying to tell people what true dedication means and how much he respected it.

Warm 'regards' kept flowing from Levi throughout that time. Another relative of mine told me that he visited Levi and was surprised to learn that Levi was even more aware than he was about of the details of my situation; Levi was really concerned about my wellbeing.

Eventually, I was informed that I had been diagnosed with one of the milder forms of the sickness, one that was very curable. Though I would need to undergo months of intense chemotherapy treatment, the success rate was nearly one hundred percent.

Levi's cousin visited me shortly thereafter and told me how exited Levi was for me, how I had literally made his day. Truth be told, he had made mine.

I left the hospital and returned home. Not much time passed before I received a phone call from Levi. Of all the phone calls I received during that trying time and throughout my life, this call effected me most. I want to share with you some things he had told me.

He welcomed me to the club, he told me how lucky I was, how G-d willing it would shortly be over.

He explained that I would temporarily have to get used to a different lifestyle, I should continue living normally, just at a slower pace.

He gave me various practical suggestions regarding the medications I was using and how to deal with the side effects. (Unfortunately Levi knew all too well about the many types of medications that are out there.)

He told me that I should keep strong and always look ahead.

He gave me his personal number and told me that I could call him whenever I wanted. He even offered to give me his wife's number, should my wife need comfort and support.

The most important thing he told me, something I do and always think back to, was that I would be the one creating the mood around me. If I was going to be down, everyone else around me would be in bad spirits as well. If, however, I was going to be upbeat and positive, then everyone else would be upbeat and positive too.

That was Levi Deitsch.

Our phone call lasted nearly two hours. I could hear the excitement and optimism in his voice. He knew that all will be well, and he was giving me the vital tools with which to get there. Most importantly, he cared to let me know.

Later, Levi's brother-in-law told me that at the time he had been driving Levi to a treatment. They were late to the appointment, but Levi insisted on pulling over and finishing our conversation, telling him that this phone call was very important and nothing will stop him.

He was genuinely selfless.

At a later point, once I had somewhat settled down into my routine, I wanted to meet Levi personally and thank him for everything. When I heard that he had been to Shul, I was upset because I was stuck at home, due to treatment. When I was able to start going to Shul on Shabbos, I hoped each week to meet him, but I unfortunately never did.

When I heard he would be spending the last days of Sukkos at his mother's house on Crown Street, I hoped I would finally get to see him, but unfortunately, due to his condition he wasn't able to make it.

Weeks later, I heard the awful news.

I keep thinking, over and over how Levi in his terrible situation, facing a most bleak and frightening forecast took the time to look out for me and countless others, making sure that everything I needed was taken care of for me and that I was doing OK.

It is my hope that his family can find comfort in the fact that he helped me, amongst many others, in such a special way during such trying times.

The only way I can return the favor to Levi is by emulating these special traits, these exceptional characteristics that define a true Chossid. It is my hope that I will be able to repeat his message of faith and optimism to those who need it.

I am sure that just as Levi cared for me while he was with us in this world, he continues to look out for me as he surely does for his wife, children and family and countless others.

תהא נשמתו צרורה בצרור החיים

The magnificent human being that he was

By: Dr Schwartz

Rabbi Levi was the first Chabbad rabbi I ever met. Being God fearing and believing but not observant and rather ignorant of many facts about prayers, Hebrew, and customs, I was guarded and respectful but curious. I learned to deeply respect and love Rabbi Levi for the magnificent human being that he was, twinkling eyes, a wealth of optimism, a pious and dedicated man of God and one who made me have an appreciation for one of God's chosen servants. My heart is heavy with sadness on his passing. My memory of the face behind the beard and all he kindly shared with me and my mother will be branded in my heart and mind forever. May God protect you and your beautiful family from further pain. Your father said it so much better than I. This was a real mensch, a beautiful person who will need no introduction to God in heaven. Rest in peace dear Rabbi Levi.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Still Wordless

By: Chuck Stern

Levi was a jewel. He was beautiful and precious, but also had many facets. Even more so, though, he allowed us to see the facet that we needed. He talked to each of us on our own level, gave us what we needed - and he never for asked anything on his own behalf.

I didn't see him often enough when he was sick. My timing was always terrible. He was tired or asleep, or sick from treatments. I didn't have much to say, not really, because my own troubles seemed trivial; but he always asked how I was, how my learning was going, how my job was, how my kids were doing.

I consider myself one of his non-successes. He always saw much greater potential in me than I was able to realize. He always saw that I had it in me to be a better Jew, a better person, than I have achieved. And so with hopes that I can do that one more mitzvah, spend that extra time learning, spend that time Davening, I wipe away my tears and say Bimhayroh v'yameinu.

My Dear Friend Levi

By: Chaim Leib Hildeshaim

It’s very hard for me to write about my dear longtime chaver, Levi. I don’t know where to begin so I would like to focus on our friendship, as this will be a reminder to myself as well as to others, on the importance of staying close.

Levi and I practically grew up together: our birthdays were celebrated just a week apart, we were classmates throughout the entire school years, staring from preschool, we spent many summers together - thousands of hours of friendship and conversations.

Levi loved reminiscing about different childhood memories, among them special moments and encounters in 770...

There’s another memory that springs to mind, of one of the so many people that felt so close to you, Levi!

After the levya was over, most of the chaverim just stood there crying and simply couldn’t leave...

I noticed Amy, the guy from your mivtzoyim route standing and crying with everyone else, and it brought back vivid memories. Although we didn't regularly go on mivtzoyim together, you used to schlep me along to farbreing with Amy in his Manhattan apartment a number of times. It’s hard to believe that you were doing this at such a young age! We were farbreinging with someone so much older than us. You really taught me what it means to farbreing with someone, the good feeling that is gained from doing so, by becoming much closer with the other person, and greatly enhancing the relationship. Later, on the way back home to Crown Heights - either on the train or when we took a taxi - you spoke of the geshmak that we had just experienced and how you wish we can do this much more often. This was just the beginning of Levi acting as a shliach!

This was something that you enjoyed so much and what you told me many times that it was the most enjoyable part of being on shlichus: farbreinging and becoming friends with new people, and through that being mekarev them, and how that is the best job in the world!

A true chaver - who made sure we always stayed close

1 - When my younger brothers were born, you came to the Shalom Zochors, although it required special effort. You had to arrange for an older bochur friend (which you had no shortage of!) to walk you over, since your father had a weekly shiur at your house. It meant so much to me that you were celebrating with us.

2 - As a bochur, Levi was on shlichus in Migdal Haemek, and I was on shlichus in Kfar Chabad. Shortly after we arrived, and we were separated from each other for so long, not seeing each other on a regular basis (as we did since we were in Oholei Torah preschool in east Flatbush by Reb Michel’s shul), Levi started calling me regularly, and nudging me: “Nu, when are you coming to Migdal for Shabbos?” Sure enough, I soon went to Migdal for Shabbos, and Levi welcomed me like only Levi knew how. He gave me a grand tour of the yeshiva and the city, and he introduced me to all his new friends – which was the whole yeshiva!

I will never forget the Friday night Shabbos meal with the whole yeshiva, where Levi rocked the house like only Levi could do, with tremendous chayus and niggunim, including “The niggun” that he would sing very Friday night. He got everyone involved in singing it, to the point that the bochurim called it Levi's Niggun! In fact, this past Friday, I was listing to a CD of niggunim that his late father, Reb Zalmen A"H had put together. One of the songs he calls “Levi’s Niggun”, and mentions that this is an old niggun that the bochurim from Migdal Haemek would sing when they came over to the Deitsch family during Tishrei. (The generous hospitality in the Deitsch household is legendary, and so many can attest to that-it’s truly admirable!). Indeed, this was the niggun that Levi would always sing and get everyone to sing along with him!
On Shabbos day, he took me to eat at the home of Rabbi Hendel, the esteemed Rov of the community, with whom Levi had already established a very friendly relationship. On Motzoei Shabbos we both went out together, and Levi walked me to the bus station. Before I even left the city, Levi was already asking and demanding that I come back to visit again soon.

3 - At my engagement L'chaim and at my kiddush in 770 before my chasunah, Levi was there to bring happiness and joy on my special day. He made sure to say lots of L’chaim and really helped bring a tremendous chayus into the farbreingen that lasted for many hours.
Before my chasunah, which was held out of town, Levi insisted that he should be the one to take me to the airport. My other siblings assured him: “Don’t worry, we are going to do it. We B”H have a big family, someone will be available to take him.” He said: “don’t even think of letting someone else take you - I am going to do it!” and so it was.

4 - Shortly after Levi moved on shlichus to Virginia, he started calling and nudging: “Nu, when are you coming to visit with the family? We have to get together, you have to see my place!” After a number of such calls I made the eleven hour drive from Toronto to Virginia to spend two quality days together. We went out together to Washington DC, we visited the neighboring Chabad Houses, and we spent hours just farbreinging together.

Whenever Levi was in Toronto, where two of his siblings are shluchim, even if he was there for a short time - coming in and out for a family simchah - he always made it a point on his schedule that we should get together.

5 - Levi made sure to always stay in touch. He never missed to call me on my birthday, even when he was r”l sick, he still called and gave all of his brochas. Last year, he called a day late and he started apologizing for being a day late. I told him that he didn’t have to call altogether, and how delighted I am that he is calling me at all, he certainly didn't have to apologize! He just brushed it off by saying: “a gutte chaver darf men rufen” ["a good friend you have to call"].

6 - After Levi sadly become ill, I would call him very often. At one point he told me that I should from now on call him or text him on his cell phone, since that is the best way to get hold of him. If he was unable to talk at the moment, he would call me back as soon as he had a chance. After he sadly was not able to see properly, and it was hard for him to call, he would send me a text by just typing a few letters, telling me that that was the sign that I should call him now, that he wants to talk. I have saved on my cell phone many texts that that read like this: axedsssll….. and it will be an everlasting reminder how much he loved to farbreing together and how important it is to call a chaver.

A big Maamin - who gave much chizuk

As mentioned above, after Levi sadly become ill, we spoke very often. I never asked him about his illness. Whatever he said, he said, I didn't ask more.

About two and a half years ago, his brother Nechemia, may he live and be well, made a bris and Levi came in for the bris to be the sandek. We arranged it that if he would come in (he didn’t know until the last second if would be able to come at all), I would pick him up from the airport and we would spend the day together.

After we hugged each other, as soon as we got into the car, Levi started to talk: "let me tell you everything from the beginning. After Tishrei I was in pain. I thought it was because of working hard on Tishrei, shlepping the sukkah etc. When the pains didn’t go away, I went to check myself out by the doctor. I was told I have a few months left to live… But the doctors have no right to say that, I am fine, I feel fine! It will be fine……”

And with the chayus and strength like only Levi had, with his loud laughs, went on and on being his regular self.

I tried (a bit unsuccessfully) holding back my tears and missed the exit on the highway. Meanwhile, the entire time Levi was talking and telling me everything he is going thru and how it will all be fine.

He said that no one else in his community knows about it, how he managed to hide it form everyone, and he is continuing with his shlichus like nothing is going on so all the activities with all the people involved wont be affected at all!!!!! Again and again, he told me how it will all be fine. I was sitting and listening, and instead of giving chizuk I was getting such chizuk from Levi himself. This happened almost every time we spoke - he was giving chizuk and lebedikeit, uplifting all of us. This is something that I heard from many people that went to visit Levi and from those that called him; he was the one always giving chiuzuk! We then went out together and had a good time together, by just farbreinging together, which was Levi’s favorite thing to do.

Levi was always thankful

Just to share a few small examples:
1 - when Levi was in NY to undergo some treatment, two close classmates and myself came by to visit him on Sunday night. The plan was to go in for a short visit, since I had already visited over Shabbos, and I had to drive back to Toronto, and most importantly he had a doctor appointment on Monday morning. But Levi just didn’t let us go… he said a few more minutes…another story , and another story.... until it was light outside! He then sent me an email thanking me for the “all- nighter” and how much he appreciated it, and how much it meant for him. After that incident, we started learning a sichah on the phone together with a few classmates, something that was done on and off before levi become ill as well.

2 - Shortly after I moved on shlichus to Toronto, I did an unveiling for a person whose son ‘happened’ to live near Tyson’s Corner. I told him that I have a very close friend that lives not too far, and that they should get together. He gave me all of his contact info and I forwarded it on to Levi. B”H they connected very well. The son became involved in the Chabad activities there, he put his kids in Levi's Hebrew School, and become a supporter of Chabad of Tyson’s Corner! On one of my trips to Tyson’s Corner, Levi wanted to go out to the same coffee shop where he first met this person. He wanted to tell me where they sat, to tell me everything they talked about when they just met, and how the family got connected with their Chabad House. He was so thankful for that connection that I made for him, just a simple gesture on my part, yet he kept on thanking me, and mentioned this a number of times when we spoke over the next few years.

3 - After Levi was, lo aleinu, sitting shivah for his father, I travelled to be menchaem avel him. He later made a special call to thank me for coming in and how much it meant to him. He would tell me all the time about all the guests he had that came to visit him, and all the people that would call him, and how much it meant to him. He would often tell me: “please tell everyone that if they come, they should not come for two hours and leave. If they come, they should come for a full day!”
4 - Once, after a farbrengen for my birthday (after Levi was not well) and after I had a few L’chaims, I called Levi's cellphone. It was around 3 AM, and I left this long message with some brochas. I don’t remember exactly what I said, but he called me the next day thanking me, saying how happy it made him feel and how he saved the message to listen to again and again, and how he wished that I did it more often.

Levis big heart

Levi was a very giving person from a very young age. There are many examples, but just to share a few:
1 - As a child, he would bring lots of cake to school to share with us. He would say that he has to know how it tastes, as his mother - may she live and be well - needs to get some feedback, as she was in the midst of working on the Lubavitch ‘Spice & Spirit’ cookbook, and needs to know if she should include that particular recipe.

2 - Levi shared with me on a number of occasions that he had helped out various shluchim financially, simply loaning large amounts of money. Some were our classmates, others were older shluchim, who despite the great age difference were Levi’s friends. At times, I would ask him about his connection to that particular shlaich that he just gave such a big loan to. Levi would always say: “if the Rebbe’s shliach needs help, and I can help, I will do whatever I can.” And he did!

3 - A number of our classmates and friends are on shlichus or have jobs, thanks for Levi putting in a good word for them. Whether it was through making the phone calls on their behalf, having other chaverim call, and making follow-up calls once they were at their new job; Levi was a truly devoted and caring friend!
Also, there are many people that are married today, thanks for Levi’s input in making their shidduch (directly or indirectly). Levi started this even when he was still a young bochur, caring about others and their futures, assisting his mother in this important work.

Being happy in others’ success

Levi was very proud of the hatzlacha of his siblings and friends on shlichus. Levi would describe with tremendous nachas and joy about their Chabad Houses, their breitkiet, the stories that happened to them etc.
A few times Levi told me over and over again about our classmate’s new Chabad House; how I must go and check it out – “it’s worth the drive in from Toronto!” He would describe how it looks – “it’s an old mansion , it has big windows, its impressive doors, it’s just beautiful ...I can’t describe it. ( although he did a great job in doing so) You must go check it out!”
He listened to a CD from a dinner that was produced by another chaver on shlichus. He said how they talk so highly about our chaver:  "It’s unbelievable, you must get it and listen to it!"
The same nachas was heard in his voice when he was describing so many of our friends and their success in business. He did it with such sincere happiness, as he would go on and on in describing their successes.

Dear Levi, thanks for your friendship!!!!!!

No one will ever be able to take your place as a true friend, the one who always put a smile on my face. There is no one else that I spent so much time talking on the phone with, on such a regular basis. No one was ever as concerned about every detail of my personal and shlichus life as you were!

Levi, I had to stop typing so many times because I can’t stop crying ……your loss is so great!
Levi, you taught me a big lesson in life. Pick up the phone and call a chaver, a long-lost classmate. Keep in touch. You showed me how much it meant to you, and how much it means to everyone - to have the feeling that someone is thinking of them!

Dear Levi, I never told you this, but thanks to your living example, I had started calling more chaverim over these last few years, to wish them happy birthday, or just to stay hello. I hope that this trend will only catch on to more and more people.

Surely, in the zechus of your incredible Ahavas Yisrael that is now serving as an example and inspiration to so many people, it will bring all the necessary brochas to all your loved ones-to your dear wife Miriam , a true Aishes Chayil, to your teiere kinderlach, to your mother and to all your siblings; and may we be zoicheh very soon to be all together and farbreing by the ultimate farbreingen that we’re all yearning to attend - with the Rebbe in Yerushalayim - may it be NOW!!!

Below are a selection of pictures from our years together:

This warmth was very obvious by Levi

By: Bentche Korf

I was fortunate to spend many years in Yeshiva and camp together with Levi and I can attest to the extraordinary "chayis" and warmth that he had for everybody.

This trait he inherited from his wonderful family. Having been a classmate of his older brother yebodel lechayim tuvim Nechemia. We spent many times farbrenging in the house and it was always obvious that this was an unusually warm and open house. This warmth was very obvious by Levi.

He will be very much missed by everyone.

We should be Zoiche to Vehukitzu Vranenu Shuchnei Afar. Levi and his father and brother Nosson will be there speedily in our days.

Take Action

By: Jeremy Yonteff

The first time I had a meeting with Rabbi Levi and expressed my desire to live a religious life unlike the liberal upbringing I had in my family, I spent about ten or fifteen minutes expressing my unwavering faith and desire to learn the things i needed to know...

At the end of my monologue he told me a joke that i have since repeated countless times...

"Do you know why we are supposed to be buried 6 feet down before we go to Hashem? Because "Deep Down" we are all good Jews"

He then explained that Hashem wants more than for us to believe and to study, that primarily Hashem wants us to take action, to fulfill his commandments...

He couldn't have known how important this advice would continue to be even until today. My wife would be the first to tell you that I can take intellectualism to a dysfunctional level. Whether i am contemplating Torah or politics she often catches me lost in my head making hand gestures to an invisible alter ego in a heated debate... Often by the time i arrive at the proper conclusion the moment of oportunity has passed... I am often guilty of offering Sage advice that I fail to put into action In my own life...

I recently heard that the Rebbe described this generation as a burning building, that we should not pause to think or look for someone stronger than ourselves but save as many people as we can... Rabbi Levi was one who never hesitated to run into the fire and saved countless people including myself.

Today thanks to Levi i live i life i could not have imagined before i met him those years ago on a sidewalk in Tyson's Corner. Anytime I find myself contemplating the dynamics of a situation and failing to act, it is Levi's advice that pushes me forward to run into that burning building.

A tzaddik is lost to us

By: Jim Myska

My everday life bears Levi's imprint. I think of him many times a day just by how I live my life, following various rulings and bits of advice he's given me. Losing him has been very hard and I have felt a little lost and dazed and very sad since I got the news that motzei shabbos.

Levi brought peace in difficult situations, brought balance and strength and perspective, and possibly helped to save my marriage. All with warmth and love. I remember one particularly potentially sticky family situation that he helped to resolve, and how he told me (paraphrashing) "Saying no is easy. Any rabbi can say no. A good rabbi will try and find a way to say yes." And this allowed me to avoid a possible family rupture and keep peace.

To say Levi did good in the world is like saying the sun brings a little light and warmth - a gross understatement. A gaping hole was torn in the fabric of Creation when we lost Levi. A tzaddik whom we needed very much is gone.

I can think of only one thing that can heal this hole in the world - us. I think Levi would like it very much if each of us transformed ourselves in some way, became better people, increased good in the world in response to this. So this is my memorial to Levi - to have complete trust in Hashem that, painful as this is, this fits in with His plans perfectly; and to take my pain, my grief, and my regrets and use them to propel myself into being a better person - to learning more, to treating people better, to doing good in the world. I will try to be the person Levi would want me to be.

And one more thing - I pray for Miriam, his children, his mother, and the rest of his family, that Hashem bring them a measure of healing and peace.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Loss of a Legend

By: Levi Margolin

I’ve known Rabbi Levi Deitsch for over 15 years, first as merely co-summer camp mates but later as a colleague and friend. I always knew Levi as a cheerful, friendly and exciting fellow. Always with a smile, kind word or both, Levi was the ultimate people’s person.

In 2002, Levi moved to my home state of Virginia to start up a Chabad House in the Tysons Corner area. I was honored that Levi was moving to my state. After the move, I spoke with Levi from time-to-time about many different subjects from Chabad House happenings to how to run a certain event and even just random small talk. Living in Virginia then, I was anxious to make my way north to visit. I saw him there several times, and even spent the night with he and his wife as my hosts.

Levi and Miriam's legendary hospitality was nothing short that night. My friend, who was not observant, and I felt more than welcome and as comfortable as at home. Not to mention that it was three days before Chanukah and it’s not like they had nothing else to do.

Levi was busy arranging Chanukah events, distribution of Menorahs for Jewish locals and he was supervising the operation of his spectacular Chanukah Wonderland. With all this going on, Levi took his time for us. He hosted us. He fed us. He entertained us. Levi took us to Chanukah Wonderland and showed us around. Levi didn't just say hello to everyone he saw, but made certain to also introduce everyone to me - his eight-years-his-junior friend, and my friend, whom he had never even met. Levi Deitsch always put others first. That’s what made him “Levi Deitsch!”

That was 2005. In 2006, Levi lost his father, Zalman, a young man whose passing was sudden and tragic. I was out of the country and tried fruitlessly to reach Levi to offer condolences. The connection was never made.

A week later, unimaginably, Levi’s uncle (Zalman’s brother) Yaisef passed. Now back in the country, I paid a Shiva call. I saw Levi there, offered some comforting words and inquired as to how he was doing. His response blew me away.

I still remember until today where I was and what he said to me that night. “We don’t ask questions. G-d has a plan. We must accept it.” Levi’s father had passed a week ago. Now he was mourning the death of his uncle, yet, such faith? How could a man be so devoted?

But that exactly who Levi was! He was a devoted man. Devoted to G-d. Devoted to his Rebbe. Devoted to his wife Miriam and four beautiful children, Chaya, Mirel, Mendel and Zalman. Devoted to his Chabad House and Tysons Corner Jewish Community. Devoted to making this world a better place!

In 2007, Levi was diagnosed with cancer. What a blow to his young family and growing community. But Levi did not allow this to deter him. The doctors gave him a couple months at best, but Levi vowed to fight!

And fight he did!

In the Parsha this week, Parshat VaYishlach, Yaakov (Jacob) prepares to meet his brother. Yaakov and Esav are not getting along and Jacob practices three methods of protection to look after himself and his family. First he tries to reconcile then he prepares for battle. After all is set and ready to go, Yaakov turns to G-d and prays.

Levi did the same. Levi listened to his team of doctors and made certain to understand what he was up against. Then he prepared to stare his illness in the eye and chase it out. Levi’s prayers and the prayers of others pushed the disease back and allowed Levi to continue his fight forward.

Levi was strong and committed. And his faith in G-d and Torah allowed him to survive for several years longer than the doctors predicted. Levi’s stubborn conviction gave him the will to keep going. Levi’s humor, intellect and vigor never let up even though he was becoming weaker and sicker.

Levi did not allow it!

In May of this year, an unthinkable tragedy hit Levi’s family when their youngest, Nosson, was killed in a boating accident. Levi was frail and ill, yet made the trip to New York for the funeral and Shiva. I went to visit the family at their home. Amongst many visitors, I shuffled in quietly not knowing what to do or say. Its moments like these that we are thankful for lack of practice.

The mood was somber and the home mostly quiet, except from one corner of the room came a laugh. I peered to see who it was and noticed Levi. I approached only to find him “comforting” the comforters. What a moment that was to see, Levi, as sick as he was, did not want others to feel uncomfortable around him because of the situation. He immediately broke the ice. Inspiring.

In Levi’s merit, in the last couple of months, vigorous prayer campaigns set out to beseech the Almighty to grant Levi a speedy recovery and the mercy he needed. School children, business people, family, friends and complete strangers came together to pray for Rabbi Levi Deitsch.

Yet, on Shabbat, Parshat VaYeitzei, Levi was taken from this world and returned to his creator. So young . So energetic. So full of life. Now gone.

For me it was hard to imagine and comprehend. It didn’t make sense for someone so full of life to be taken from it so young.

In moments like these I tend to turn to the book, Hayom Yom, a compilation of small Chassidic thoughts for each day. The thought for the day of Levi’s passing struck me.

The Rebbe explains there that “the reciting of sh'ma before retiring at night is, in miniature form, like the Confessional prayers before death”. The difference of course is that then, one checks out spiritually and physically. The actions of day to day life are finished. However, with the Shema, when the soul is returned, it is indication that the daily routine still needs to be carried out. Accomplishment and achievement still await you.”

Levi’s soul has returned to its creator and he has physically left this world. Levi’s work down below has been accomplished and it was his time to move on. While we cannot even begin to understand it, we try our best to accept that G-d has a grand plan, like Levi so fervently believed!

While Levi’s physical work here is done, his mission and agenda will continue. Levi will continue to live on in those who knew him and loved him.

Levi cannot be forgotten, he won’t allow it.

Levi, you were a dear friend and I will miss you greatly! I yearn for the coming of Moshiach when I will be able to see your cheerful smile and hear your joyous laugh once again. May the Ribono Shel Olam grant comfort upon your family and look over those who you left behind.

Levi, the world is darker without you, but is brightened by the light created from having you.

Even if it was for just 34 short years.

A real mensch, a sweet guy, a great teacher of Yiddishkeit

By: Glenn & Marie Taubman

Along with his wonderful wife Miriam, Rabbi Levi taught both of our kids at the Hebrew High School/Midrasha at Chabad of Fairfax, VA. He was a stimulating and patient teacher, who excited the kids (and their parents) to love their Judaism. But more than that: he was a friend to everyone, with a smile and a laugh that never quit. He was a sweet and gentle guy, a real mensch in every sense of the word, who helped everyone he met. He is responsible for many people reaching new heights of learning and Yiddishkeit, and for that his memory will definitely stand for a blessing. Zichrono l'vracha. We wish strength to Miriam and his entire family, and we send our deepest condolences. HaMakon y'nachem, from the entire Taubman Family.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

I never met Levi, but...

By: Devin Kees

Although I never met Levi OBM in person, trying to go through a conversion to Judaism I looked for things to connect with. Each Shabbos Devorah would say a Mi Sheberakh for Levi Yitzchok ben Tzirel and the name grew in my memory to the point where when she wasn’t present to say it for him I would. Each holiday, amidah, any opportunity to bring a speedy recovery for Levi I took. Then it hit me, I was actually doing more mitzvahs and perpetuating my process into converting just through the motivation Levi had on me. I figured the more good and positive things I did the healthier his Neshema would become and hopefully his body as well. I would not be as far in this process today had it not been for such a positive wonderful impact from a wonderful shaliach I never met.

Be Brave

By: Cindy Cohen, France

When I lived in France every Friday I Used to do Chabbat, but when I moved to McLean, Virginia to work as an au pair it was hard to keep Chabbat while living with my host family.
So I checked on the Internet to find the synagogue nearest me and it was Chabad of Tysons Corner. Chana Raizel introduced me to the Deitsch's Family. I have a lot of memories of Chabbat with them, especially the first time I met the Rabbi...

I'm shocked and have nothing to say. Miriam and his family be brave....

Friday, November 19, 2010

Rabbi Levi Deitsch - A Joyous Man, A Joyous Rabbi, A Joyous Husband & Father

I am too emotional to write a long missive about Levi. Rabbi Levi Deitsch - A Joyous Man, A Joyous Rabbi, A Joyous Husband & Father! Not that he couldn't be serious -- and we did have some extremely serious talks but he brought light even to most serous of subjects -- including his own health challenges. I find it hard to believe that I will not see him on the earth again. I will miss the JOY he brought to everything. --

With JOYOUS remembrance,
Len Levine, Chabad of Tysons, VA

P.S. I will someday write a long missive about the serious side of Levi.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Have A Good Life!

By: "Michael 'Mikey' Medina" 

Sometimes shocking, Rabbi Levi was not your conventional rabbi.  He and I met about a year after he and Miriam moved to the Tysons Corner area in Virginia.  I remember the first time I heard him speak, he was making a joke... this was the beginning of many chuckles, laughs, giggles and outright cracking-up laughing that he and I would share over the next 7-8 years.  Yes, he was a rabbi and a spiritual person - arguably a scholar too.  However, he was also fun-loving and life-loving.

I remember when he and Miriam would invite me over to his house for Shabbat dinner and staying there overnight, because I lived too far to walk home.  Dinner would end and instead of going to sleep right away, we would stay up late and talk.  He was the kind of person who loved being "in the know" and even though he had limited secular studies, he liked asking me about politics and inquiring about my work; like I said, not your typical rabbi.  We could speak of halacha one minute and then revert to what's happening in the stock market the next.

One Yom Tov I spent at their house, I remember Miriam wanted to play a board game (I think it was Scrabble).  Since there was some doubt (about whether or not this particular board game was allowed to be played on Yom Tov), Rabbi Levi rushed to find the Shulchan Aruch, since he knew Miriam lit up at the prospect of playing.  It was like he had the perfect balance of what was the "proper thing to do" and the thing that would please everyone around him at the same time.  I believe he demonstrated this trait with everyone in his community perfectly.   Whether it was a lay person wanting to learn, possibly, the most basic of Jewish concepts to someone who might test his knowledge about a particular subject – he gave both the same needed attention and respect.  This was his true self – Ahavat Yisrael – a love for everyone!

After a few years, I decided to move closer to this recently developed Chabad community and with his advice I bought a home within walking distance to the Chabad Tysons shul – which at the time was an extension of his own home (in every sense).  With being in such proximity to the shul and Rabbi Levi's house, we naturally became closer friends.  It got to a point where we would see or speak to each other almost every day.

At this point in our relationship, to me he was more than my rabbi and my good friend, I considered him to be my best friend and more so, my brother.  When I was lucky enough to meet my wife and then propose to her, I naturally asked Rabbi Levi to marry us (it was kind of assumed).  When we both went to tell him the news, he was overjoyed and he began to exclaim to Sasha and I: "Have a damn good life!"  He said this to us with such exuberance, that he brought a sense of pride and hope to our faces.  He then began to repeat himself in a softer, but unyielding tone: "Guys, have a damn good life!"

When it came time to marry us, he proudly told me "I'm going to wear my Kapota at your wedding."  At the time, I didn't realize the significance of wearing this traditional long black coat worn by so many Lubavitchers, mostly on Shabbat and Yom Toving.  However, after some research of my own, I came to learn that the Kapota was only traditionally worn (outside of the synagogue for Jewish holidays and Shabbat) for special events relating to those next of kin family members.  Yet, he chose to honor me at my wedding and show me how much he cared.  This again, was his way of breaking the norm and honoring someone else.  He performed so many special acts of kindness like this to so many.

Only a few months after my wedding, Rabbi Levi began to experience some signs and symptoms of this terrible, ruthless disease that eventually tore him away from us.  I remember when he first told me of the possibility it was cancer and without going into too much detail he said that he didn't care what the doctors had to say.  This was who he was; someone who never gave up and someone who ALWAYS saw things in a positive light.  Even when I would go visit, now with an unfortunate yet different demeanor, he would find ways to cheer me up.  I remember so many times leaving his house or dropping him off back home after an outing, thinking: "but I was the one who was supposed to cheer him up!"  Almost to the point that I forgot that he was sick – he was so special.

Upon my last visit with him, he laid on his hospital bed, extremely weak and probably overwhelmed with pain, but never admitted to it.  I gently went close to him and to my utter surprise, his uniquely selfless soul began to ask me how my grandmother was doing.  I had not told him that my grandmother was also in the hospital, but somehow he knew and found it necessary to ask me.  Those were his final words to me.

I wish I could have told him that I was indeed living a "damn good life" – in most part because I was privileged to have met him.  Achi! I will miss you.

The Beis Medrash


With the approval and blessings of the Deitsch Family, The Beis Medrash, a brand new organization, will be dedicated to the loving memory of a beloved husband, father, shliach and friend - Rabbi Levi Yitzchok ben Zalman Yuda Deitsch ob”m.

The Beis Medrash Mission Statement

The Beis Medrash, located in the Crown Condos, provides a warm and welcoming environment with a comprehensive learning program which caters to Anash of all backgrounds. After a day’s work, nourish your soul, by participating in any of our options. Choose from our nightly classes on topics ranging from basic Hebrew reading skills to advanced Gemara. Or pair up with a chavrusa and learn at your own pace. Join our Chassidishe Farbrengens and bring it all to life!

Let The Beis Medrash experience inspire and empower you to live a rich and invigorated Torah life.

The Beis Medrash is under the able direction of Rabbi Motty Lipskier, a young scholar who has earned his reputation as a clear, intuitive and dynamic teacher.

Our Sponsors

The launching of this project has been made possible through a generous donation by Mr. David Slager.

Our bountiful refreshments corner is brought to you by Mr. Shaya Gordon of Mr. Greens.

To be a part of this special project please send your donation to TheBeisMedrash@gmail.com via PayPal by clicking here: https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=TXJLJY49TNUWG, or mail it to the address below. To dedicate a shiur or for other sponsorship opportunities please contact us. All donations are tax deductable.


The Beis Medrash 347-984-4324
Rabbi Motty Lipskier 347-413-4013
Email TheBeisMedrash@gmail.com
580 Crown Street, Brooklyn, NY 11213

A Complete Personality

By: Elisha Greenbaum

My cousin's husband, Rabbi Levi Deitsch, Shliach to Tysons Corner, Virginia, tragically passed away on Shabbos after a 3 year battle with cancer. He was only 34 years old and he left 4 beautiful children, a grieving family and community and thousands of friends and admirers.

He also left a legacy of faith and courage. He had an indomitable will to continue living in the face of tragedy and an incredible ability to respond with humour to illness and suffering.

Though we were casual acquaintances for a few years before he married my cousin and I managed to spend some time with him occasionally in the ensuing years, only now, after he’s been taken from us, do I realise that I never really knew him.

I thought I knew him; I thought I had him placed. A big, blustery guy with a loud voice and forceful character, he was known for his cheerful disposition and ability to make friends. The life of every party and the centre of every conversation, he attracted people into his vortex just by force of personality.

But in the days since he passed away I’ve been exposed to a much more complex persona than the superficial picture I had formed of the man. From my sister who spent many months living in the Deitch house and from various tributes and memories that have been posted online I have learned to appreciate Levi as a person, a father, a chassid and a true leader.

I learned about a man who could demonstrate such kindness and sensitivity that he became almost a second mother to a newly bereaved child in his community. He spent untold hours counseling those in need and consoling those in pain. I heard about vulnerable people who he befriended and acts of pure compassion that he displayed so often, to so many. He was a man who could reawaken his extended family’s faith at a time of tragedy and, by sheer willpower, he would keep on keeping on in the face of appalling pain and medical setbacks.

Which was the real Levi, the boisterous practical joker with the booming laugh or the sensitive man of faith who consistently put other people’s needs before his own and skillfully concealed his own sickness and losses in his effort to protect others?

We read this week about the long-awaited confrontation between Ya’akov and Esav. For twenty-two years Esav had nurtured his grudge over the usurpation of their father’s blessings and had planned his murderous revenge.

In preparation for the meeting Ya’akov sends Esav a message. Rather than apologising for the past, he describes to his older brother the wealth he had accumulated in the years since they had last met: I have oxen …. and flocks…. (Vayishlach 30:6).

Apart from the obvious question why Ya’akov would choose to resume his relationship with this topic, the Lubavitcher Rebbe queried why Ya’akov first described the cattle he owned and only subsequently mentioned his sheep, when in actuality he had many more sheep than cattle (see VaYeitzei 30:43).

In a fascinating insight into various personality types, the Rebbe (Likutei Sichos 15:252-258) posited that sheep and oxen actually represent various temperaments and dispositions.

Oxen are loud and boisterous, strong bodied and determined. They are valued for their willingness to work and are endlessly productive. Sheep, by contrast, are more docile and accommodating. They are naturally submissive and humble in spirit. They mill together in large family groups of mutual support and bleat in sympathy at the sorrow of others.

A well rounded personality needs to demonstrate both character traits at alternative times. Rather than being contradictory, they are actually complimentary. When setting out to conquer the world for G-d or create a community from scratch, you cannot afford to be shy; you must be prepared to knock on stranger’s doors and become their friend; crash through people’s defenses and actively make an impact on the lives of others.

However, at heart, a Jew must remain humble and sincere; accommodating and friendly, open to self-reflection and willing to change. The true path of our ancestor Ya’akov and those who would follow in his way, is to be sensitive to the needs of others and to be willing to sacrifice oneself to a greater calling.

Ya’akov first spoke of oxen and only then introduced the sheep motif when confronting the challenge of Esav. This demonstrates to us, his heirs, how best to approach the world. Although at essence he was really a sheep, he stood up to Esav by first summonsing the more forceful, ox-like characteristics at his disposal; overcoming him with strength and passion and only therafter did he allow the milder, more welcoming side of his personality to shine through.

This was the lesson we learned from Ya’akov and these characteristics of a fully formed personality, I believe also apply to Levi. Though at first one was most impressed by the force of his personality and the warmth of his manner, the true greatness of the man was his caring concern for others.

Rabbi Levi Deitsch will be missed by his community and friends. His wife and children have been robbed of a truly special man and we are all the poorer for his loss. However his ability to combine strength and sensitivity, energy and humility, and friendship and sympathy will live on forever in the memories of all who knew him and loved him and especially those who were touched by his unique gifts that he so freely shared with others.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

He offered right then and there to help me out

By: Dovid Brownstein

In the months leading up to the summer of 2000, I worked with a friend on organizing a summer program for 14 teenagers who were struggling with issues related to their yiddishkeit. The program was to take these young men on a trip of their lifetime, a five-week adventure through California, Arizona, Utah, and Nevada. We needed to find a few "solid chevra" to be counselors for this program, guys who would not only be able to give these teenagers an amazing time, but who were also Chassidishe bochurim who would be Dugma Chaya for them.

While davening in 770 one morning, I saw Levi from across the Shul and immediately imagined how great it would be if I could get him on board. I had never learned in the same Yeshiva as Levi, but we were about the same age, both from Crown Heights, and were acquainted with each other as our paths had crossed here and there. I approached Levi that morning and did my best to pitch the "offer" to him. Levi seemed genuinely enthusiastic about the idea. He told me he was definitely interested, but had already been offered another job for the summer and would have to wait to see if that worked out before giving me a definite answer one way or the other.

But Levi didn't leave it at that. He offered right then and there to help me out. I had explained my plan that the traveling camp would spend the nights either camping out at some of the state and National Parks out west or at Shluchim along the planned route. Levi unhesitatingly suggested that he could start making phone calls to various Shluchim to arrange lodging for the nights we did not have plans to camp out. A short while later I got back in touch with Levi. He told me that his original summer plans had gone through and he wouldn't be able to join the program as a counselor. But, in the mean time, Levi had arranged lodging by Shluchim for what turned out to be 18 campers and staff for many nights during the first three weeks of the program.

An extra special "Chush" in Ahavas Yisroel

By: Anonymous

Chassidim in general excel in Ahavas Yisroel, but Levi had "a chush" ("was talented") in Ahavas Yisroel. The following story exemplifies this wonderful character trait.

When I came to be Menachem Ovel the brothers after the tragic passing of Nosson, I was standing around with many other people in the dining room after Davening. Levi came over and took me to a corner and asked how I'm doing. He had heard that I was diagnosed with cancer and wanted to know how I'm doing and inquired with much empathy about the details of my condition and treatment etc. He did this of course with sensitivity and genuine care, and I was touched by his Ahavas Yisroel, but what truly amazed me was what happened next. Upon hearing that Boruch Hashem I had finished all treatments and that (iy"H l'arichus yomim v'shonim tovos) nothing was left of my cancer, Levi reacted with such an outburst of simchah. He was beaming with happiness for me. I knew, and obviously he knew, his prognosis at the time. We had spoken about it just a few moments beforehand, and I tried my best to be Mechazek him, and he was Mechazek himself. Nevertheless that didn't disturb his ability to feel true personal joy and happiness for another! I was deeply touched.

Yom Tov Guest

By: Yitzchak Langer

On Shmini Atzeres this year I was caught in a terrible traffic jam while heading back to Maryland from Virginia. I was still on the VA side of the Potomac River when I ran out of time and had to exit my car. Some nice Goyim found the location of the Vienna Chabad House some 6 miles away. I managed to make it to the house at the end of Hakafos (I was lucky that Chabad does Hakafos on Shmini Atzeres) & was fortunate to meet some of Rabbi Levi's congregants. They took me to his house where I was treated like royalty. The Rabbi and Rebbetzin fed me and gave me their daughter Mirel's room to sleep in. The next day I walked back to Silver Spring. The walk was about 20 miles and it was raining when I set out for home. On Sunday Rabbi Levi called me at home to make sure that I made it alright. He was an exemplary man and although my encounter with him was brief it touched me made a lasting impression. He was a man to look up to and I will hold this past Shmini Atzeres close to my heart for the rest of my life. I will remember him with fondness and adoration for years to come, and I hope that Miriam, Chaya, Mirel, Mendel, and Zalman are comforted with the mourners of zion.