By: Alfred Ohebshalom
Rabbi Levi Deitsch. Where could a person begin?
…Just about 20 years ago, one Friday afternoon before Shabbat, I heard the bell of my office door ring and on the other side were two Frum young men, holding a Talit bag and asking my father, brother and me if we would like to partake in the mitzvah of putting on Teffilin. Obviously, I welcomed them in and that was where the start of our beautiful 20 year relationship began. I witnessed him grown from a special young man to a community leader who was beyond his years in wisdom. His teachings were always filled with knowledge and the pearls of Torah which he bestowed upon his listeners, were always rich in depth and meaning.
On one particular occasion, I remember Rav Levi visiting me at work and announcing that he was engaged to the woman he hopes to spend the rest of his life with, (the fabulous Rebbenzin Miriam whom we all know so well). That day we had a memorable lechaim and his face was nothing short of glowing. He was clearly radiating a heavenly joy and he was beyond happy to finally start his life with this very special woman. Months later, Rav Levi approached me with Rebbenzin Mirriam, and mentioned he wanted to start a Shul in Virginia. At the time I had no idea that a young man of his age was capable of achieving precisely that and truly, so much more. Because of his charisma and inborn love of Hashem, it seemed as if he could do truly anything. He called me and confidently proclaimed “We did it.” Albeit he was proud (and deservingly so,) his strength in being an anav overcame his desire to boast this wonderful achievement.
Baruch Hashem, throughout the years I knew Rav Levi, we shared happiness in numerous other smachot as well; my son’s Bar Mitzvah, the earning of his Rabbanut, and the birth of his adorable children, in addition to many other milestones of his life.
Sadly, we also shared a common displeasure in many unfortunate moments. Throughout the ups and downs, Rav Levi still carried his famous smile on his face and approached all issues of life with a positive attitude. Even in his later days, where I was privileged to visit him at his mother’s home in Crown Heights, he welcomed me with that distinct smile that made him nothing short of legendary. Throughout our time together, his Emunah in Hashem, his love of humanity and his outstanding character, never faltered. It was precisely these virtues that carried him so long and helped him overcome all of the obstacles throughout his 34 year journey in this world.
Not too many people could achieve what Rav Levi did in such a short amount of time. Rav Levi will forever live in our memories and hearts as a unique person with unmatchable courage and love. Personally, I am forever grateful for the way Rav Levi touched my soul, and for having taught me to better embrace the Torah and thus become a greater citizen of Hashem’s world.
Rabbi, we will never forget you.