By: Chuck Stern
Looking at where I am now, in Torah u'mitzvos, compared to where I want to be, I find myself disappointed that I haven't done more to honor Levi's memory. All of that brings to mind the great love that Levi had for everyone, to the point he knew where and when to use the whip that he kept in his back pocket. The last time I saw him was on Sukkos, at the shul, where he was attending the Sukkos party for the Hebrew School. He'd obviously started another round of chemo, and was fighting hard. But he took the time to look me in the eye, and say, "I'm really disappointed that you're not coming to shul more than you do. I'm disappointed that you're not learning. I met your first chavrusa from JNet, and said that you were doing a good job. So, where have you been?" Another time, earlier, before we found out that he was ill, a friend and fellow member of the congregation was in shul with his son. The son has, as we all pray for, achieved more than his father in learning, and so spoke to refute something that his father said. Levi waited until almost all had gone home, and then he turned to the boy, and quietly but forcefully said, "It doesn't matter how much you've learned, it doesn't matter what your achievements are, I don't EVER want to hear you contradicting your father in public. You know Torah, but you have to work on your derech eretz to make you into a good Jew."
I'm honored that he was able to yell at me. I miss having that.