Friday, August 14, 2009

A Tale of Two Levi Yitzhaks

Levi Yitzhak of Berditchev - The famous "defense attorney for Israel" who lived in the 18th century and might have been an ancestor of the Lubavitcher Rebbe זצ''ל , whose father bore the same name. One of many stories about him is set on Erev Pesah. He is said to have disguised himself as a merchant, visited a diamond smuggler in the morning and negotiated a deal for the purchase of diamonds. In the afternoon he disguised himself as a beggar and knocked on the door of one Jewish house after another. When the door opened the rabbi would stick his hand out and ask for a piece of bread. The response was always the same: Bread? Have you gone mad? It's afternoon on Erev Pesah and I'm supposed to have bread? After a while, Levi Yitzhak exclaimed: God, look at your children! The Tsar has an army. The Tsar has police. The Tsar has a border patrol. The Tsar says you can't bring diamonds into the country. I can get all the diamonds I want. You have no army, no police, no border patrol. All you have is a few words in your Torah: No hametz in the house after noon on Erev Pesah. Comes the appointed time - and not a crumb can be found in any Jewish home. Does a people like that not deserve to be redeemed?

Levi Yitzhak Rosenbaum - Early 21st century America. Arrested for trafficking in human kidneys, buying them from desperately poor Israelis for $10,000 apiece and flipping them to desperately sick Americans for $160,000. Allegedly caught on tape boasting that he had been doing this for ten years. Causes unparalleled shame and embarrassment to observant Jews and massive hillul Hashem.

The first Levi Yitzhak lived in a culture of poverty and anti-Semitic persecution. The second lives in the wealthiest Jewish community ever, where the law protects our religious practice and we are equal to anyone else in the country. Could it be that for all the material success and religious freedom we have here, our values and priorities are all screwed up?

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2 Comments:

Anonymous Garnel Ironheart said...

Jews have never done well with wealth.
From the times of the Judges on down, we have thrived under conditions of poverty and adversity and declined during periods of prosperity and freedom.

Sun Aug 16, 02:04:00 PM EDT  
Blogger joshua said...

I liked the post. It was thought-provoking!! Keep blogging!!

This is Joshua from
Israeli Uncensored News

Mon Sep 07, 02:54:00 AM EDT  

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