The day after Simchas Torah, I wrote an article about Levi, a bochur from Yeshiva Ateres Shmuel in Waterbury, who was called up to serve in the IDF on Simchas Torah as this terrible war was just beginning. As the word spread in yeshiva during hakafos the community and yeshiva gathered around Levi who was clutching a sefer torah, singing acheinu as well as others songs.
The article made its rounds at that point. But the story of Levi continues to inspire.
Last week Levi’s rebbe, Rabbi Chaim Bernstein, traveled to Eretz Yisroel. Rabbi Bernstein was going to help out the community of Ofakim, which he had raised funds for. He called Levi’s mother asking if there's anything he could bring or do for Levi. His mother said "Levi just wants to learn with you”.
On Levi’s first day off since the start of the war, he sat with his rebbi learning in the bais medrash fueling himself and klal yisroel for the days ahead. A rebbi and a talmid sitting in the bais medrash and learning is all Levi wanted. They learned Hilchos Tzitzis because of the resurgence and interest among the soldiers in the mitzvah of Tzitzis.
I first heard the story from Rabbi Bernstein’s son who is in my sixth grade class. I could tell from his expression the pride that he had in his father’s talmid, who is teaching all of us about what it means to be connected to Torah!
You could take a bochur out of the bais medrash, but you could never take the bais medrash out of a bochur!
Please continue to be mispallel for Levi Yitzchok ben Dina Miriam and all those who are putting their lives on the line to protect our nation, as well as acheinu kol beis Yisrael, hanisunim b'tzara u’vashivyah.
Rabbi Heber could be reached via email at email@example.com