From the Anash.org Inbox: Mrs. Sori Block of Melbourne, Australia, where minyanim were illegal over Rosh Hashana, says that what she saw on her morning walk would have made Rebbi Levi Yitzchok of Berditchev proud.
By Mrs. Sori Block – Melbourne, Australia
Rebbi Levi Yitzchok of Berditchev (1740-1809), loved his fellow Jew more than anything in the world. Anytime he could, he would look to find the good in the Jew and highlight that merit to Hashem.
One year, Erev Pesach, he asked one of his disciples “Please find me some tobacco.” The disciple was flabbergasted. “Don’t you know it’s against the law?” he asked.
The Rebbi persisted. And finally for the right price some tobacco was procured for him on the black market.
He then asked his disciple to find him some chametz even though it was already past the time when every Jew had sold and burned his chometz. Off went his disciple to look for some chametz.
Every Jew he went too, shooed him away aghast, “Don’t you know Pesach is in an hour, we don’t have any Chametz in our house!”
The disciple came back to Reb Levi Yitzchok empty-handed and apologizing profusely for failing to meet his Rebbi’s expectations.
Reb Levi Yitzchok, smiling broadly and turning heavenwards, said “G-d look at your people! The Czar of Russia said no tobacco He has police and border guards upholding his laws, yet for the right price we found some.”
“However, when I ask the Jews for some Chametz, despite it being three thousand years since you commanded us to observe Pesach, and no police, courts or jail sentences, there is no Chametz to be found in any of the homes of Your children here.”
Fast forward to Rosh Hashana 5781.
Before Rosh Hashana began, a lot of us here in Melbourne were feeling despondent. No shuls, no mingling, no sharing Chag with your loved ones. We didn’t know how we’d manage such an unusual chag.
Rosh Hashanah morning I awoke bright and early (as I always do). Since my daughter wasn’t awake yet, I decided I would take a walk around my area. At least let me enjoy the beautiful sunshine (thank you G-d). I meandered down a side street I have rarely walked down, and what I heard and saw warmed the inner cockles of my heart. Jewish men sitting in their OWN front yard, singing and davening the Rosh Hashana davening.
Nothing can stop Jews from praising and connecting to Hashem. Corona may stop the world. It stopped the Olympics. It can stop travel, weddings, shopping malls being opened and filled, parties and social events, but look at us Hashem. At how much your people love you and want to sing and coronate you as King.
NOTHING can stop us!
G’mar Chassima Tova to all my beautiful friends near & far.