THE BERDICHEVER RABBI
(Courtesy: Kivrei Tzadikim)
Rabbi Levi Yitzchok was born in 5500 in Hoskov to a famous rabbinical family, which for 26 generations had passed from father to son the crown of Torah. When he was born, the Ba'al Shem Tov told his students that a great soul has come down from Heaven one which will advocate on behalf of the people of Israel.
As a young man Rabbi Levi Yitzchok was known as the Iluy of Yeroplav. He married the daughter of Reb Yisrael Perets and for a while he lived by his father-in-law and was immersed in Torah learning.
Rabbi Shmelke of Nikulsberg convinced him to go to the Maggid of Mezritch. Rabbi Levi Yitzchok stayed there for several years and learned Chasidus from the Maggid. When his parents found out that he joined the Chasidus movement they were devastated and sat Shiva.
Rabbi Levi Yitzchok's father-in-law lost all his fortune and Rabbi Levi Yitzchok was forced to take the place of Reb Shmelke as the rabbi of Rotswul. The opponents of Chasidus did not leave him alone and on Hoshana Rabba, he ran away to the Maggid with his esrog and lulav in his hands.
In 5525 Rabbi Levi Yitzchok started to serve as a rabbi in Zilichov. In 5531, because of the opponents of Chasidus, he moved to Pinsk were he served as a rabbi and ra"m but also here his opponents fought against him and one time they even robbed his house. In 5545 Rabbi Levi Yitschak became the rabbi of Berditchev. He became famous as a man of emotion and compassion, who the love of his fellow Jews led to his becoming the greatest advocate of the Israeli Nation. Thousands of students, who came to learn from him, turned Berditchev into a great Chasidic center.
Rabbi Levi Yitschak composed many moving melodies which until today are sung by many of his followers. He also wrote a special prayer which is recited on Motzei Shabbos. He said that it is a great segula for financial success to recite this prayer 3 times in a row before Havdala. On the night of Motzei Pesach and Motzei Succos Rabbi Levi Yitzchok used to stay awake the entire night in anticipation for the mitzvah of Tefillin which is resumed after an entire week of holiday. Rabbi Levi Yitzchok passed away on 25 Tishrey 5570 and was buried in Berditchev.
The people of Berditchev, who admired Rabbi Levi Yitzchok, never appointed a new Rabbi to take his place but rather gave the title of Dayan or More Hora'a to whoever served in their town.
Amongst his other books Rabbi Levi Yitzchok wrote the book Kedushas Levi.