Levin, Rabbi Aryeh (ON HOLD)

Eminent Orthodox rabbi, called “The Father of Prisoners” and “the Tzadik of Jerusalem” for his compassion

Price: $175.00

Description:
(1885-1969) Lithuanian-born Orthodox rabbi, to Palestine 1905. Known as “Reb Aryeh”, he was an dubbed the "Father of Prisoners" for his visits to members of the Jewish Underground imprisoned in Jerusalem during the British Mandate. He was also called the "Tzadik ("saint") of Jerusalem" for his work on behalf of the poor and the sick, renowned for his humility, kindness, and respect for all. In 1925 Rabbi Isser Zalman Meltzer was appointed to lead the Etz Chaim yeshiva and Rabbi Levin was made the Mashgiach (Spiritual Advisor.) In 1931, at the request of the British Mandate, Chief Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook appointed him the official Jewish Prison Chaplain, a position he informally had filled since 1927. He accepted on the condition that he receive no pay. He would visit Jewish prisoners held in the Russian Compound on charges of arms possession or smuggling, most members of the Palmach, Haganah, Irgun or Lehi. Levin prayed with them and conveyed messages to their families. Room 29 in the Central Prison in Jerusalem (now the Museum of the Underground Prisoners), was used as a synagogue on Shabbat and holidays. Inmates were captivated by the rabbi's warmth and sincerity, and the honor and respect with which he treated them. The most heartbreaking situation he encountered was the predicament of prisoners condemned to death. Reb Aryeh made every effort to appeal the sentences and reduce the punishment. Once he threw himself in front of the High Commissioner’s limousine to present a petition to him. After the Israeli War of Independence, Rabbi Levin conducted a little used ritual known as “Goral Hagra” to identify mutilated remains of 12 Jewish fighters of the “Convoy of 35”. In 1965, Rabbi Levin was honored at a ceremony assembled by veteran underground resistance fighters from the Mandate period held on his 80th birthday in the courtyard of the old central prison in the Russian Compound. Reb Aryeh spoke, and closed by stating: "All I ask of you is this: Tell your children: ‘There was an old Jew in Jerusalem who loved us so very much!’” Reb Aryeh was also known for visits to the sick, especially patients with no family of their own. He went to the hospitals of Jerusalem every Friday to visit the sick confined there. First he spoke with nurses to learn which patients received no visitors. At their beds he would linger, caressing each one's hand and giving words of encouragement and cheer. He would sit for hours near the beds of the sick. He was also a frequent visitor at hospitals for lepers, including one in Bethlehem where most of the patients were Arabs. His wife cooked regularly for them, and he would take the prepared food to the hospital. 8 x5 ½ ALS in Hebrew, 1-½ pp (both sides of one lined sheet), Jerusalem, 11 Kislev 5717 (11/15/57), to Eliezer and Drorah Sodit. Feb Aryeh wsa concened about Sodit’s health and is glad that G-d sent his divine assistanxce to heal him. Rabbi levin notes Sodit has suffered with the whole “Yishuv” (the Jewish people in Palestine/ Israel pre/post 1948). He thanks Drorah Sodit for informing Reb Aryeh of the welfare of the family of a man Rabbi Levin has known from the time of the Mandate, imprisoned in the Central Prison as an illegal immigrant, whom Reb Aryeh bailed out, took custody of and responsibility for, and who later found his illegal immigrant wife. Reb Aryeh asks Drorah to ask the wife of the Director of Settlement and Mayor of Ramat Gan, to help the man’s wife find some light housework to restore her well-being. In typical humility, he adds: “Although it is very difficult for me to place a burden on another, nonetheless, I do not have permission to be absolved of this [responsibility]”, and encloses (not here) a “small donation.” With line-by-line English translation by three rabbis with a Google biography of Rabbi Levin. The “lead” rabbinical translator adds: “The letter is written by hand in meticulous script, using upper-case letters (no cursive). It almost looks like a scribe’s handwriting – as if the rabbi is writing a Torah scroll! It has the ‘aura’ of sacredness about it…written in a very elegant, genuinely pious style.” Very moving appeal for assistance for the nearly destitute wife of a former prisoner apparently separated from her husband. ELIEZER SODIT (1925-?) Born in Romania, immigrated to Israel in 1936, settling in Natanya where, in 1940, he joined Betar and the Irgun. He took part in numerous activities against the British, was caught during the break-in to the Ottoman Bank in Jaffa in Sept. 1946 and sentenced to 15 years in prison. Less than a year later, he escaped from the Central Prison in Jerusalem disguised in a policeman's uniform, smuggled into the jail. He went to Tel Aviv and resumed his Irgun activities. After the June 1948 “Altalena affair”, he moved to Jerusalem and served as Company commander in the Irgun battalion in the city. He led the capture of the Arab village of Malha in SW Jerusalem.

Condition: Very good
Type:Letter






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