Rav Yishai Tokayer-Rav Levi Yitzchok Bender-14June2015

Rav Levi Yitzchak Bender,by Rav Lasker
(1897 – 1989) Arriving in Uman in 1915, Rabbi Levi Yitzchak became a close student of Rabbi Avraham Chazan. Although his mentor passed away two years later and World War One had come to an end, he spent the next twenty some years in what was then the center of the Breslev Chassidut. It was not long before Rabbi Levi Yitzchok’s special qualities were recognized and, at the age of thirty, he was appointed prayer leader for the Rosh Hashana Morning Prayers Hashana in Uman. In the early winter of 1939, he and Rabbi Eliyahu Chaim Rosen were imprisoned in the Ukraine as “subversive elements.” Given a conditional reprieve, he fled, running from one city to the next, never remaining in one place for more than a few days.

He spent the World War II in Siberia. After the war, he moved to Israel, via Poland.

Rabbi Levi Yitzchak was the recognized leader of the Breslev synagogue in Jerusalem until he passed away. Many Breslever Chassidim accepted him as their spiritual guide, especially the baalei teshuvah, who’ve joined the Rebbe’s following in great number.

Rabbi Levi Yitzchak’s personal study schedule was legendary. He gave himself over to following Rebbe Nachman’s teaching of finishing many of the Rebbe’s writing each year. His diligence in following the Rebbe’s advice to recite Chatzot (the midnight prayer lamenting the destruction) and practice hitbodedut was also amazing. For some seventy five years, he never missed a night of reciting Chatzot. Yet, when someone asked, “Which of your accomplishments is most precious to you?” Rabbi Levi Yitzchak replied simply, and in true Breslev fashion, “I lived thirty years in Russia, and I still believe in G-d!”

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