3 Kislev 5778 21/11/2017

Keeping Shabbat at all Costs

It was almost impossible to keep Shabbat in Chiali, where everything was so scarce. What made things worse was that Rabbi Levi Yitzchok had to register at the police station every ten days, including Shabbat. Yet Rabbi Levi Yitzchok was even able to overcome this problem.

According to NKVD regulations, an exiled prisoner had to register at the local police station every ten days. This raised the difficulty of what to do when the tenth day fell on Shabbat. Apart from having to sign, the prisoner had to present his personal papers and carrying them to the station would also have been a transgression of the laws of Shabbat. This problem was overcome when a Christian girl, who had also been exiled, accompanied Rabbi Levi Yitzchok to the police station, carrying his papers for him.

The exiles had to present themselves at a location about four kilometers away from Rabbi Levi Yitzchok’s lodgings. No matter what time of the year it was, this walk was always very difficult. In the summer it was burning hot, while in the winter the ground was covered in snow and wet mud. It was hardly surprising that Rabbi Levi Yitzchok would be terribly exhausted by the time he returned home.

Towards the end of the day, Rabbi Levi Yitzchok would sit outdoors to catch some fresh air. He would read a book or immerse himself in Torah and Chassidic philosophy. Near the door of his home were flocks of sheep that came to graze in the local fields. On occasion, pigs were also pastured nearby. The sight of these non-kosher animals deeply disturbed Rabbi Levi Yitzchok, and he sometimes drove them away with his stick. This annoyed his landlady, who could not understand what he had against her beloved pigs. She even told Rebbitzen Chana that she preferred them to her children, because pigs would earn her some money while she did not expect to gain anything from her children.

During one particularly difficult period, Rabbi Levi Yitzchok did not have any bread for an entire month. Yet his landlady, who worked for various important officials, never lacked anything and she always came home laden with baskets of food. She would gather her goats, pigs, and dogs and give them as much bread as they liked. Yet she would never share any of her food with human beings, whom she clearly valued far less than her animals!

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Featured photo
The president of Kazakhstan presents the head shliach with a document signed by the government (in 2000) denouncing the persecution of Rabbi Levi Yitzchok.
The president of Kazakhstan presents the head shliach with a document signed by the government (in 2000) denouncing the persecution of Rabbi Levi Yitzchok.
31/07/2007
Featured gallery
A Gallery  of Notable Visitors to the Chabad Center in Almaty and the Tomb of Rabbi Levi Yitzchok
A Gallery of Notable Visitors to the Chabad Center in Almaty and the Tomb of Rabbi Levi Yitzchok
20/02/2007