6 Kislev 5778 24/11/2017

Rebbitzen Chana Returns Home

After a while, Rebbitzen Chana had to return home, hoping to make things better for husband from there by sorting out their affairs and sending him food parcels from outside Chiali, where there were few resources. However, she did not stay away for long, as Rabbi Levi Yitzchok’s health deteriorated.

After a while Rebbitzen Chana decided to return home. From home she would be able to send her husband food parcels, even though it was dangerous to send packages to “criminals.” Moreover, their home could not be left empty for too long. Rebbitzen Chana’s return also made sense from an economic point of view. It was far easier for Rabbi Levi Yitzchok to find food just for himself than to have to worry about another person’s portion on a daily basis.

Before she left, Rebbitzen Chana traveled to Kazil-Orda to persuade the NKVD to transfer her husband there. Kazil-Orda was a sizeable town where conditions were much easier than in Chiali. Among a community of Bukharan Jews, there were two brothers who worked as a Rabbi and a ritual slaughterer. They followed these occupations in the evenings after working all day shining shoes.

Rebbitzen Chana spent twelve days in Kazil-Orda. She explained to the secret police that Rabbi Levi Yitzchok was in a delicate state of health and needed medication that was not available in primitive Chiali.  Once again her arguments fell upon deaf ears.
“Your husband will be able to get whatever he needs in Chiali, and there is no need to move him!” they insisted.

Before Rebbitzen Chana left Kazil-Orda she persuaded one of the local Jews, who was also an exile, to stay with Rabbi Levi Yitzchok so that he would not be alone. Other Jews from Kazil-Orda also began to visit Rabbi Levi Yitzchok. They would even stay with him overnight so that they could learn Torah and Chassidic philosophy with him. These visits raised Rabbi Levi Yitzchok’s morale and relieved the loneliness of his exile. The great kindness shown by these Jews is even more remarkable when viewed in the context of the conditions of Rabbi Levi Yitzchok’s exile. As a convicted prisoner, he was not allowed to write or receive letters from anyone apart from his wife. Even these letters were heavily censored, which meant that they took a long time to arrive. If anyone else tried to contact him, they were putting their own lives in danger.

One day Rabbi Levi Yitzchok’s bread ration was discontinued. By this time, he was very frail and he had no way of sustaining himself. Rebbitzen Chana returned to Chiali as quickly as she could and she tried to restore his ration. It had been discontinued because of his poor health. In order to receive a loaf of bread, each person had to present an official work certificate. Anyone who did not have a regular job was not eligible for a ration. As Rabbi Levi Yitzchok was too sick to work and local employment usually involved violating the laws of Shabbat, he did not have a certificate. Therefore he could not receive any food. This meant that he and Rebbitzen Chana had to live on one ration, which was barely enough even for one person.

After many efforts, the authorities were finally convinced that Rabbi Levi Yitzchok was incapable of working due to his age, and his bread ration was restored.

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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