by Dr. Zev Ballen
Reb Yehuda Zev Lebowitz was a hidden tzadick who we know very little about. He passed away several years ago. Some say that he may have been the head of the 36 hidden tzadikim of his generation. When Reb Yehuda Zev met Reb Shalom Arush he said that Reb Shalom possessed the purest soul that he had ever seen.
Those who are close with Rav Arush know that he too is a very hidden person. Reb Shalom is glad to help others with their problems but he does not discuss his personal life with anyone - Even with the biggest tzadikim of this generation. There was only one exception and that was Reb Yehuda Zev Lebowitz. Reb Shalom said that when he meet Reb Yehuda Zev the tzadik proved to Reb Shalom that he knew everything about his past and everything that Reb Shalom was thinking at the time. Reb Shalom said that he never felt like that in the presence of anyone else. After he passed away, Reb Yehuda Zev's family told Rav Arush that the tzadik wanted to give Rav Arush the great honor of having his tefillin. Reb Yehuda Zev Lebowitz continues to appear to Reb Shalom in dreams at important times help him know what to doven for and how to lead the Jewish people.
I heard a story about Reb Yehuda Zev when he was a boy from Rav Cossouto. It was on a Shabbos somewhere in Europe. Reb Yehuda Zev's grandfather came home from shul and a table was set up in the backyard for him to make kiddush outdoors. Just then a truck pulled up and several Nazi soldiers got out. They approached the grandfather and said that they knew that he had a grocery store and demanded that he open it right away. The saintly grandfather apologized saying that he was not able to open the store on Shabbos, but if they came back after Shabbos he would give them whatever they needed. The Nazi's laughed. Pointing to a nearby wall they told him that if he did not open the store within ten minutes they were going to kill him against that wall. Refusing to break Shabbos to open the store the holy tzadik walked to the wall and stood there waiting with his face flushed against it. The woman and children were screaming but the tzadik just stood calmly and waited.
Exactly ten minutes later another jeep pulled up and another group of Nazis came out. They began yelling at the first group and demanded to know where they had been. They answered that they needed provisions and were about to take them from the tzadik's store. They yelled back that there was no time and ordered the first group to stop what they were doing. They were forced to leave. What a priceless gift of chinuch (moral/spiritual development) did young Yehuda Zev inherit in those ten minutes! What was that saintly grandfather was thinking while he stood at the wall? When I heard the following story about Reb Nosan of Breslev I thought I might understand at least something of what great people do under such circumstances.
Reb Nason, the chief disciple of Rebbe Nachman of Breslev said that if after his passing he had to spend time in hell, he knew exactly what he would do to escape unharmed. Reb Nason said that he would begin to recite one of Rebbe Nachman's lessons from Likutey Moharan. Can you imagine the holy tzadik, Reb Nason of Breslev learning Likutey Moharan amongst the flames of hell. It would not be long, says Reb Nason, before the other unfortunate souls would gather around to hear the Rebbe's teaching. Once that happened - there would be no more hell - only paradise. Hell cannot exist at all in the presence of holiness - it is forced to disappear. What Reb Yehuda Zev merited to see that Shabbos morning was nothing less than a miracle. He watched as his holy grandfather literally brought Heaven down into a living hell. With chinuch like this, it is no wonder that the boy became a lamed vav tzadik.
Set your alarm and catch my video-lesson later today entitled Peace First! and hear real-life examples of people like yourself who are changing their lives for the better by literally putting peace before everything!
The lesson will be given today Wednesday March 28, 2012 at 5:00 PM Israel time at 13 Shmuel HaNavi, Jerusalem, on the second floor of the new Yeshiva building where it is open to men. You can also hear the live broadcast at: www.Breslev.co.il: in LA and the West Coast at 7:00 AM; in Denver at 9:00 AM; in Mexico and CDT at 11:00 AM; and the UK at 3:00 PM. If you have any questions you can write me at: firstname.lastname@example.org. See you later!
Wishing you Blessings Always,
Dr. Zev Ballen