He was affectionately known as the ‘Righteous One’ of Jerusalem. In the early years of the State of Israel, Rabbi Aryeh Levin zt”l (1885-1969) was renowned for his exceptional kindness and boundless acts of love for people from all walks of life. Even in the final days prior to his death, as he prepared for his own passing, he kept the interest of others in the forefront of his mind. He left the following directive to his family in his will: “When family and friends will visit my grave I ask that everyone recite the following words wholeheartedly: ‘I believe with perfect faith that there will be techiyat hameitim, revival of the dead at the time when it will please the Creator.” And so it was. On the tombstone of Rabbi Aryeh Levin, just below his name and his birth date and day of death are the words: “ I ask of all those who visit my grave to say with full conviction: “I believe in the revival of the dead…”
One reason for this unique request was that he knew that after his passing he would no longer be able to comfort or give strength to the broken hearted – so at least in this way, even after his passing, he could, in some way, offer solace and comfort. Also, said Rabbi Aryeh Levin, generally when people come to a cemetery and are surrounded by death they often are overcome with a feeling of sadness knowing that this is the end for everyone. But in truth there is life after life. He sought, in his way, to instill hope and courage even in the face of death and loss.
During the Six-Day War a noted rabbinic family lost their beloved son in battle. The young man had just been engaged to a wonderful young lady and the wedding date had been set. The loss of their beloved son was severe and traumatic. They suffered greatly. Every so often they would make a special trip to visit the grave of ‘Righteous One’ of Jerusalem. In the face of their calamity, reading these holy words engraved on the tomb of this holy man, gave them a sense of calm and comfort. (Based on ‘A Tzaddik In Our Time’ p.386)
The belief in an after-life and the revival of the dead is a foundational belief in Judaism. Maimonides lists this teaching as one of the thirteen principles of the Jewish faith. This belief means that those who have lost loved ones will be with them once again in the future. This gives the bereaved true hope and is a source of comfort when confronting the tragedy of loss.May we soon merit to see the solace that Rabbi Levin offered in the promise of Techiyat HaMeitim when we will embrace all our loved ones once again.