The volume and quality of email I received during the last 24 hours is a tribute to the sacred memory of Erez Levanon, of blessed and saintly memory. Please forgive me for not answering all the condolence messages personally, but rest assured that with Hashem's help, I will personally present them to the Levanon family later today.
Erez was a true Breslever - a man of devotion, peace, faith, and joy. He wouldn't have wanted us to be rattling the sabers of revenge or to adopt the jargon of our Ishmaelite neighbors that live by the sword. In that spirit, I want to share with you a lovely letter that I received from my esteemed friend, one of America's leading graphic artists and illustrators, Baruch (Ken) Becker from California:
Dear Rabbi Lazer,
I listened to the short eulogy you posted on 'Beams yesterday, and I was moved to tears and shame - tears for a tzaddik we all really need (whether we knew him or not), and shame for the, at times, extreme carrying on about my troubles. What reached me about your eulogy was that where I, and many others, were justifiably outraged and angry at this crime, you, someone who actually knew Erez, communicated nothing but love and pain. Your past as a secular military commando would certainly invite feelings or ideas of some creative ways to respond to these butchers. Rabbi Lazer, this is the first time I've ever truly experienced someone who embodied a beautiful tranquility, even in the face of so horrible an act. Again, I was ashamed. Feelings of "we can't let them get away with this" create distance between ourselves and Erez, ourselves and Hashem, and are ultimately selfish thoughts obsessing only on "what I can do about my pain to those people who did this..." By the time we come out of our craze, we have left both Hashem and Erez far behind.
Blessings to you and prayers for the family of Erez Levanon, that they may be comforted among the mourners of Tzion and Yerushalayim.