Baruch (Ken) Becker from California, one of America's foremost illustrators and graphics artists and one of my favorite people, pulled an all-nighter last night, doing the above exquisite painting of Erez ob"m. I received it just in time to take it to Erez's widow, Mrs. Dafna Levanon. Dafna's reaction to the painting was a heartrending mixture of tears streaming down a smiling face, like the sun peaking out from behind a rain cloud.
Dafna Levanon was really moved by the stack of condolence emails I gave her - the ones you all sent me from Hong Kong to the Ukraine to Argentina, and points between. She asked me to thank you from the bottom of her heart. She was especially touched by Mary's commitment to begin going to mikva, Danny's commitment to keep Shabbat, Rodney's commitment to observe the 7 Noahide commandments, and Keith's commitment to grow a beard and payis - all in blessed memory of Erez.
As you can see, a tzaddik continues to influence people after he leaves this world, even more than when he was in the flesh.
For those who want to learn Mishnayot or other Torah or to recite Psalms in Erez's memory, his full name is Erez ben Mordechai.
For those who asked, the Levanon family has 3 children - an 11 year-old son and twins (a boy and a girl) of 9 years old.
Those who want to contribute to the Erez Levanon Sefer Torah fund can deposit money directly in Bank Mizrachi, Alon Shvut Branch, branch # 454, account # 150531 in Gush Etzion. Dafna Levanon has a burning desire to have a Torah scroll written in her husband's honor. She certainly deserves it.
I left the Levanon house when the sun was about 3 fingers over the coast in the west. From Bat Ayin, you can see Ashdod on a clear day, about 80 kilometers to the west. In fact, from Bat Ayin, you can see most of the south of Israel. It's breathtaking. The sun sets in a golden hue of kedusha that could make a rock yearn for Hashem.
I gazed down in the valley to the tranquil-looking grove where Erez used to go for hitbodedut. It's unbelievable that such peace and holiness is situated right below the mountain-top hornet's nest village where Erez's murderers came from. Yet, there's no room for bitterness, because Emuna tells us to put our own feeble reasoning aside and to trust Hashem. Hashem knows what He's doing - we don't have all the peaces in the puzzle that forms the picture of the full redemption of our people, speedily, amen.