I was saddened to wake up this morning, Sunday, 17 May, 2015 — 28 Iyyar, 5775 to hear the news that Rabbi Moshe Levinger z”l had passed away at age 80.
We all know of R’ Moshe’s immense efforts and contributions toward the establishment of modern-day Jewish presence in Hevron, as well as throughout Yehuda and the Shomron.
As R’ Moshe led members of his Gush Emunim movement on foot through the Shomron mountains to such places as Sebastia, Elon Moreh and more, I was following their progress from thousands of miles away by way of the Jerusalem Post International Edition which came to my mail box weekly. R’ Moshe, along with Rabbis Haim Druckman, Eliezer Waldman and Shlomo Aviner was among a group of Jews who celebrated the first Pesach Seder meal at the Park Hotel in Hevron in 1968 — 5728 in the year following the Six Day War. I viewed R’ Moshe with great awe and inspiration.
In the summer of 1997, a year and nine months before my aliyah, to my great shock and surprise, I was zocha to meet and speak with R’ Moshe — a dream come true and memorable moment in my life — at the Hachnasat Sefer Torah which took place at Yishuv Shvut Rahel, named for the victim of a terror attack, on the next mountain from Shilo. The Hachnasat Sefer Torah was the installation of the second of thirteen Sifrei Torah facilitated and placed under the aegis of The Sefer Torah Recycling Network.
in Yishuv Shvut Rahel in July, 1997 — 26 Sivan 5757
I was later zocha to have joined R’ Moshe in a Carlbach Kabalat Shabbos minyan held outside the Ma’arat Hamachpela in Hevron in July, 1998 as well as being hosted for a Shabbos lunch by he and Rebbetzin Miriam. And after my aliyah, I was zocha to see R’ Moshe a number of times in Hevron, including a number of times when I davened Kabalat Shabbos near him at the Ma’arat Hamachpela when my shul spent Shabbos Tefillah (the Shabbos before Rosh Hashana) in Hevron.
Israel National News notes that R’ Moshe was voted, along with former prime minister Menachem Begin z”l as “person of the generation, the man or woman who has had the greatest effect on Israeli society in the last twenty years” in a poll held by the now-defunct Hadashot newspaper.
Am Yisrael has lost a Giant whose void will be difficult to fill. His love and efforts to connect Am Yisrael with Eretz Yisrael will be sorely missed.