“Life in which there is no embarrassment or disgrace”
Evening following Shabbat,
28 Marcheshvan [5713 (1952)]

Just now, my son—long may he live, and may he be well and successful—left my apartment. He is very fatigued, yet he still took with him lots of work to do at home.

Since childhood, he has always spent his time in constant study. I don’t remember him ever wasting time.

Thank G‑d, I derive a great deal of nachas from him.

He is a truly great personage, with a pure soul. He does much for my sake, which I consider to be a privilege, after all the tribulations I have experienced.

There are, however, some things I can’t tell him, for what purpose would that serve?

I remember how my husband, of blessed memory, [during our exile in Chi’ili], on the Shabbat when the new month is blessed, would recite the Yehee ratzon prayer1 [which states, “May it be Your will, G‑d…that You give us a month that has in it life” full of specified material benefits and spiritual qualities. When reciting the phrase in this prayer], “life in which there is no embarrassment or disgrace,” my husband said those words with deep, heartfelt emotion. Later, when there were enough Jews to hold prayer services, my husband would recite this Yehee ratzon prayer publicly with them, too, although he had never done so back home. The prayer includes other requests for material benefits of which we were in urgent need, yet I noticed that he recited none of those requests with that same depth of feeling that he invested in that phrase. Apparently, this subject evokes more pain than other needs.

Sunday, 2 Shevat [5713 (1953)]

On 28 Tevet, I turned 73 years old.2 On the same day, I became a U.S. citizen. Both these events could have caused much happiness. But my loneliness was unmistakable.

In any case, thank G‑d for these events. My son, long may he live, wished me all the best. From my other son3—whom I have not seen for 24 years,4 which also is far from easy for me—I received a telegram signed [also] by his wife5 and daughter,6 neither of whom I have ever met.

Where are my husband’s writings now?
[After 15 Shevat, 5713 (1953)]

Involuntarily, thoughts come to mind about my past experiences. It is said that one shouldn’t sin even in thought…

Just now was 15 Shevat,7 which reminds me of many past experiences, none of which I wish to forget, although perhaps they make me feel my loss more intensely.

I recall my husband describing how he felt upon arriving in Alma Ata in 1940, after eleven months of constant surveillance in prison. He was told he was free to go on his own wherever he wanted, except beyond the boundaries of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

Despite the latter limitation, he felt such a sense of freedom. It was difficult for him to imagine no one was following or watching him. He felt a strong desire to share his joy with someone, and doubtless it would have been an opportunity to expound on this. But there wasn’t even a single fellow-Jew with whom to converse, and he had no choice but to continue stifling this desire, although it was now for a different reason than before.8

He told me this two months later [after I joined him there], yet, while relating it, he deeply relived that experience.

His life was tragic and after his passing the situation remains tragic. Throughout his life he wrote down so many of his Torah insights. Thousands of pages of his writings were left in his study at our home [in Yekaterinoslav], which was later destroyed by Hitler. As for his other writings on Chasidism and Kabbalah during the course of his six years of wandering—until two weeks before his passing9—I left them in Moscow.10 Friends took them from me and concealed them in various hiding places.11 Who knows where they are now?

Thoughts about the future
11 Sivan [5713 (1953)]

It is 53 years since our wedding. These years have been a time of great upheaval, both collectively and individually.

I can say that “I feel small because of all the kindnesses”12 [that G‑d has performed for me]. But recently I heard an interpretation of this verse13 that for all the kindnesses that a person receives from G‑d, he becomes diminished, because everything he experiences reduces his strength, both physical and spiritual, regardless of how much he tries to reinforce himself.

Of late I’ve been feeling quite weak. I ask G‑d not to let me become a burden upon anyone. I greatly desire not to make it difficult for anyone. Let’s hope G‑d will help and not forsake me.

A thought occurs to me, which perhaps is unimportant, yet I want to express it in writing:

Over the years that I’ve been running my own home, quite a number of items have accumulated that my son (long may he live) has given me happily and generously—for which may G‑d reward him with all good, that he be able to work, utilizing his great abilities, in good health and happiness. May I be able to use all these items so that it will bring him pleasure.

After my passing, however, all of it should be given to my younger son and his family, may they be well. A pessimistic thought, perhaps, but it doesn’t matter. I seem to remember my husband once saying that [writing a will] is a segulah [merit] for being blessed with long life.14

My son—long may he live—has just left my apartment. This gives me life for the 24 hours until tomorrow’s visit, G‑d willing.

Publishing Rabbi Levi Yitzchak’s works

Several weeks have passed, but I feel no better, and perhaps even weaker. It could be this is just a temporary feeling which will improve.

I would like to make a wish that I will see publication of the letters of my husband, of blessed memory, which are extant.15 Something ought to be published from such a personality, such a flowing “wellspring” of incessant Torah thought, never ceasing even a moment, who, when he had no one to address, would write down his thoughts on paper in installments.

Certainly I am entitled to hope for this, after all that I have witnessed in my life. In any event, it is something that ought to come about. I can do nothing to help it happen, but my desire for it is strong and I hope it will happen.16

Friday, 19 Menachem Av, 5713 (1953)

קברו של רבי לוי יצחק באלמא אטא (אלמטי)
קברו של רבי לוי יצחק באלמא אטא (אלמטי)

Tonight will be nine years since the passing of my husband, of blessed memory. Each year that passes reinforces my sense of loneliness. On this day, everything that hurts seems to feel even more painful.

My hope is that my son, shlita, and his wife, tichyeh, should live long and their lives should be good and tranquil, in the most literal sense, and we should take pleasure in each other.