Rabbi Yitzchok “Yitzi” Hurwitz has spent most of his adult life spreading joy and light to others. Now, a group of professional singers, children and Israeli soldiers are sending some strong rays right back at him via a music video that has gone viral since its posting on March 31, with more than 250,000 views and going strong.

Hurwitz, 44, co-director of Chabad of Temecula, Calif., with his wife, Dina, is an avid musician, guitar player and songwriter. One of them—called “Shine a Little Light”—he composed and recorded on a cell phone in 2008 for his wife. That was when he was well.

In 2013, Hurwitz was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)—also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease—a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Today, he cannot walk or speak, and communicates with the use of specialized adaptive equipment that allows him to type with his eyes. Which he does, often. He writes a weekly Torah column, sends email, studies Torah with others and is involved in the education of the couple’s seven children, ages 9 to 19.

“He is still a master communicator,” said his wife, who gave a talk to a room full of women at the International Conference of Chabad-Lubavitch Shluchos (Kinus Hashluchos) in New York earlier this year. “Sometimes, we think we are our abilities ... a doctor, a singer. Sometimes, G‑d challenges us and takes away our abilities. But your essence is inside; that is not taken away from you.”

Hurwitz’s communication skills as a rabbi are longstanding. He writes a popular blog, and many of his articles on the weekly Torah portion appear on Chabad.org.

Of her husband, known for his teaching, performing, entertaining and great sense of humor, she says: “He’s still funny. His eyes still twinkle.”

And his voice on the video is clear and expressive, taken from the original cell-phone recording. He can be heard singing the last chorus of the song and the catchy first one: “Shine a little light,” “Show us the way,” “Lead us to,” “A brighter day.” Other lyrics are sung by a veritable “Who’s Who” of Jewish artists, including Alex Clare, Benny Friedman, Yossi Green, Mordechai Ben David, Yehoram Gaon, Rivi and Eli Schwebel, Gad Elbaz, Eli Marcus, Avraham Fried, Boruch Shalom Blesofsky, Yehuda Green, the Maccabeats, 8th Day, Isaac Bitton and Baruch Chait.

Hurwitz is also shown in different frames with family and friends at his bedside.

“I am so excited and grateful,” he emailed. “Chaim Marcus [the producer and director] did an amazing job with it.”

‘A Beautiful Jew’

Marcus recalled when he first heard the song. He was visiting his longtime friend and about to leave when Dina Hurwitz handed him her phone so he could listen to it. The lyrics were “so powerful and prophetic,” he said. “I was moved to tears. I knew I was going to turn this into a music video.”

A music insider, he reached out to various singers, almost all of them suggested by Hurwitz. One of the first was the iconic Israeli performer Yehoram Gaon, who responded 20 minutes after being asked, saying: “I am prepared to participate in any way needed. He is a beautiful Jew.”

As far as Marcus is concerned, Hurwitz is the real star. “He’s a celebrity, he’s a gem, and I wanted to share that with the world, to introduce him to a much bigger audience. Anyone who spends time with him recognizes they are with a person of greatness.”

The video was a year in the making, filmed in New York, California and Israel. Its release was roughly scheduled for Yitzi Hurwitz’s birthday in February, two weeks after the couple’s 20th anniversary, which they spent doing something simple and often taken for granted: sitting outside, looking at the sky. It was the first time the rabbi had been outside in months, according to his wife.

“Life is a series of small moments to make a beautiful life,” said Dina Hurwitz. “It’s not the big things. It’s the little moments of joy, the little moments of pride.”

As for the songwriter and the subject of all the attention, how does he feel now that the video is up for all to see?

“It is a dream come true,” typed Hurwitz, and, he noted, yet another opportunity to positively influence others.

In the few days since hundreds of thousands have viewed the music video, people from around the world have reached out, asking Hurwitz to share his thoughts in a new advice column that will appear on Chabad.org. The rabbi said he will do his best to respond to as many emails as he can.

For more details on the upcoming column, visit Rabbi Yitzi’s blog.