1. On the day of a yahrzeit, all the service which a person performed throughout his life ascends and is expressed within this world, “bringing about salvation in the depths of the earth.” This applies, not only the first year, but every subsequent year as well. Thus, the present day is associated with the service of Rabbi Levi Yitzchok which involved the spreading of Torah, Nigleh, Chassidus, and Kabbalah. Each year, the influence of the day is strengthened and intensified.

This is connected with the recitation of Kaddish which marks the ascent to a higher spiritual realm. On the yahrzeit, the soul undergoes a very great ascent as reflected in the various different yahrzeit customs. Each year, there is a new and even greater ascent.

The number of years since the person’s passing is significant, particularly, in the case of Rav Levi Yitzchok who put a heavy emphasis on numerical significance. This is the 45th year since Rav Levi Yitzchak’s passing (from 5704 until 5749). The number 45 has the following significance.

In Kabbalah, words are often given numerical significance together with their milui, i.e., not only is the numerical equivalence of the actual letters counted. Each letter is spelled out and the numerical equivalence of all the letters is then, reckoned. When the Name of G‑d י-ה-ו-ה is spelled out as follows: יוד הא ואו הא, the numerical equivalent of all the letters is 45. This is the most elevated form of the Name י-ה-ו-ה and therefore, is mentioned in many important contexts, for example, the prayer Pasach Eliyahu recited erev Shabbos.

In regard to our service, the number 45, מה in Hebrew alludes to the verse: “What (מה) does the L‑rd, your G‑d, ask from you except to fear Him.” This level of fear involves self-transcendence, the person has no individual existence as we see in regard to Moshe, who asked: “What (מה) are we?”

Our Sages interpreted the verse, “What (מה) does the L‑rd, your G‑d, ask from you,” as follows: Do not read מה “What,” read מאה, “one hundred,” this being a reference to the 100 blessings that a person is required to recite each day. 100 is the ultimate of numbers, representing the ten powers of the soul as they are included each with each other. For that reason, the Torah relates that Yitzchok (one of the names of the Rav Levi Yitzchok) “found 100 times what he had expected.”1

G‑d gives each Jew all the blessings, including the ultimate perfection, 100 blessings. Since these blessings emanate from G‑d, it is self-understood that they can only lead to good and that ultimately, they will bring a person to the goal for which he was created in the service of G‑d. He will proceed in that service until he loses all self-concern and stands in complete bittul, giving himself over to G‑d in every facet of his being.

The names, Levi and Yitzchok, are also significant and express the quality of bittul. Levi refers to the establishment of a complete connection to G‑d as expressed by the prayer recited by Leah when she gave this name, “This time, my man will become attached to me.”

Yitzchok relates to the service of spreading happiness among others as reflected by Sarah’s statement, “All that hear (i.e., even someone who inadvertently hears)2 will rejoice with me.” Yitzchok is also unique, being the first person who was circumcised at the age of eight days, [this reflecting the establishment of a bond with G‑d which transcends intellect.]

Rav Levi Yitzchok died in exile. This is a harsh punishment, possessing a certain dimension which is more severe than death. This shares a relation to the month of Av whose initial days are characterized by exile. However, the 15th of Av represents the transformation of these negative factors into good. This is followed by the 20th of Av which relates to the level of Kesser, the aspect of soul which transcends understanding, bringing one to the ultimate bittul of מה.

We will conclude with the distribution of money to be given to tzedakah. It is stated that Tzedakah saves one from death.” Thus, it is an appropriate means to bring out the eternal life which is associated with a yahrzeit.3

May the above bring about the ultimate attachment and the ultimate joy which will be realized in the Messianic Age, when “all that hear will rejoice with me.” “Those that lie in the dust will arise and rejoice,” with the coming of the Messianic redemption.4 May it be immediately.