The simchas hachaim, the warmth, the humor, the chizuk he exuded just by letting you know that you matter, that you count, and that you are great. A teenager, he somehow had “talmidim,” those who gravitated to him simply to soak in the confidence he gave them. He had eyes to perceive their vulnerabilities and the generosity of spirit to provide the boost they needed.
In the Beis Medrash, he was a pillar of fire, engrossed and involved in the heated give and take over a Tosafos, but he transported that holy energy to every moment of life, his tangible emunah and spiritual refinement elevating mundane conversations and interactions.
He wasn’t the sort of special that he stood apart. Quite the opposite, he was special in the sense that he was part of everyone else’s life, there for them and with them.
When they rejoiced, no one was happier than Dovi, and when they faced challenges, he was right there, fighting along with them.
And then he was taken, a single instant of such searing pain, a void created that looms so large.
And what remains is emunah, the emunah he radiated, the emunah he displayed without preaching or lecturing, just by the way he acted, the way he davened, spoke, shared and lived.
And his father, with the eyes and hearts of a grieving nation upon him, issued a cry of emunah that echoed across the world, expressing faith in the precision of the Divine plan, when we understand and when we do not.
In the months since Lag B'Omer, Reb Shloimi Steinmetz has become an ambassador of faith, asking people to recite the 13 Ani Ma’amin’s printed in every siddur after davening each morning, liluy nishmas the pure neshama of Yissaschar Dov Berish ben Reb Shloime.
They have responded. And how!
With enthusiasm and passion, eager not just to create zechusim for this extraordinary neshama, but to bring a little more emunah in their own lives.
Men and women. Adults and children. Regardless of community, demographic, level of observance or family minhag - emunah lives in the neshamah, and for anyone with a Divine spark, the message resonated.
With his conviction and sincerity, Reb Shloimi has been opening hearts across the Jewish world, and if people undertook to recite the Ani Ma’amin’s simply as a zechus, they quickly realized the tangible benefits as well.
One who begins the day proclaiming their faith is enveloped with a serenity and confidence that makes whatever lies ahead a bit easier to handle. They internalize emunah, bringing blessing and joy into their homes.
Dovi came from a long line of people who had survived with nothing intact but their faith, bodies which had endured pain and oppression, but souls that burned bright.
His ancestors faced one sort of challenge. Today, in times of plenty, we face another, but the solution remains the very same: Ani Ma’amin Bi’emunah Sheleimah - the song of a nation that has never let go.
It’s exactly as Dovi would have wanted, people more connected to the Ribbono shel Olam and happier in their own lives as well.