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    Rabbi Lavi Greenspan is known for
    five things:
    1- He became blind at the age of 26,
    after developing a tumor.
    2- His life has taken many twists, but
    he has more faith in Hashem
    than any man you’ve ever met.
    3- He passed the bar, became a lawyer,
    and received smicha after he
    lost his vision.
    4- Everyone that meets him, loves him!
    5- He never found a partner with whom
    to live his life; one centered
    around Torah and mitzvos.

    For years, Lavi would talk about his
    loneliness. He wanted nothing more
    than to share his faithful life with
    his soulmate. But, for many obvious
    reasons, it became very difficult for him
    to find a woman with whom to spend his

    After 25 years of searching, that stage
    in his life had finally come to an end,
    and he got married this past November
    to his eishes chayil, Nechama, who
    clearly brings comfort to his life as
    her name suggests. Together they have
    an unshakable faith and a resolute
    determination to find the good in
    everything life presents to them.

    This past weekend, R’ Lavi was in the
    Catskills for Shabbos at Yeshiva of
    South Fallsburg & Ari Hirsch from the
    Country Vues had a chance to catch up
    with R’ Lavi in Woodbourne.

    In your mid-twenties your life
    completely changed. Can you please
    tell everyone the story about how you
    lost your vision?
    At the age of 24, I found out I had a tumor
    in my pituitary gland. I went to Mount
    Sinai hospital in Manhattan, and they
    told me I needed two operations because

    it was so big. One was a nine hour open-
    head surgery and the other was a six hour

    surgery through my nose. Two weeks
    later, my surgeon told me I had a CSF
    leak, a cerebral spinal fluid leak, that
    required a four hour surgery through the
    nose to close it up, as well as a 4-6 hour
    open-head surgery. Everything was going
    okay until about 8-9 months later. Around
    March of1996, I started to notice that
    some food would come out of my mouth,
    so I went to Dr. Buchbinder at Mt. Sinai
    hospital and he told me that there was
    some scar tissue that was wrapped around
    my jaw because of all the operations. I
    needed another hour and a half of surgery
    to go in and cut all the tissue out. At that
    point, there was very little radiation and
    I had very little hair loss. In September
    of 1997 I was driving on the Van Wyck
    toward Kennedy airport and I ended up
    driving in front of another car. I didn’t see
    him and I knew something was wrong. I
    went to one eye doctor after the other, and
    they told me I was fine. They told me to
    come in once or twice a week to the office
    to do some computer exercises to see if
    my vision improved, but my vision was
    getting worse. I went to a doctor named
    Dr. Joe Mingo from Mt. Sinai hospital;
    he was a new ophthalmologist, but by the
    time I went to see him, I could no longer
    see out of one of my eyes. He told me
    I was probably going to go blind in my
    other eye, which I believe was my left
    eye. My family did some searching and
    found Dr. Scott Fulman from Westchester
    County Medical Center who used a
    different method called a hyperbaric
    chamber. You lie in a glass chamber for
    two hours a day, twice a day, and you
    receive oxygen. Dr. Fulman told me that
    undergoing this oxygen procedure twice
    a day will only keep what I had left, not
    bring back what I had lost. Every time
    I left the hyperbaric chamber, a nurse
    would take my temperature. One time,
    my temperature rose to103. I don’t fully
    recall, but I believe she said she had to
    tell my family, and I think I told her I was
    an adult and I could take care of myself.
    I thank Hashem that she didn’t let me go

    home because my temperature went up to
    105 and I passed out. I later found out I
    had meningitis and was unconscious for
    two and a half days. When I woke up, I
    was in Mount Sinai hospital and was told

    I had to undergo another six hour open-
    head operation, and Dr. Fulman told me

    there was nothing more he could do. By
    Chanukah of 1997, when I was 26 years
    old, I was completely blind and couldn’t
    see a single thing.

    What was your first year without
    having your vision like?
    To be honest I can’t really recall. I can
    tell you this: I became blind in December
    and by January I would thank Hashem
    because he gave me a test. He gives us
    tests that he knows we can pass. From
    January through May I had law school
    finals and I was studying for them. My
    sister, Mireet Wolf, is a lawyer and she
    helped me out with one. My friends
    Dovid Becker and Seth Berkowitz, one
    who was in law school and the other
    who had graduated, helped me study for
    the other tests. Baruch HaShem I passed
    them, but I didn’t really have time to
    think. Then the Lighthouse for the Blind
    came over to my house and adapted my
    house for being blind,
    and then I had my bar
    test. I took a course
    called Barbery, to help
    prepare me for the bar
    exam. Rebbetzin Esther
    Kraus & an anonymous
    friend helped get
    lawyers to assist me.

    Within two days, thirty-
    four lawyers came over

    to help me study. The
    bar is usually a two day
    exam but I ended up getting four days
    because of my situation. You’re allowed
    to have family or friends ask you the
    questions as long as they aren’t lawyers
    or law school students. There were about
    ten or eleven people who volunteered to
    take the test with me, and so it was me,
    my test person, and the proctor in a hotel
    room. Whoever was volunteering at the
    time would ask me the questions and the
    proctor would watch us. Baruch Hashem,
    I passed the New York State Bar Exam
    on the first try.
    The next year I was training to use a
    talking computer at night while finishing
    my smicha at YU during the day. I was
    then hired by a company that I worked

    for, for six years. In 2007 during the
    recession, a bunch of people were let go,
    but the company was very nice to me.
    I was one of the last people to be laid
    off and they gave me a nice severance
    package. I went to LIU’s Social Work
    school, and now I work as a social worker
    at Yeshiva Tiferes Moshe
    in Queens. My wife
    sometimes drives me, or
    I take a cab, or an Uber.

    Mazel Tov!! This past
    November, you had
    some big news: You got
    married. How did you
    meet your special eishes
    chayil, Nechama?
    Last year a friend of mine
    told me his sister had gone to a Kever
    of a tzadik in Buffalo, Rabbi Eliyahu
    Yoseph Rabinowitz. This guy named
    Meir Begun was very nice and paid for
    my friend and I to go up there in March;
    you could see people had been there since
    there were candles lit. We only had about
    15 minutes since we had to get back for
    Mincha and Maariv, but we only made
    it to maariv and had to daven mincha
    b’yechidus. Two weeks later the guy calls
    me up and says “Lavi we have to get you
    married.” So after Pesach, I hired a team
    of five shadchanim and they suggested
    Nechama. Two weeks into dating

    Nechama, a friend of mine met a 13-year-
    old kid who was in a situation that left

    him embarrassed and feeling very bad.

    His friend said, “Stop. Don’t say a word.
    Give Lavi a bracha that he should get
    married.” It was going okay, but there
    were sometimes that I was going to end
    it. This past summer I went to NCSY
    Kollel, which I’ve been doing for several
    years and I talk about my blindness.
    While I was there an nineteen year old
    girl asked me to daven for her to get a
    shidduch. I davened for her. I didn’t focus
    on myself. After I focused on davening
    for her and working on different things,
    things started turning around for me.

    How long did you actually go out with
    We went out for about three months.
    She’s from Denver so it was mostly on
    the phone. We may have gone out six
    times physically when she came to New

    Please tell everyone a little bit about
    Nechama was born and lived her whole
    life in Denver, Colorado. She was born
    and raised as a Protestant Christian and
    becoming frum was a long process.
    Through her search and desire to find the
    emes, she had a passionate yearning to
    find Hashem and eventually live a Torah

    Who walked Nechama down the aisle?
    Rabbi Tzvi & Rebbetzin Bracha
    Steinberg from Denver, presently a
    Rav in Jackson, New Jersey. They were
    both very instrumental in learning with
    Nechama and helping her with her
    journey to conversion over the last few

    What is Nechama doing presently?
    Right now she’s busy being my personal
    secretary. Believe it or not that’s a hard
    job! Before that she was working at
    Yeshiva Toras Chaim in Denver. She’s
    going to be looking for something here in
    New York, but for now she’s just getting
    used to living in New York.

    How amazing was your chasuna?
    I can’t tell you fully; it was so

    Is it true that both Rav Yeruchem
    Olshin from BMG & Rav Hershel
    Schachter from YU were there?
    What’s your connection to them?
    Rav Olshin was the Mesader Kiddushin
    & Rav Schechter read the kesubah.
    I’ve always made an effort to develop
    a relationship with many of the leading
    rabbis in Eretz Yisrael and America,
    calling one daily to hear words of Torah
    and inspiration. Rav Schechter is my main
    posek that I call when I have an important
    shailah. Rav Olshin I call almost every
    day. At the chasuna was Rav Malkiel
    Kotler, Rabbi Ephraim Wachsman Rav
    Elya Ber Wachtfogel, Rav Yitzchok
    Lichtenstein from Torah Vadaath,
    Rav Eliezar Ginsberg, Rav Binyamin
    Carlebach, Rav Dovid Goldwasser, Rav
    Mordechai Jungreis and too many to
    mention, that I can’t even mention them
    all. I enjoy “collecting” and speaking to
    Rabonim. In Israel, I’ve eaten by Rav
    Usher Arieli, and Rav Dovid Cohen
    from Chevron, and had regular meals
    by Rav Noson Tzvi Finkel zt”l, and the
    Novominsker Rebbe zt”l.

    What keeps you going?
    Hashem. I feel that He’s holding
    me in His hand. I can tell you
    two stories you’re not going to
    believe. I sometimes listen to the
    news, and I dropped the radio in
    my parent’s house in the kitchen
    where the floor was flat. I was
    able to reach one piece, but the
    other started rolling under the
    table. I said, “Hashem, I know
    this is a test from You.” The
    minute I said it, the battery started
    rolling right back. Another time
    there was a sucking candy that
    fell under the table, and no one
    was in the house with me. I went
    to get it and I couldn’t find it. I
    went around the dining room
    table, but nothing, so I sat on the
    couch wondering where it could
    be. Then, I’m not lying to you, in
    my head I saw a hand pointing

    in the direction it had rolled, next to
    the couch. Hashem was showing me
    in my head where the candy had gone.
    It reminds me that Hashem is always
    holding my hand.
    Another story: I was with my friends
    on Taanis Esther and we were going to
    collect tzedakah for poor people. We
    were in Kew Gardens Hills and I was on
    the phone trying to find out what house
    we should go to first. I didn’t realize
    it, but a guy had put a gun to my head
    and put his hand in my pocket trying to
    get my wallet. I was being mugged and
    didn’t know it. I thought my friend was
    playing a joke, and I started fighting
    with him. Later that night he got arrested
    because he had killed a Pakistani woman
    who fought them also. I felt that
    they couldn’t kill me because
    Hashem said, “You’re not
    touching my child’s life.”

    Back to the Chasana, was
    there anything special that
    you needed to do as a choson?
    Like under the chuppah,
    when you said “harei at” did
    you have to have someone
    guide you? How did it work
    I don’t remember. I do remember
    that when she was walking
    around me I davened to Hashem

    for other people. I can’t remember
    exactly, because it was so overwhelming.

    What would you say is the secret to
    Simchas Hachayim when things seem
    You need to thank Hashem for everything
    you have. There are people out there with
    major tzaros, but the most important
    thing is to appreciate what you have. If
    you don’t appreciate what you have, you
    could be a multi-billionaire and never be

    Do you think you would have touched
    as many people in your lifetime if you
    didn’t lose your vision?
    Probably not.

    Are you scared that if you see them,
    you might see something you don’t
    want to see?
    No, I don’t think so.

    What do you miss most about your
    I miss seeing Torah,
    my Rebbie, my parents,
    my wife, and of course
    my family all together.
    Another difficulty is
    always depending upon
    others to get places or to
    read. Torah tapes are not
    the same as looking into
    the Torah. At the very
    beginning, when I used
    to get down, I heard a
    story from Rabbi Paysach
    Krohn, about a person in
    Canada who was hit by
    a bullet and he became
    paralyzed from the neck down. How can I
    complain? He can’t feed himself or dress
    himself. He’s stuck in a wheelchair for the
    rest of his life. Not that I was happy about
    his situation, but at the very beginning
    that’s what I used to do: Stop myself from
    complaining by thinking that it could be
    much worse. Afterwards I started to look
    at what I did have, the positive instead of
    the negative. There are many people who
    have much worse problems than I do.

    Are there any mitzvos that you’re
    patur from because of your lack of
    I once asked Rav Dovid Cohen from
    Chevron about saying the bracha of
    “Pokeach Ivrim ‘’ and he said I can say it
    because people who can see can help me
    out, so I have that as kavanah. I was told
    once by Rav Dovid Cohen that I shouldn’t

    light Shabbos candles because I can’t see
    them. Rav Schechter said the same thing
    about Chanukah candles, My father would
    hold my hand when he made the bracha
    on the menorah. With Havdalah candles,
    it’s a machlokes because some say all you
    need is to feel the heat of
    the flame, so when I make
    havdalah I have someone
    else make the Bracha on
    the candle. For Kiddush
    Levana, I ask someone to
    have me in mind because
    they can see the moon.
    The Chofetz Chaim says
    I can get an aliyah except
    for Parshas Parah and
    Zachor because those are
    Deoraysa. I can’t make
    birchas ilanos on the
    fruit trees in Nisan. Some
    people have a minhag
    to rip their clothes after
    visiting the Kotel, but according to
    Rav Eliyashiv, I’m not supposed to do
    that because I can’t see it. For Shiluach
    Hakan I can pick up the egg and make the
    Bracha. Tzitzis doesn’t require eyesight.

    What would you like to do going
    forward in 5 to 10 years?
    I’d like to learn a lot of Torah, I’d like to
    expand my family. I’d like to have happy
    and healthy children. Many children.

    This past Shabbos you were in the
    Catskills spending Shabbos at the
    Yeshiva of South Fallsburg with the
    Rosh Yeshiva, Rabbi Wachtfogel. How
    was your weekend?
    BH, amazing!!
    I know that you have a lot of friends
    upstate in the Catskills over the

    summer. Do you go upstate a lot over
    the summer?
    Yes. I used to go a lot, to friends upstate
    in the bungalow colonies, especially
    Moonlight Cottages. I used to stay by
    Jonathan Gellis a lot. I’m good friends
    with Jeremy Goldzal, Yitzy Jacobowitz,
    and Dovid Gottlieb. I have a lot of
    speaking gigs. I plan on being upstate
    girls’ month at Camp Kaylie for Shabbos
    with kallah Nechama.

    Is it true that you were a counselor at
    Camp HASC?
    Yes. I loved Camp HASC. I was actually
    a counselor there before I became blind
    & really enjoyed it! Lot’s of memories!

    Is there anything else you’d like to tell
    our readers about your journey?
    You should know you’re never alone,
    Hashem is always with you. Hashem is
    with every Jew. Being part of the Jewish
    people is like being part of one big
    family, all brothers and sisters wanting
    to help should you ever need them. The
    greatness of the Jewish community is
    incredible; there’s nothing like it. Mi
    Kamcha Yisrael!!