Inside the Home of ALS Patient Rabbi Yitzi Hurwitz by Ellie

Inside the Home of ALS Patient Rabbi Yitzi Hurwitz by Ellie

Every day each of us faces challenges we’d rather not. A challenging child, husband, relative, mood, or other situation. For most of us human beings, our natural reaction to these challenges is to grumble, to feel frustrated, to look accusingly up at the Heavens and say “Why is this happening to me?.” Which is what makes it so awe-inspiring to see the acceptance and even joy with which ALS patient Rabbi Yitzy Hurwitz and his rebbetzin have met his illness.

The following remarkable letter was written by a woman who delivered a meal to the Hurwitz home about what she saw there….

This week I had one of the most incredible experiences of my life.

This past Thursday, I made a meal for the family of Rabbi Yitzi Hurwitz. He is the rabbi from the music video “Shine a Little Light” (below) and some might say that he is “suffering” from ALS.

But when I walked into their home, met his wife, and then met Rabbi Hurwitz, hundreds of words came to my mind to describe what I felt there and not one of them was even close to “suffering.”

What I experienced in the Hurwitz home was barely something our human minds can grasp. What you have here is a “regular” family, living in LA, dealing with the reality that unfortunately the galus of olam hazeh (the exile of This World) has provided them.

But what they’ve created with their reality is anything but regular. It is a pure example, one of the clearest I’ve ever seen, of rising above the yetzer haras (evil inclinations) of our world and achieving spiritual greatness. In every aspect of their existence, the Hurwitzes show that they are not overcome by their challenges, rather they are overcoming them.

Mrs. Hurwitz exemplifies shalva, tranquility. She welcomed me into her home with a shining smile and a warm heart. Their home is simple, a place to live in, not a place to dwell on.

And then she took me in to meet Rabbi Hurwitz. The craziest part was how normal everything was. She spoke to him and told him what was happening, who I was, how good the food smelled. I introduced myself and he smiled at me (his only working muscle aside from his eyes in his entire body) and then he wrote with his eyes on his computer that he was grateful for the food I had brought them.

I did not feel for a second like I was in the home of someone sick, waiting to die. Quite the contrary, they were radiating life.
It feels like this, I think, because they have made it their avodah (spiritual work) to use what HaShem has given them as their means of serving HaShem. And they are doing this to their utmost potential and most importantly, with joy.

One of the reasons I think my visit to the Hurwitz home touched me so deeply is because it gives me hope. It showed me that our happiness and fulfillment in this is world is not dependent on where we live, whom we’re with, what we have, or what we don’t have. Because we really don’t know which of those things is right for us. We have to just take what’s before us and run with it. That is exactly what I witnessed in the Hurwitz’s home.

They were proudly proclaiming “Thank you HaShem for what we have, we love You so much!”

This sounds a little funny, but one of the things I thought after I left their home was that if someone offered me an ice cream, a pair of shoes, a thousand dollars, none of those would fill me up at all compared to what I had just witnessed.

These material things that we are constantly, thoughtlessly running after in an attempt to feel full don’t come close to the fulfillment we can create with the very things we already have.

And what I want to really stress is how otherworldly true fulfillment can be if we take the time and effort to respond to our reality, including our challenges, in the way we were truly meant to.

I daven that HaShem should give us total clarity to see the things in our lives–like the Hurwitz family– that can bring us to such great heights and the strength and conviction to fly high through them, creating our best selves, brightening the world, and bringing mashiach ASAP.

Have an amazing week!
Love, Ellie


  1. let’s also daven for his refuah sheleimah!

  2. Incredibly inspiring!

  3. Yitzi continues to write inspirational divrei Torah using his computer. I just shared his column on advice to husbands.
    Refuah shelaima now!

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