A horrific multi-vehicle pileup on the Nassau Expressway early last Wednesday morning resulted in an unspeakable tragedy: the loss of a young chosson and kallah engaged for a little over a week and set to marry in a few months.
Elisheva Kaplan a”h, and Yisroel Levin z”l, were victims in the 1:40 am collision involving five vehicles. Among five people who were injured, two were arrested. The couple’s car was engulfed in flames.
Elisheva was a Far Rockaway resident whose parents, Joel and Leah Kaplan, are oskim b’tzorchei tzibbur in the community and whose father is chazzan at Beth Shalom in Lawrence. Yisroel’s parents are beloved mispallelim of the Mirrer Yeshiva and Agudas Yisroel Snif Zichron Shmuel and his father is Rabbi Shaya Levin of Flatbush.
A levayah for both niftarim was held at 11 am on Thursday in Yeshiva Darchei Torah on Beach 17 Street, Far Rockaway.
Kevurah for Elisheva was in Beth David Cemetery in Elmont following the levayah. Kevurah for Yisroel was on Sunday in Beit Shemesh, next to his older brother, Ari (Aryeh) Levin z”l, who was niftar from an illness two years ago.
Police believed the two under arrest were driving while intoxicated but the cause of the crash was undetermined at press time. Nassau Police spokesman Det. Lt. Richard LeBrun said a heavy fog could have been a contriubuting factor.
The crash occurred near Burnside Avenue in Inwood. The couple was returning from a visit to Yisroel’s grandparents in Monsey, Hamodia reported.
Rabbi Levin, Yisroel’s father, delivered a powerful address at the levayah in Israel on Sunday in which he spoke of the tragedy as a means of connecting to the pain that Hashem experiences (figuratively) because the Jewish people are in exile, Hamodia said.
“My and my wife’s attitude is that this is not our loss, it is Klal Yisroel’s loss,” Rabbi Levin said. “We don’t understand Hashem’s cheshbonos. He gives us nisyonos so that we can grow from them. After Ari was niftar, I said that my goal is to bring zechusim for him.”
The legacy of Yisroel and Elisheva “has to be Shechinta b’galusah,” Rabbi Levin continued. “Klal Yisroel should have a burning desire and a pain — the pain of the Shechinah [which should bother us deeply], and with that we can bring Moshiach.”