In the Kanievsky’s house there was true ahavat Yisrael. There were no Ashkenazim and Sefardim, religious and non-religious. There were just Jews and their problems. And if a Jew had a problem it was Rebbetzin Kanievsky’s problem – and it did not matter how well or how tzniusdik the person was dressed. The Rebbetzin greeted everyone with her big smile and listening ear. She gave advice and suggested certain perakim of tehillim to say and mishnayot to learn. I actually saw her listen intently as a mother described her sick child’s condition and asked for advice as to how to proceed. After shedding some tears and giving the mother some chizuk, the Rebbetzin told her that this question was too big for her, it was really a question to be posed to her father – Rav Elyashiv, shlita.
I was by the Rebbetzin right after Yom Kippur when a giyoret came for a bracha. She was 50 years old and had just converted. She came to ask the Rebbetzin to give her a bracha for hatzlacha and for a shidduch! Another woman there was pregnant and her baby was in a breech position. She wanted a bracha that the baby would turn. The Rebbetzin proceeded to massage the swollen belly while reciting some pesukim. She then gave the expecting mother a small booklet of tefilot to say every day. One thing is for sure, the mother left feeling ten times better than when she had first come in, knowing that Rebbetzin Kanievsky was davening for her. Other women were there asking for shidduchim for their daughters….
The Rebbetzin had a good sense of humor. One time I was in her kitchen when she was cooking fish balls for her grandchildren for yom tov. Her pot was so big it took up all four burners on her stove. She told me that she was cooking for all fifty of her grandchildren. She felt it was a zechut for her to do so since they were all learning in yeshiva and it is a zechut to feed yeshiva students. I told her that I only had six grandchildren so far, bli ayin hara. She immediately gave me a bracha that I too should need such a big pot one day. When I went to see her a few days before her petira, I reminded her of the bracha of the pot that she had given me (and that I am expecting some new grandchildren this year im yirtzeh Hashem), she laughingly told me that she already bought a bigger pot….
The Rebbetzin opened her home to all of the seminary students spending the year in Eretz Yisrael. I remember my daughters telling me of their wonderful experiences, of the Shabbos spent in Bnei Brak, davening and baking challah with the Rebbetzin and getting brachot from her. These are experiences that will stay with them forever. Who will fill her place? Who will open her home to all our daughters?
When the Rebbetzin gave you a hug or a kiss you felt as though your bubby was hugging you and telling you that Hashem will help and everything will be okay. And who doesn’t need a hug and some words of chizuk given with a smile?
Rebbetzin Kanievsky was truly a great person. It would be an aliyah for her neshama if we would all try to emulate the love and patience that she had for all of Am Yisrael.
I am very thankful to Hashem that I was allowed the privilege to meet and learn from such a tzadaiket.
May she continue to advocate for all of us on high.