web analytics
December 18, 2014 / 26 Kislev, 5775
 
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
8000 meals Celebrate Eight Days of Chanukah – With 8,000 Free Meals Daily to Israel’s Poor

Join Meir Panim’s campaign to “light up” Chanukah for families in need.



The Life Of A Legendary Posek

Rabbi Yosef Sholom Elyashiv, zt"l

Rabbi Yosef Sholom Elyashiv, zt"l

The birth of Rabbi Yosef Sholom Elyashiv – who died in Jerusalem last week at the age of 102 – is thought by many to be a miracle.

Despite sixteen years of prayer and longing for a child, the chief rabbi of Homel, Rabbi Avraham Erener, and his wife, Chaya Musha, remained childless. According to one story – often repeated by Rabbi Elyashiv’s children – it was only after an incident when Rebbetzin Erener displayed tremendous compassion by curbing well-deserved anger after a display of cruelty by a distraught neighbor, that Rebbetzin Erener was told by her father, Rabbi Shlomo Elyashiv (author of the classic kabbalistic work Leshem Shevo V’achlamah), that her selfless actions would merit the blessing of a child who was destined to greatness. Rabbi Yosef Sholom Elyashiv was born one year later on April 10, 1910 in Lithuania.

His survival throughout the years faced additional hurdles, as numerous times from childhood on Rabbi Elyashiv was stricken with serious illnesses from which he was not expected to recover. Upon the advice of the Chofetz Chaim, in 1922, Rabbi Avraham Erener took on his wife’s family name, Elyashiv, in order to consolidate the two families and obtain a uniform immigration certificate allowing them to enter the British mandate of Palestine. This move was facilitated by Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak Kook, the Ashkenazic chief rabbi of Israel. Seven years later, Rabbi Kook once again took on an important role in the life of then 19-year-old Rabbi Elyashiv, arranging his marriage to Sheina Chaya Levin, daughter of esteemed Jerusalem Rabbi Aryeh Levin.

When they arrived in Palestine, Rabbi Avraham founded Tiferes Bachurim, a beis medrash in Meah Shearim, where he would deliver a nightly lecture. After his sudden passing, his only son, 32-year-old Rabbi Yosef Sholom Elyashiv succeeded him. Until close to the turn of the century, Rabbi Elyashiv was available every night to individuals seeking answers to various halachic inquiries. Rabbi Elyashiv’s vast Torah knowledge was acquired without ever attending a formal yeshiva. From when he was a small child until his father’s death, the two learned for several hours daily. The pair covered the entire Shas, Rambam, and all of Shulchan Aruch by the time Rabbi Elyashiv was married in 1930. After his marriage, Rabbi Elyashiv began studying at Ohel Sarah, another beis medrash in the neighborhood.

Rabbi Elyashiv fathered five sons and seven daughters, two of whom did not survive to adulthood. A son, Yitzchak, succumbed to an illness at a young age and a daughter, Rivka, died in a Jordanian shelling attack in 1948. Sons Shlomo, Moshe, Binyamin and Avraham Elyashiv are all considered great scholars in their own right and all of Rabbi Elyashiv’s daughters married prominent rabbis. The eldest of Rabbi Elyashiv’s daughters was the renowned and beloved Rebbetzin Batsheva Kanievsky, a”h, wife of Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky. She passed away just months ago.

Rabbi Elyashiv, serving as a judge with the Israeli Chief Rabbinate until 1972, was close with other great Torah leaders, including Rabbi Betzalel Zolty, Rabbi Yaakov Ades, Rabbi Eliezer Goldsmidt and Rabbi Ovadia Yosef. He ultimately earned a position on the Supreme Rabbinical Court. Rabbi Elyashiv was persuaded by Rabbi Elazar Menachem Mann Shach, zt”l, the rosh yeshiva of the famed Ponovitch Yeshiva in Bnei Brak, to take a more active role in Jewish public life in 1989 and was the spiritual leader of the Degel HaTorah Party.

Unlike many of today’s widely respected rabbinical figures, Rabbi Elyashiv was not the head of any congregation, yeshiva or community but was still one of the most widely sought out authorities in our generation and was considered by many to be a gadol hador and the leading posek for Ashkenazic Jewry. Rabbi Elyashiv began his day at 3 a.m. and was known to sleep for not more than three or four hours nightly, spending the remainder of his day deeply immersed in Torah studies, delivering shiurim, answering often complex halachic questions and receiving the many visitors who flocked to see him from all over the world. He was known not only as a man of great learning, but also as a man who appreciated and respected the value and dignity of every person.

Rabbi Elyashiv lived a life of simplicity in his small apartment on Rechov Chanan in Meah Shearim, and his reputation for impeccable integrity and concern for others was beyond compare. As a young couple, Rabbi Elyashiv and his wife moved into that apartment at the request of his parents who wished to be close to their only child. They lived together in that two-bedroom apartment for approximately twenty-five years. That was where all the Elyashiv children were raised and where Rabbi Elyashiv lived until his last day.

Many of Rabbi Elyashiv’s rulings and words, many dating back over fifty years, have been collected in writing and have been published – not by Rabbi Elyashiv himself, but by his students and relatives – in sefarim, offering insights on the Torah. The published works include a Pesach Haggadah; the multi-volume responsa Kovetz Teshuvos; a work of his halachic rulings, Yashiv Moshe; and a collection on Jewish thought called Divrei Aggadah, among others. Rabbi Elyashiv was also respected as a kabbalist and was once described by Rabbi Aharon Leib Steinman as the only person in our generation who understands Kabbalah.

Despite several difficult illnesses, Rabbi Elyashiv continued his rigorous schedule until his final days, outliving the many doctors who had forecast his imminent passing from his youth onward.

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “The Life Of A Legendary Posek”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
The Harvard seal, "veritas," on the side of a Harvard building.
Harvard Will Investigate, But Will it Reverse SodaStream Boycott?
Latest Indepth Stories
Keeping-Jerusalem

Police play down Arab terrorism as mere “violence” until the truth can no longer be hidden.

Sprecher-121914

The 7 branches of the menorah represent the 7 pillars of secular wisdom, knowledge, and science.

Russia Cuba relations

Obama obtained NO verifiable commitments from Cuba it would desist from acts prejudicial to the US

No one would deny that the program subjected detainees to less than pleasant treatment, but the salient point is, for what purpose?

For the past six years President Obama has consistently deplored all Palestinian efforts to end-run negotiations in search of a UN-imposed agreement on Israel.

It’s not an admiration. It is simply a kind of journalist fascination. It stands out, it’s different from more traditional Orthodoxy.

For Am Yisrael, the sun’s movements are subservient to the purpose of our existence.

Israelis now know Arab terrorism isn’t caused by Israeli occupation but by ending Israeli occupation

Anti-Semitism is a social toxin that destroys the things that people most cherish and enjoy.

Amb. Cooper highlighted the impact of the Chanukah/Maccabee spirit on America’s Founding Fathers

Zealousness has its place and time in Judaism; Thank G-d for heroic actions of the Maccabees!

Israel and the strengthening of the Jewish people in faith and numbers has brought a growing light

“Can you hear what the dead are whispering? Leave Galut, escape to Eretz Israel-Lech lecha!”

3 main messages emerged from this conference: Communications, Community, and Collaboration.

More Articles from Sandy Eller
Eller-121914-Main

“The secret to a good donut is using quality ingredients and the ability to be patient and give them time to proof.”

Consummate-Consumer-logo-NEW

It may be sweater weather now, but sooner or later summer will be here, bringing abundant sunshine, swimming, barbeques and mosquitoes.

Demetrious’ insistence on handmaking his chocolaty treasures with only the highest quality ingredients paid off in customer loyalty…

It seems ironic to use the words “Ronald McDonald” and “kosher” in the same sentence, but venture out to New Hyde Park and the two go hand in hand.

Just a single word can sum up one of the most disturbing trends that continues to sweep our supermarkets: downsizing.

Until that point, everything we had eaten at Butterfish had excelled in its simplicity, but our desserts offered a much greater level of complexity and both were truly outstanding.

“I work around the Jewish calendar, always trying to think of creative spins,” noted Chani.

“You don’t just choose a school, you choose a community,” said Erik Kessler, director of admissions, communications and human resources at The Moriah School.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/news-extra/the-life-of-a-legendary-posek/2012/07/25/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: