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JERUSALEM – Thousands gathered at Shaare Tzedek Medical Center, the Kotel and yeshivot across Israel Tuesday praying for Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv – Yosef Shalom ben Chaya Mousha – the 101-year-old leading contemporary authority on Jewish law who was in a medically induced coma after suffering kidney and lung failure.

Prayers were also being said in yeshivot and synagogues in New York and other cities around the world.

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Several haredi Knesset members and close relatives visited Rav Elyashiv on Tuesday. Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat arrived in the afternoon. Israeli president Shimon Peres said “The entire nation is concerned about the condition of the leader of the Torah world.”

According to the Israeli Kikar Shabbat website, doctors were guardedly optimistic late Tuesday as Rav Elyashiv’s condition showed signs of improvement; his system was stabilizing and there reportedly was a resumption of kidney function.

Rav Elyashiv has been in and out of the hospital several times during the past few months. Despite his tenuous health, he continued to return to his modest apartment in Meah Shearim and maintained a fairly full daily schedule. As the titular head of the haredi Degel HaTorah political faction in the Knesset, he was also briefed on major developments affecting the yeshiva world.

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