Almost every morning Rav Elyashuv was honored to be sandek at one or more bris milah ceremony. A car would be waiting for him at the bottom of the staircase. As his foot would touch the bottom rung, an attendant opened the car door for him. Rav Elyashiv slowly sat down and buckled his seat belt, thus bringing to a close whatever conversation(s) was (were) underway.
Rav Elyashiv, citing my great-grandfather’s responsa, endorsed my suggestion of multiple simultaneous readers of copies of my shul’s Sefer Zikaron.
Personal Reminiscence (II)
In May 2002, while the Second Intifada was raging, Rabbi Pesach Lerner, then-executive vice president of the National Council of Young Israel, organized, in conjunction with the Young Israel Council of Rabbis, an emergency rabbinic mission to Israel.
Included in the mission’s itinerary was bringing donated Sifrei Torah to the Israel Defense Forces. Rabbi Lerner had already secured 60 Sifrei Torah for the Israeli army. The mission brought another eight. (As of July 2012, Rabbi Lerner has facilitated the donation of more than 200 Sifrei Torah for IDF soldiers.)
A highlight of the mission was a scheduled meeting with Rav Elyashiv. We were privileged to meet with him on Tuesday, May 23, 2002. Earlier that day we were in the Golan, at the site where a nine-year-old girl had been murdered by terrorists. From there, we proceeded to Jerusalem to meet with Rav Elyashiv.
We were ushered through a large group of waiting petitioners to receive Rav Elyashiv’s encouragement. In addition, each of us was blessed personally. Rav Elyashiv thanked us for coming called our mission a holy effort. We came to give strength. Instead, it was we who were strengthened.
Rav Elyashiv’s Sefarim Study
Anyone who has had the privilege of visiting leading halachic authorities knows you’ll always find them in their relatively small library/study, sitting at a modest table piled high with sefarim, immersed in learning Torah while surrounded by overloaded, inexpensive book cases.
Usually, other visitors are in the study at the same time or at the doorstep, making for a crowded venue. Seldom if ever is any single-line telephone found on the desk. Sophisticated telephone or communication systems are never found there.
This describes the sefarim study we were ushered into on our visit to Rav Elyashiv. Rav Elyashiv looked up from the sefarim he was perusing and, having previously been told of our visit, immediately understood who we were, what we were looking to accomplish, and what we needed.
With just a few words he carefully instructed us on how we were to proceed. His advice was comprehensive, so much so that none of us had any further questions. We left the study as though we were taking leave of Mount Sinai.