In a video that was shot some 15 years ago and published for the first time in Kikar Hashabbat Saturday night, Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky, considered a leading authority in Haredi Jewish society, is seen speaking to his disciple, Rabbi Uri Tiger, who asks him a question regarding a Jewish businessman whose Arab contractor is cheating him, demanding more and more money (see the video below starting at s.45):
Rabbi Kanievsky inquires: “Why hire a gentile?”
To which Rabbi Tiger responds: “They are the cheapest today.”
Rabbi Kanievsky then says: “It is not proper to hire a gentile.”
But when Rabbi Tiger asks for his blessing for the businessman, Rabbi Kanievsky gives him his blessing.
Considering the fact that Rabbi Kanievsky is the spiritual leader of the Lithuanian camp of the Haredi public, the above video teaches us a few things: 1. Lithuanian Rabbis are no different from Hassidic Rebbes when it comes to giving blessings; 2. The notion cultivated by the Israeli left and some Haredi politicians about a natural connection between the Haredim and the Arabs is a lot of hooey.
The video features two additional questions, one regarding changing the appearance of a Talmud page to make learning easier, which Rabbi Kanievsky approves without a problem – someone should have told the late Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz.
The second question deals with permitting a yeshiva student to learn in his yeshiva after contracting the swine flu. Rabbi Kanievsky replied that because the student was endangering his fellow students, he should stay at home.
This bit of information, too, we could have used two years ago, as the pandemic was rearing its ugly head.