Together with all of Klal Yisrael, the Orthodox Union mourns the passing of Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, zecher tzadik livracha, at age 102. Revered by many as the posek ha-dor (outstanding halachic authority), he was the preeminent leader of the Hareidi community in both Israel and the diaspora.
“The impact of Rav Elyashiv’s halachic opinions on our daily lives will continue to be felt for generations to come,” said Rabbi Steven Burg, Managing Director of the Orthodox Union. “His vast Torah knowledge was imbued with a love for Am Yisrael that was reflected in the time he devoted each day to answering the questions of the many people who lined up to see him, as well as those he received from rabbanim around the world.”
Rabbi Dr. Tzvi Hersh Weinreb, OU Executive Vice President, Emeritus, reflected, “The passing of Rav Elyashiv is a profound loss for all of the Jewish people. While most of us are incapable of fully appreciating the depth of his piety and the breadth of his erudition, we can all grasp the fact that he was the last link to a previous generation.”
Born in Lithuania, he was brought by his parents to the land of Israel at age 12. He was married to Sheina Chaya, a daughter of the famed Rabbi Aryeh Levine, and had 12 children. Despite his acclaim as a gadol hador (world-renowned rabbinic leader), he lived an extremely modest lifestyle. His advice was sought rabbis as well as by individuals from all over the world, and his halachic opinions on a wide variety of topics, published in three volumes entitled Ashrei Ha-Ish, helped shape the contemporary Orthodox lifestyle. As the spiritual leader of the Degel HaTorah party, he was a major influence in Israeli affairs.
Rabbi Weinreb added, “Rav Elyashiv was already a distinguished scholar before most of us were born. He was an exemplar of lifelong devotion to Torah study, and was blessed to be able to persist in his intense commitment to Torah learning and teaching until his final hours. May his memory be a blessing to all of Israel.”
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