Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion: “HaRav Chaim, Z’tl, Belonged To Everyone”

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Illustrative. Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion with HaGaon HaRav Chaim Kanievsky, zt'l. (Photo: Shuki Lehrer)

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Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion spoke with Arutz Sheva on Sunday about his impressions of HaGaon HaRav Chaim Kanievsky, whom he consulted with many times over the years.

“I knew a giant person, a walking Sefer Torah, an ascetic,” Lion said. “When I visited his home, there was a passageway through his bedroom – you saw a small and narrow bed. A person like him could have lived in great wealth and kavod but that didn’t speak to him.”

“Even after I entered the room he was in, he would continue learning from his sefer. He was always with a sefer and learning. And then for a moment, he would turn his attention to me. He didn’t speak much but his yes or no would speak volumes – as well as his brachos.”

“One of the last times I met with HaRav Kanievsky was at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, when I came to ask him to support the closure of the Talmudei Torah. He was the first to agree and I remember the impact he had on the decision. The moments he said to close [the schools] for several days, they all closed and then again when he instructed the schools to open.”

“After a meeting with him, I would have a feeling of spiritual fulfillment for a long time. We simply miss him. I feel that we lost a figure who was so significant in the Jewish world.”

Lion added that what was special about HaRav Chaim, z’tl, was his ability to capture the hearts of the public. “It’s not a secret that HaRav Kanievsky was extremely special. People from all stripes of society gathered around him. People with knitted kippos visited him, secular people, Litvaks, and chassidim. He belonged to everyone.”

(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)