WATCH: “‘The New Maran’ Carries The Chareidi Sector On His Shoulders”

Screenshots/Channel 13 News

As news reports focused on the political drama surrounding the dispute between Degel HaTorah and Agudas Yisrael, with a split having the potential to thwart Binyamin Netanyahu from gaining enough mandates to form a coalition, Channel 13 News published a report on “The New Maran” – HaGaon HaRav Gershon Edelstein, who made the fateful decision on the future of Degel HaTorah.

As the journalist stated: “This decision came from this small room in Bnei Brak.”

The Israeli public became very interested in HaGaon HaRav Gershon Edelstein following the petirah of HaGaon HaRav Chaim Kanivesky, z’tl, as the Rosh Yeshivah was termed the “the next Chareidi leader who inherited the mantle of leadership of the Chareidi public from HaRav Chaim, zt’l.”

The concept of a Gadol B’Torah as a “leader” is so different from that of the secular concept of l’havdil a “secular leader” that it’s difficult to explain. When the interviewer asks UTJ chairman Moshe Gafni: “How did HaRav Edelstein receive the leadership?” Gafni struggled to answer: “There’s no explanation for it that we can put into words,” he said.

“There’s no elections, are there?” the journalist asked.

The video also focused on the fact that viewers shouldn’t think that “the new Maran” is “new” in the traditional sense of the word as he will be celebrating his 100th birthday in a few months, bli ayin hara. Furthermore, as the narrator says, “the new Maran’s central tafkid is davka to safeguard ‘the old’ – that is, tradition.”

“The entire history of the Chareidi sector in Israel is on the shoulders of HaRav Edelstein,” the journalist says. “The story of his life corresponds to the story of the Chareidim in Israel, which was built after the Holocaust, and in a measure more than symbolic, around the flagship yeshivah, Yeshivas Ponevezh.”

The report also mentioned HaRav Edelstein’s words in the past praising IDF soldiers who are moser nefesh for Klal Yisrael and comparing them to the two brothers in Lod, [as told in the Gemara] who gave up their lives for the sake of Klal Yisrael by admitting to a murder they didn’t commit.

Pappus and Lulianius [their Jewish names were Shamayah and Achiyah] were two wealthy Jewish brothers who lived in the city of Laodicea [now in Turkey] during the time of the Roman Empire. When a gentile princess was found dead, the murder was blamed on the Jews and the city’s governor threatened to kill the entire Jewish population in Laodicea. Pappus and Lulianius took responsibility for the murder in order to save the Jews and were executed by a Roman officer.

At the time, HaRav Edelstein was severely criticized for his praise of IDF soldiers by extremist elements in Chareidi society.

The journalist also marveled at the fact that HaRav Edelstein b’chasdei Hashem still delivers a shiur to young bochurim. “It’s the sound of the magical moment of the Olam Hayeshivos – the Rosh Yeshivah says something that intellectually stimulates the young students and the noise of the debates and pilpulim in the sugya begins. It gets more and more intense and it’s impossible to stop it.”

“Everyone, everyone arrives at these wooden doors, to these simple homes of these ascetic individuals and there they unload their burdens and seek brachos,” UTJ Yaakov Asher says toward of the end of the video.

“Divrei Torah are interesting and sweet and this is the happiest life, real happiness,” the video shows HaRav Edelstein telling a group of students – an apt conclusion to the report.

(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)



  1. I don’t mean to sound provocative, but can anyone answer what exactly makes Rav Gershon Edelstein THE Godol HaDor? Considering the facts that:

    1 – Most chareidim (assuming that only chareidim get to decide who is the Gadol Hador) had never een heard of him five years ago

    2 – Many religious sects such as Moroccans, Yemenites, Bucharim, and Italian Jews (among many others) do not follow him for halachah or minhagim. Do they not count as “authentic” Jews?

    3 – I doubt if any of the readers of YWN can say over even three piskei halachah from Rav Edelstein. Who exactly is he a godol of?

    4 – He is a figurehead of a party in the Knesset that campaigns mostly over how much to schnorr from the Israeli public and how much of their chumros (kashrus, no heter mechira, giyur according to their rabbonim etc.) to ram down the Israeli public’s throat. Practically no guidance whatsoever regarding the economy, military, agriculture, housing, or environment affecting all Jews in Israel.

    So after all that, can anyone please explain to me what really makes him a Godol??

  2. As apposed to to Rav Chaim Kanevsky where people basically came for Brachos – by Rav Edelstein one can also come to discuss issues and receive clear guidance on all critical issues.

    A true Manhig Yisroel

  3. Yossi Shtup – I’ve written about this in the past. When you want to learn who is the best, say orthopedic surgeon in the U.S. or in Israel, whom do you consult? The hardware store owners, or guys flipping falafel balls in some kiosk? Absolutely not. You don’t even ask medical students. You get the opinion of as many orthopedic surgeons as you can, and you learn from them whom they consider the biggest expert in the field. Le’havdil, here too, the general Charlie population don’t vote on this. They are not even consulted. The biggest experts in Torah and halacha know who among them is the biggest expert

  4. coffee addict – your crass response demonstrates that you truly live up to your screen name.

    american_yerushalmi – since you’re such a self proclaimed talmid muvhak of the (exclusively Litvish) Gedolim, why not start with yourself – can YOU recite three piskei halachah of Rav Edelstein?? And instead of answering my question, you’re just begging the question even deeper – are you slandering the entire kehillot of Moroccans, Yemenites, Bucharim, and Italian Jews to be a “Charlie population” ח”ו ?!

    You are all just proving my deep suspicion that what passes for “Kovod HaTorah” is just Haredi Litvish ethnocentrism.

  5. addict

    he is a leader of the yeshiva world every chareidi knows him for a long time

    rav shach was also leader of the yeshiva world he was not a poseik and did not issue halachic rulings

    please note that you hate the yeshiva world before commenting

  6. @shtup
    Your first 3 questions, although asked of ignorance at best, could have been non-provocative. But you showed ur true colors with the fourth.

    Let’s start answering the non-questions:
    1) Let’s assume that’s true. So what?
    2) They don’t follow him for halacha or minhagim. OK. That doesn’t stop him from potentially being the Godol Hador–just as a Sephardi can be a godol hador although Ashkenazim don’t follow his customs.
    3) What does “WHO is he a godol of” mean? Who[m] is he greater than? Everyone, according to the author of the article. Why does knowledge of his pesakim, or lack thereof, affect his gadlus?
    4) And with this disgusting (question) [editorial] you give yourself away.
    “He is a figurehead of a party in the Knesset–” No. He is the advisor, or maybe even leader.
    “how much of their chumros (kashrus, no heter mechira”, giyur according to their rabbonim etc.) to ram down the Israeli public’s throat. ”
    You didn’t mention one chumra. Kashrus is a biblical requirement, not a “chumra.” Heter Mechira, as currently done by the state, isn’t muttar at all.
    Giyur according to their rabanim–meaning, according to the biblical mandates, is not a chumra.
    “ramming down their throat.” Not provocative at all.

    “Practically no guidance whatsoever regarding the economy, military, agriculture, housing, or environment affecting all Jews in Israel.”
    True. They leave that for the economists, militaries, agricultural experts, and contractors, instead of ramming their own opinions down the public’s throat. And the environment doesn’t affect all Jews in Israel. It affects the environmentalists, and they offer “guidance”, or whatever.

  7. Yossi shtup,

    I’m copying your crass response regarding a gadol, and how do you know “the litvish world” hasn’t heard of Rav Gershon Eidelstien, unless you think you’re the litvish world


    I don’t think your comment was meant for me

  8. Yossi Shtup:
    You are absolutely right of course. The truth is its all political. He is a talmid chochom to be sure but he in no way the Gadol Hador he is just someone everyone respects. Rav Chaim Kinevsky was recognized by all as the Godol Hador. But Harav Gershon Edelstein (kvodo bemkomo munach) is not at all in that league. Its just that the Degel Hatorah needed someone to proclaim as the Gadol who heads their party so they chose Rav edelstein. Mr. Gafni sure couldn’t put it into words because there are no legitimate words.
    and american_yerushalmi please get real…”The biggest experts in Torah and halacha know who among them is the biggest expert” really? first of all who pray tell are those “biggest experts” you are referring to?

  9. coffee addict – I am indeed intricately familiar with the litvish world, after all, I regularly read YWN 🙂

    Participant – apparently you drank the Kool-Aid that the corrupt askonim and politicians from the Agudah fed you! Gedolim do not micromanage the affairs and policies of the Agudah. This is a known fact, and the Brisker Rav zt”l and the Satmar Rav zt”l were critical of the Agudah for that very reason – it is a layman’s organization that pays lip service to following the Gedolim.

    And your definition of a Godol Hador is dead wrong! Chazal state “פוק חזי מאי עמא דבר” – go see what the people are doing. A Godol Hador is by definition a leader of the generation – i.e. the yidden. Reb Ovadia Yosef zt”l was a true godol because nearly every Sefardi family carried his seforim and many followed his piskei halachah.

    Not so Rav Edelstein שליט”א. He is unquestionably a tremendous Talmid Chacham, but so are many rabbis at YU. That doesn’t make them gedolim. Since when he is a godol if none of you heilige commenters can tell me ANY psak halacha of Rav Edlestein??!! Is there a club in Bnei Brak that decides who is the Godol Hador? And if he is the Godol Hador, then doesn’t that make you a hypocrite for not even being familiar with the rulings of your own leaders?

    There is much more to respond to your disingenuous self-righteous posturing, but I’ll leave it at that for now.

  10. Yossi Shtup : 100% accurate. Rav Schach wrote the Avi Ezri which is still recognized today as a tremendous in depth chibbur delving into many of the most complicated sugyos in Shas. It has the famous haskama of the Brisker Rav he was a true Gadol. Rav Shteinman was seen as his successor because Rav Shach personally wanted it so, and he also was a true Gadol in his own right his Sefer Ayeles Hashachar on many Masechtos is very widely used in the olam hayeshivos and recognised by all lomdei torah as an important chibbur on shas. Rav Edelstein however is not at all in this league. He is not recognised as a great Rosh Yeshiva or Mechaber sforim he is not recognised at all by lomdei torah as the greatest among them. Its all just political.