They did not understand Rav Elyashiv

Yitzy Sprung referred to this nice article in context of my earlier article.

Rav Elyashiv retired from the Rabbanut, as mentioned. He had only one interest after that: to learn Torah. As R Schachter explains, when you are a Dayan for the State, your context is as wide as your constituency. You will necessarily consider certain leniencies in keeping with the audience of your opinion. The decisions back then are published by Heichal Shlomo.

Once he retired, he didn’t put out an advertisement which said “Psaks-R-us” or seek a new appointment. Rather, because of his reputable erudition, people gravitated to him. His home became a magnet over time for major questions, and eventually the not so major. His audience was now very different and the strictness in his approach consistent with that.

In that context it made absolutely no sense to appoint a “successor”
He knew there were other Poskim that people could and did turn to. He chose not to impose a successor.

I would argue that this might have been one of the most profound Psak/legacy that he left us!

Author: pitputim

I'm a computer science professor in Melbourne, Australia. I skylark as the band leader/singer for the Schnapps band. My high schooling was in Chabad and I continued at Yeshivat Kerem B'Yavneh in Israel.

12 thoughts on “They did not understand Rav Elyashiv”

  1. Isn’t it intresting to see how the humam mind works, you write: In that context it made absolutely no sense to appoint a “successor”, He knew there were other Poskim that people could and did turn to. He chose not to impose a successor”, and you don’t even think, that he had no authority to appint anybody, as in the litvishe world you don’t impose or appoint, as you know that you your self was appointed by a “commitee” of some sort. and once you are dead, “lachaim chofshi” to choose another person, as was in am Isroel since yehoshua.

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    1. Of course he had the authority, but unlike Rav Schach, who wasn’t a Posek, but was a Rosh Yeshivah and fiery politician, Rav Elyashiv was nothing like that. He was a Posek who learned all day every day, and unfortunately when he got much older, the agenda-laden Askonim cotton wooled him.

      I read somewhere that Rav Heineman wanted to discuss his Shabbos (really Yom Tov) oven with Rav Elyashiv. However, the Askanim refused to let him through unless he promised NOT to speak about this topic.

      The Askanim of today have much to answer for.

      An interesting side note: at one stage Rav Elyashiv and Rav Shlomo Zalman were learning in the same Beis Medrash. Apparently, when they had finished Seder, they used to go to Rav Kook’s house and peer through a window. They saw Rav Kook’s holy countenance as he was still learning. They said this gave them both chizuk to strive more.

      It is is not surprising then, that despite all Charedi attempts to denigrate Rav Kook, that these two continued saying, until their last days, that Rav Kook was an Ish Kadosh and misunderstood by some Charedim.

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  2. are you able to explain the connection betweenlearning all day every day and authoriity, to appoint a ssuccessor. i don’t think that he had a g-d given right to do it.

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    1. He didn’t and I would argue that a comparison between Rav Schach and Rav Elyashiv, surely show that one was a major politician who saw a need to establish a newspaper, and the other sat and learned and answered questions. How many things did he INITIATE as opposed to RESPOND to when asked?

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  3. i didn’t say that he initiate even one thing, or that he didn’t learn day and night. my question related to you assumtion that he had authority (from whom?) to appoint a ssuccessor, or if the fact that he didn’t says anything about him.

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  4. i didn’t say that he initiated even one thing, or that he didn’t learn day and night. my question related to you assumption that he had authority (from whom?) to appoint a ssuccessor, or if the fact that he didn’t says anything about him.

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    1. If he headed an organisation, that organisation could vest him with the power to appoint a successor. He didn’t.

      However, in the minds of Litvishe Chassidim, there was a quasi organisation known as “Maran Posek HaDor” or “Maran Gadol HaDor”. The position doesn’t exist in any formal way anymore than “Nasi HaDor” or “Manhig HaDor”. These are in the minds and actions of others.

      Unlike Rav Schach, Rav Elyashiv did not follow the practice of anointing a “successor” to a quasi organisation that he didn’t seek to lead. My point is again, they came to him for Piskei Din. He answered.

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  5. you wrote:

    “If he headed an organisation, that organisation could vest him with the power to appoint a successor. He didn’t”.

    However, in the minds of Litvishe Chassidim, there was a quasi organisation known as “Maran Posek HaDor” or “Maran Gadol HaDor”. The position doesn’t exist in any formal way anymore than “Nasi HaDor” or “Manhig HaDor”. These are in the minds and actions of others.

    The official position of “Maran Posek HaDor” or “Maran Gadol HaDor”, “the rebbe Nasi HaDor” or “the rebbe Manhig HaDor”, never existed in any formal or even in an unformal way in the Jewish history, I think that this “official” position was invented after the 2nd world war, when organizations were fighting for power to control the Jewish world, and every organization invented a title with Hador in it.

    When did Harav Shach appoint a “successor” to any organization?

    Your point is again, that they came to him for Piskei Din, and my point is again, that he had no right to appoint anyone.

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    1. According to Wikipedia Based on an article in Mishpacha which I have not seen (but this appears to be the common view)

      “In 1989, upon the establishment of the religious political party Degel HaTorah, Elazar Shach asked Elyashiv to join in the public leadership, and Elyashiv acceded to his request. He came to the major public gatherings of Degel HaTorah and shared in the task of rendering decisions.”

      One could conclude that if he had followed the approach of Rav Schach, he might have asked someone else to do so?

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        1. I don’t think Rav Efrati had a relationship with Rav Schach. Rav Efrati was very heavily into Halacha when I knew him and he gravitated to Rav Elyashiv well before the political appointment. I know that because I got to Rav Elyashiv through my personal relationship with Rav Efrati. Nebach, Many of Rav Efrati’s kids are not well. He went very white quickly. He comes from a famous family as you know. His father was Rosh Kashrus in Yerushalyim as I recall. He became well known when he wrote a kuntress which I have somewhere on Maaser Ksofim

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  6. Re appointing a successor, reminds me of where a Rebbe’s son told one of the big chassidic leaders, that he wants to set up court and become Rebbe, because his father came to him in a dream, and told him to become a Rebbe.

    The Chassidic master’s response was: “it’s not enough that you dreamt it, the chassidim are the ones’ that need to dream it..

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