Yosef Shalom Eliashiv

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Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv
Rabbi Elyashiv at home
Personal details
Born (1910-04-10)April 10, 1910
Nisan 1, 5670 AM (Hebrew calendar)
Šiauliai, Russian Empire
(present-day Lithuania)
Died July 18, 2012(2012-07-18) (aged 102)
Tamuz 28, 5772 AM (Hebrew calendar)
Nationality  Israel
Denomination Orthodox
Parents Rabbi Avraham Elyashiv
Chaya Moussa Elyashiv
Children Moshe
Batsheva Esther (wife of Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky) (d. 2011)
Sarah Rachel (wife of Rabbi Yosef Yisraelson)
Dina Ettel (wife of Rabbi Elchonon Berlin)
Shoshana (wife of Rabbi Yitzchok Zilberstein) (d. 1999)
Leah (wife of Rabbi Ezriel Auerbach) (d. 2010)
Gittel (wife of Rabbi Binyomin Rimmer)
Rivkah (d. 1948)
Signature Yosef Shalom Eliashiv's signature

Yosef Shalom Elyashiv (Hebrew: יוֹסֵף שָׁלוֹם אֶלְיָשִׁיב‎; April 10, 1910 – July 18, 2012) was a Haredi rabbi and posek (arbiter of Jewish law) who lived in Jerusalem, Israel. Until his death at the age of 102, Elyashiv was the paramount leader of both Israel and the Diaspora Lithuanian-Haredi community, and many Ashkenazi Jews regarded him as the posek ha-dor, the contemporary leading authority on halakha, or Jewish law.[1]

He spent most of his days engaged in Talmudical study, and delivered lectures in Talmud and Shulkhan Arukh at a local synagogue in the Meah Shearim area in Jerusalem where he lived.[2] He received supplicants from all over the world and answered the most complex Halakhic inquiries.[1]


Elyashiv was the son of Rabbi Avraham Elyashiv (Erener) of Gomel, Belarus, and Chaya Musha, daughter of the kabbalist Rabbi Shlomo Elyashiv (d. 1925) of Šiauliai, Lithuania. Born in 1910 at Šiauliai, Elyashiv arrived with his parents in Mandatory Palestine in 1922 aged 12.[3] He was an only child, born to his parents after 17 years of marriage.[4] Originally his father's surname was Erener, but his father adopted his father-in-law's surname in order to gain a certificate to enter the British Mandate of Palestine.

At the suggestion of Chief Rabbi of Palestine, Abraham Isaac Kook, Elyashiv married Sheina Chaya (d. June 19, 1994), a daughter of Rabbi Aryeh Levin.[4] The couple had five sons and seven daughters. Six of their daughters married significant rabbinic figures. One son died of illness as a child, and one daughter was killed in 1948 by Jordanian shelling.[4]

In February 2012 the 101-year-old rabbi was admitted into the cardiac intensive care unit of the Jesselson Heart Center at the Shaare Zedek Medical Center under the supervision of cardiology branch head Dan Tzivoni and his personal physician. He was admitted due to an acute condition of edema of the lungs and congestion in the heart. He died on July 18, 2012,[5][6] and was buried on Har HaMenuchot after a late-night funeral procession that attracted an estimated 250,000 people.[7][8]

At the time of his death, he had nearly 1,000 descendants.[9] In 2009 he saw the beginning of a sixth generation, as a grandson was born to one of his great-grandchildren.[5]

Spiritual and political leader

Elyashiv was the spiritual leader of the Degel HaTorah party which has representatives in the Knesset (Israel's parliament). He held great influence over the policies of the party, currently part of the umbrella United Torah Judaism list in the Knesset. Degel HaTorah abided by all his rulings and instructions. 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.[10] Most rosh yeshivas ("yeshiva deans") associated with the Agudath Israel of America movement frequently sought out his opinions and followed his advice and guidelines concerning a wide array of policy and communal issues affecting the welfare of Orthodox Judaism. Eliashiv held no official title, neither as head of a congregation, yeshiva, or particular community.[1]

Published works

The Halakhic rulings and sermonic insights of Eliashiv have been recorded in several books. The 4 volume Kovetz Teshuvos contains responsa resulting from questions asked of him over many years. Many of his ethical and sermonic comments on the Torah, most dating from the 1950s, were collected and published as Divrei Aggadah.[1] A Haggadah for Pesach including Eliashiv's comments and Halachic rulings was recently printed. Another work that includes his Halakhic rulings is titled "Yashiv Moshe." His Talmudic insights were printed in the 18 volume series of Haoros and more recently Shiurei Maran Hagrish Eliashiv on Tractate Berachot and the following books: "pniney tefila"' "pniney chanuka" and "pniney nisuin" was published. These works were not written by Eliashiv, but compiled by his relatives and students.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 "RABBI YOSEF SHALOM ELYASHIV". RABBI MEIR BAAL HANEIS SALANT. Retrieved Jan 9, 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Ettinger, Yair (March 2010). "The Invisible Hand". Haaretz.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Siegel-Itzkovich, Judy; Shar, Jeremy (8 February 2012). "Rabbi Elyashiv, 101, in critical condition". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 18 July 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 "Harav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv shlit"a". Chazaq. Retrieved 2010-06-10.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. 5.0 5.1 Ettinger, Yair (18 July 2012). "Rabbi Elyashiv, Venerated Leader in Ultra-Orthodox Community, Dies". Haaretz.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. Siegel-Itzkovich, Judy; Shar, Jeremy (18 July 2012). "Leading Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv dies at 102". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 18 July 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "Jerusalem - UPDATE- In Photos: 250,000 Attend Funeral Of Rav Elyashiv Zt'l". Vos Iz Neias?. 19 July 2012. Retrieved 19 July 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. Sharon, Jeremy; Siegel, Judy (19 July 2012). "250,000 mourn Rabbi Elyashiv at J'lem funeral". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 19 July 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. Deitch, Ian (18 July 2012). "Yosef Shalom Elyashiv Dead: Revered Ultra-Orthodox Israeli Rabbi Dies At 102". Huffington Post. Retrieved 18 July 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. House of Nobility, Humble Abode: Rav Elyashiv and His Torah Dynasty by Nosson Weiss. Mishpacha Magazine Issue 159 May 23, 2007

Further reading

External links