Yosef Shalom Eliashiv

Yosef Shalom Elyashiv (Hebrew: יוסף שלום אלישיב‎‎; 10 April 1910 – 18 July 2012) was a Haredi Rabbi and posek (arbiter of Jewish law) who lived in Jerusalem, Israel. Until his death at the age of 102, Rav 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]


Yosef Shalom Elyashiv
Rabbi Elyashiv at home
Born(1910-04-10)10 April 1910
Nisan 1, 5670 AM (Hebrew calendar)
Died18 July 2012(2012-07-18) (aged 102)
Tamuz 28, 5772 AM (Hebrew calendar)
Nationality Israel
Batsheva Esther (wife of Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky) (died 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) (died 2010)
Gittel (wife of Rabbi Binyomin Rimmer)
Rivkah (d. 1948)
ParentsRabbi Avraham Elyashiv
Chaya Moussa Elyashiv
DenominationOrthodox Judaism
SignatureYosef Shalom Eliashiv, signature.svg
OrganizationDegel HaTorah

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][3] He received supplicants from all over the world, and answered the most complex Halakhic inquiries.[1]


Rav Elyashiv was the son of Rav Avraham Elyashiv (Erener) of Gomel, Belarus, and Chaya Musha, daughter of the kabbalist Rav Shlomo Elyashiv (died 1925) of Šiauliai, Lithuania.

Born in 1910 at Šiauliai, Yosef Shalom Elyashiv arrived with his parents in Mandatory Palestine in 1922, aged 12.[4] He was an only child, born to his parents after 17 years of marriage.[5]

At the suggestion of Chief Rabbi of Palestine, Rav Abraham Isaac Kook, Yosef Shalom married Sheina Chaya (died 19 June 1994), a daughter of Rav Aryeh Levin.[5] Rav Kook also conducted the wedding.[6]

The couple had five sons and seven daughters. Six of their daughters married significant Rabbinic figures. During Rav Elyashiv's lifetime, six of his children died. Two died in their youth: a son who died of illness as a child, and a daughter killed by Jordanian shelling in 1948. Four other children died over the course of his lifetime. At the time of his death, he had approximately 1,400 descendants, including two sixth-generation descendants.[5][7][8][9] He had seen the beginning of a sixth generation in 2009, when a grandson was born to one of his great-grandchildren.[10]


In February 2012, the 101-year-old Rav 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 18 July 2012, aged 102,[10][11] and was buried on Har HaMenuchot after a late-night funeral procession that attracted an estimated 250,000 people.[12][13]

Spiritual and political leaderEdit

In contrast to his later positions vis a vis the State of Israel, Rav Elyashiv began his Rabbinic career as a judge in the government's religious court system, and was a protégé of Israel’s Ashkenazi chief rabbi, Yitzhak HaLevi Herzog[citation needed]. In the early 1970s, he left the state court system.[6]

In 1989, upon the establishment of the religious political party Degel HaTorah, its spiritual leader Rav Elazar Shach asked Rav Elyashiv to join in the public leadership, and he acceded to his request.[citation needed] He came to the major public gatherings of Degel HaTorah, currently part of the umbrella United Torah Judaism list in the Israeli Knesset (parliament), and shared in the task of rendering decisions.[14] While Rav Elyashiv held no official title, neither as head of a congregation, yeshiva, or particular community[1], after the death of Rav Shach he took his position and held great influence over the policies of the party, which abided by all his rulings and instructions. 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. Time referred to Rav Elyashiv as the predecessor of Rav Aharon Leib Shteinman as Gadol Hador ("leader of the generation").[15]

Yossi Elituv, editor of the influential ultra-Orthodox paper Mishpacha, remarked: "Rav Elyashiv will be remembered as the ultimate assiduous yeshiva scholar of the 20th and early 21st centuries. He was not seen as a political leader or as the head of group or party. He was a man who made Torah study his entire life, and this will remain an inspiration."[6]

Published worksEdit

The Halakhic rulings and sermonic insights of Rav Elyashiv 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 his 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 Elyashiv on Tractate Berachot and the following books: "pniney tefila"' "pniney chanuka" and "pniney nisuin" was published. These works were not written by Rav Elyashiv, but compiled by his relatives and students.


  1. ^ a b c d "RABBI YOSEF SHALOM ELYASHIV". Retrieved 9 January 2012.
  2. ^ Ettinger, Yair (March 2010). "The Invisible Hand". Haaretz.
  3. ^ "The Invisible Hand". Retrieved September 13, 2018.
  4. ^ Siegel-Itzkovich, Judy; Shar, Jeremy (8 February 2012). "Rabbi Elyashiv, 101, in critical condition". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 18 July 2012.
  5. ^ a b c "Harav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv shlit"a". Chazaq. Retrieved 10 June 2010.
  6. ^ a b c Friedman, Matti (18 July 2012). "Rabbi Elyashiv, a relentless Torah scholar whose strict rulings sought to resist modernity". Times of Israel. Retrieved 24 July 2018.
  7. ^ "דור שישי לרב אלישיב - בחייו". 24 May 2009.
  8. ^ נחשוני, קובי (24 July 2012). "כל יומיים: צאצא נוסף לרב אלישיב" – via Ynet.
  9. ^ Deitch, Ian (18 July 2012). "Yosef Shalom Elyashiv Dead: Revered Ultra-Orthodox Israeli Rabbi Dies At 102". Huffington Post.
  10. ^ a b Ettinger, Yair (18 July 2012). "Rabbi Elyashiv, Venerated Leader in Ultra-Orthodox Community, Dies". Haaretz.
  11. ^ Siegel-Itzkovich, Judy; Shar, Jeremy (18 July 2012). "Leading Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv dies at 102". The Jerusalem Post.
  12. ^ "In Photos: 250,000 Attend Funeral Of Rav Elyashiv Zt'l". Vos Iz Neias?. Retrieved 19 July 2012.
  13. ^ Sharon, Jeremy; Siegel, Judy (19 July 2012). "250,000 mourn Rabbi Elyashiv at J'lem funeral". The Jerusalem Post.
  14. ^ House of Nobility, Humble Abode: Rav Elyashiv and His Torah Dynasty by Nosson Weiss. Mishpacha Magazine Issue 159 May 23, 2007
  15. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2017-12-15. Retrieved 2017-12-12.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit