It is not every day that a gadol of our times comes to Queens. On Tuesday evening, June 15, HaRav Shlomo Kanievsky shlita, son of HaRav Shmaryahu Yosef Chaim Kanievsky shlita, made an extraordinary visit to Kew Gardens Hills at the home of Nati and Revital Elishaev. Rav Shlomo delivered touching remarks on the need for the continuance of Torah education in Eretz Yisrael and here in America. Every word spoken was thought out, certain, and came from a place of self-assurance that its impact will last generations. Rav Shlomo brought his breadth of Torah knowledge, his boundless ahavas haTorah, his dazzling insights, and his embodiment of the genuine midos into the Elishaev home.
Rav Shlomo, together with guidance of his revered father, continued the legacy of his dearly departed grandfathers Rabbi Yaakov Yisrael Kanievsky zt”l (the “Steipler Gaon”) and Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv zt”l, who were pillars of their generation.
Today, Rav Shlomo is the Rosh HaYeshivah at two beacons of Torah in Bnei Brak, continuing with the utmost m’siras nefesh the continuation of Torah. Rav Shlomo originally served alongside Rav Shmuel Yaakov Borenstein zt”l, and today stands with Rav Yaakov Carp shlita.
Yeshiva Kiryas Melech, one of the most respected establishments of higher Torah learning in Eretz Yisrael, is the yeshivah g’dolah of Yeshiva Tiferes Tzion, founded in 1936 by Rav Shlomo’s great-uncle, the Chazon Ish. The Steipler Gaon assumed the mantle of the yeshivah after the Chazon Ish passed. Rav Shlomo, who had been a maggid shiur at the yeshivah, assumed a leadership role in 1985 following the p’tiros of both the Steipler and the yeshivah’s menahel, Rav Yaakov Shneidman.
The financial responsibilities of both yeshivos rest on Rav Shlomo, and with the guidance of his father, Rav Shlomo reluctantly visits the United States to collect the desperately needed funding as the institutions both faces mounting debt, and the survival of the Torah citadels stand uncertain.
When the yeshivah was originally founded, under the Chazon Ish, Bnei Brak was mostly small cottages and not the bustling shuls we see exist there today. The continuity of Torah stood in limbo and a path for today’s world was only imagined.
Akiva Ackerman of Yeshivat Sha’alvim’s kollel has a long history with the Kanievsky family and, together with Rabbi Yaniv Meirov, CEO of Chazaq, coordinated the unprecedented visit.
In attendance were Rav Igal Haimoff of Ohel Simcha, Rav Michael Mansour, Rosh HaYeshivah of Chazaq, Rabbi Rafael Zavulunov, rav of Congregation Ohr HaTorah in Kew Gardens Hills and Assistant Director of Chazaq, Rav Azarya Pinkhasov of Kollel Beth Gavriel, among others.
May the blessings of the Rav bring much success to the new home of the Elishaevs as they establish a precedence of opening their doors to g’dolei Yisrael and wonderful good deeds.
By Shabsie Saphirstein