Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter



One Sacred Hour

Adapted by Rabbi Yehuda and Malky Heimowitz

Six months have elapsed since the passing of Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv ztz”l. ArtScroll’s upcoming biography of Rav Elyashiv, adapted by Rabbi Yehuda and Malky Heimowitz, is a window into this gift that spanned several generations — a walking Sefer Torah whose legendary power of concentration turned learning around the clock into a literal term. A sneak preview.

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

One hour a day — no more! That was the amount of time Rav Elyashiv set aside in his schedule for receiving questioners during the last decades of his life, from the period when people started to knock on his door at all hours of the day and he returned to Ohel Sarah to learn so that he would not be interrupted. He realized that if he would not limit his availability to questioners, he would never be able to learn at all. And answering questions could not take the place of Torah learning.

Not long after Rav Elyashiv decided to set aside an hour specifically to answer questioners, an orderly system of appointments was established. This ensured that no more than 10 or 20 questioners would arrive on any given evening, and that each one would have a few minutes — on average, 3 to 6 minutes — to explain the question and hear the answer.

He received people graciously, even though his every word was measured and his every second was precious. During the short time a questioner had in the room, Rav Elyashiv would lean his head toward the questioner and turn his ear to listen to the shailah. It was as though time was standing still — he was not in any rush, and he would devote his full attention to the listener. Only upon leaving the room would the questioner realize that the calm, unhurried audience with Rav Elyashiv had taken a mere few minutes.

 

VIPs

Even great rabbanim and roshei yeshivah were allowed into Rav Elyashiv’s room only during kabbalat kahal.

One rav whose access was not limited to kabbalat kahal — as per the instructions of Rav Elyashiv — was Rav Baruch Shimon Solomon, the chief rabbi of Petach Tikvah, who fearlessly defended halachah against those who sought to “compromise.” About Rav Solomon, Rav Elyashiv said to the people in his house, “Him, I love!” When Rav Solomon would come to Rav Elyashiv’s house, he would be allowed entry at any time.

Upon arriving at Rav Elyashiv’s house, Rav Solomon would be welcomed by Rav Elyashiv’s assistants as befitted an honored guest, and would be served a hot cup of tea. The gatekeepers would use the few minutes while he drank the tea to squeeze in a few more people who were waiting for their appointments to speak to Rav Elyashiv. Asking Rav Solomon to wait on line would have been disrespectful, but ushering him into Rav Elyashiv immediately would have meant that all those who were waiting would lose their opportunity to ask their questions.

 

 To read the rest of this story, please buy this issue of Mishpacha. To sign up for a weekly subscription click here.

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.
CAPTCHA
Message


MM217
 
Not a Newspaper
Shoshana Friedman A deeper difference between newspapers and magazines
Services in Shards
Rabbi Moshe Grylak “Such a painful, malicious lie!”
The Pittsburgh Protests: All Politics All the Time
Yonoson Rosenblum The old rule — “no enemies on the left” — still applies
Danger: School Crossing
Eytan Kobre The hypocrisy of YAFFED’s assertion is breathtaking
Real Laughter and Real Tears
Rabbi Avrohom Neuberger The two sides of a life lived with emunah
Work/Life Solutions with Eli Langer
Moe Mernick I was proud to be “that guy with the yarmulke”
Is Ktchong! a Mitzvah? When Prayer and Charity Collide
Rabbi Emanuel Feldman These cannot both be done effectively at the same time
An Honest Shidduch
Jacob L. Freedman “Baruch Hashem I’m cured, and this will be my secret”
A Blessing in Disguise
Riki Goldstein “I never thought the song would catch on as it has”
Ishay and Motti Strike a Common Chord
Riki Goldstein Bringing together two worlds of Jewish music
What’s your favorite Motzaei Shabbos niggun?
Riki Goldstein From the holy and separate back to the mundane
Rightfully Mine
Faigy Peritzman Don’t regret the job you didn’t land; it was never yours
Growing Greener Grass
Sarah Chana Radcliffe Nurture your blessings and watch them blossom
My Way or the High Way
Rebbetzin Debbie Greenblatt We know what we want — but do we know what He wants?