Memorial service honors Lithuanian Charedi leader

Several hundred men and women attended a memorial service at Congregation Shaarei Tefila on July 23 to honor Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, head of the Lithuanian Charedi communities in Israel. Attendees packed into Kanner Hall on Beverly Boulevard to hear eulogies and pay respects to the late leader, who died in Jerusalem at 102 on July 18.

The service began with introductions from Yeshivat Yavneh’s Rabbi Shlomo Einhorn. Rabbi Gershon Bess of Congregation Kehilas Yaakov delivered the main eulogy, which focused on the late rabbi’s dedication to learning.

“The clarity and detail of the texts that he achieved was world renowned,” Bess said. “He was a light sleeper and a heavy learner.”

Remarks by Rabbi Baruch Yehuda Gradon of Merkaz Hatorah and Rabbi Avrohom Ausband of Yeshiva of Telshe Alumni Riverdale followed.

Throughout his life, Elyashiv was considered a leading authority on a variety of issues and made rulings on issues ranging from elevator use on Shabbat to the permissibility of eating foie gras. He also advised the Israeli political party Degel HaTorah.

Elyashiv’s health had been in decline in recent years. In February, he was admitted to a hospital for lung and heart problems.

An estimated 250,000 people turned out at Elyashiv’s late-night funeral in Jerusalem.

Rabbi Elyashiv is survived by nearly 1,000 descendants, stemming from his 10 surviving children.

The July 23 memorial service was organized through Yeshivat Yavneh in conjunction with local synagogues and organizations. Einhorn, who recently became dean and rav of the school, was at one time a regular at Elyashiv’s lectures.

“[Elyashiv] had an incredible and unparalleled commitment to Torah study,” he said. “What really made him great was his consistency in his approach to learning.”