Updated: Sep 8
Shmaryahu Yosef Chaim Kanievsky was born in 1928 to the legendary Rabbi Yaakov Yisrael Kanievsky, also known as the Steipler Gaon, and Rebbetzin Miriam Karelitz, the sister of the Chazon Ish (Rabbi Avraham Yeshaya Karelitz).Shmaryahu received a lot of inspiration from these two giants and enjoyed close proximity to them.
Ever since a child, young Chaim would study for hours on end with great concentration and joy.He had (and still has) an amazing photographic memory and even in his young years could explain difficult teachings with ease.
Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky is currently known for his sage advice to millions of Jews all over the world. Whether they were religious on not, Sephardi or Ashkenazi or Chassidi or Teimani, it didn’t matter. His rulings are the basis for many Charedi Ashkenazi Jews living in Bnei Brak who revere him greatly. His Ruach HaKodesh (Divine Inspiration) has also been widely recognized.
On the issue of halachic rulings, Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky was adamant to allow only Kosher phones and ordered the United Hatzalah that they should not treat terrorists before the victims if they were in a more critical state, but rather should let them die. He also said that medical cannabis was kasher l’Pessach and that people should report sexual child abuses to the police when all other means failed.
Most recently, during the Corona pandemic, Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky stressed greatly the important of keeping strict adherence to the Laws of Lashon Harah. He revealed that it was because of people’s laxity in it that the pandemic came to the world.
When Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky received people in his home, everyone was greeted with a warm smile and full attention. His wife, Rebbetzin Batsheva Kanievsky was a his greatest supporter and admirer. She worked with many different jobs and helped organise the Kanievsky house’s finances, also leading people to Rabbi Chaim’s study for guidance.
He was known for very succint answers, often containing a single word. This often made people perplexed, until they found out what it meant.
A story is told about a certain Jewish man who killed an old non-Jewish man in a car accident. Wanting to rectify his deed, he went to Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky for advice. The answer was a simple word; “Amalek”. Surely it must’ve been a mistake? But the Jewish man did not understand.
Without a clear answer he remained immensely troubled and decided to move to a different city. There, he settled down in a certain house, to which the residents of the town pointed out belonged to an old man “killed in a car accident”. As it turns out, the Jewish man discovered it was the very same old man he killed. And the house was full of nazi SS parafernalia, including a picture of the old man himself besides Hitler (may Hashem erase his name). More surprising, this old man had been the Jewish man’s parents killer during the Holocaust and Hashem had arranged for the son to erradicate the seed of Amalek.
As we know, Amalek is the prime enemy of the Jewish People. They live solely in order to prevent Jews from fulfilling their mission and because they have no rectification, the Torah commands their progeny to be erased.
Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky has also been very vocal about the imminent coming of the Mashiach and said everyone should come settle in Israel as soon as possible. His wife, Batsheva Kanievsky is the granddaughter of the holy Tzaddik of Jerusalem, Rabbi Aryeh Levin, and passed away on Sukkot, 2011. Currently they have 3 sons and 6 daughters. It is said that the day before every festival of Pessach, he makes asyum (completion ceremony) on the entire Talmud and many other Scriptural works.
Recently it has also been said that Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky ordered a white glima (robe) in order to receive the Mashiach himself! He also gave an order for a few of his followers to urge people to do Teshuva and prepare for the imminent coming of Mashiach.
Some of his works include Derech Emunah (“Way of Faith”), on agricultural laws of Eretz Yisrael and on Beit HaMikdash, Sha'arei Emunah, Shoneh Halachos, Orchos Yosher and Siach Hasadeh.
This article was written and published in the zechut of all Emuna Builder Partners. May they have complete emuna and continue spreading emuna!