Jewish Journal


July 19, 2012

L.A. rabbi reflects on Rabbi Elyashiv’s death



Photo by Wikipedia/חיים הרץ

Hundreds of thousands of mourners reportedly attended the funeral of Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv in Jerusalem on July 18, and across the world, people remembered the eminent Orthodox rabbi who died on Wednedsay at the age of 102.

Rabbi Gershon Bess, the spiritual leader of Kehilas Yaakov in Los Angeles, said he would visit Elyashiv at least once a year, to consult with him on matters of Jewish jurisprudence.

“This is a person that one could ask any halachic question on any topic and get a well-researched answer based on Talmudic and later Responsa,” Bess said on Wednesday. “I don’t believe that there is anyone else in the world at this point now who is able to replace him.”

More than one obituary likened Elyashiv’s stature as a Jewish legal authority to that of Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, who died in 1986. Bess agreed with that analogy.

“Even the greatest rabbinical authorities in the United States would show extreme deference to anything he [Elyashiv] would say,” Bess said. “Nobody but Rabbi Moshe Feinstein was considered as a final decisor on so many issues.”

No plans for a Los Angeles-based memorial have been discussed, Bess said, but he speculated that some kind of public remembrance might take place in the city at some point in the coming days or weeks.

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