Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv Zt'l
The great Torah Sage, head of the worldwide LIthuanian-hareidi yeshiva world, Rav Elyashiv, Yosef Shalom ben Chaya Musha, has just passed away at Shaarei Tzedek Hospital in Jerusalem at the age of 102.
Rav Elyashiv was hospitalized for pneumonia the night of February 5 and remained in the hospital due to other complications. His condition improved for several months - the doctors attending him called it nothing short of a miracle, when he was able to communicate some of the time and listen to Torah thoughts of his visitors - but today's deterioration in his condition began because of low and unstable blood pressure. Doctors were called to his bedside and the rabbi was anaesthetized and respirated as doctors tried unsuccessfully to stabilize his condition.
His family was at his side in the ICU and was able to repeate the Viduy prayer (the prayer of confession and affirmation of belief said at a Jewish person's deathbed) read from the from Maavar Yabok holy book several times before the rabbi's soul parted the earth.
Near his beside stood the Gaon Rav Shmuel Ohrbach, the head of the LIthuanian hareidi education system (Chinuch Atzmai) Rav Avraham Leizerson, the hospital's halakhic arbiter Rav Weis and the most senior physicians of the hospital.
The eighth floor of Shaarei Tzedek hospital was closed and barricaded to prevent the worried students who rushed to the scene from blocking the area, with Border Police on call to keep order, was but the sound of loud prayers and psalms could be heard throughout the hospital as they, and many renowned rabbinic figures, prayed for a miracle. All hareidi schools and yeshivas stopped the afternoon study session (seder) in Israel to pray.
Israel's Radio Kol Hai broadcast prayers recited live by Rav Eliyahu Schlesinger of Gilo and the Kabbalist Sage Rav Addes.
The 102-year-old Rabbi Elyashiv who headed the worldwide Lithuanian yeshiva movement, was considered the leading Torah sage of this generation.
Following the rabbi's passing, the head of Shaarei Tzedek hospital, Dr. Yonatan Halevy, gave a summary of the period of the rabbi's hospitalization and told how the entire hospital marvelled as his unusual powers of recovery during the last few months.
His voice breaking, one of the attending physicians, Dr. Silverstone said: "There is no way to make up this loss. May his prayers for us at G-d's Throne be heard, we need them so much."