Dear Aish Family,
I had an interesting conversation this week with someone which put Jewish leadership in perspective. This past week Aish had the extreme honor of hosting Rav Chaim Kanievsky who is considered in Israel as the Gadol HaDor (Greatest Rabbi of our current generation).
I was asked the following questions: What Synagogue does Rabbi Kanievsky lead? I replied that he has no synagogue. Where does he teach? He has no official teaching position. Is he an official Chief Rabbi of Israel? He has no governmental position. So, the person asked, what does he do?
I answered that he studies Torah in his two bedroom apartment and thousands of Jews come to see him every day to seek his guidance. In fact one doesn’t even get to be considered the Gadol HaDor until they reach their 80’s. There is no official vote. The Jewish nation chooses a Gadol HaDor by his actions. It becomes apparent that this Rabbi is the leader of a generation. It has been this way for 2000 years.
Rav Moshe Feinstein zt”l, who was the greatest Rabbi in New York in the 1980’s, was asked by a reporter how he became the Gadol HaDor. Rav Moshe answered that a Jew came and asked him a question. He liked the answer and told others and they came and asked more questions. That’s how a Gadol HaDor is chosen!
What a beautiful explanation. We have become so accustomed to organizations and institutions that we forget that there are personalities that transcend the organized Jewish community. Great Rabbis only care about the Almighty and His children. What an amazing focus to have!
In that spirit, it was an honor to host Rav Chaim Kanievsky on the Aish rooftop for Mincha (afternoon) prayers. It was also inspirational for the students of our Yeshiva to be in the presence of this Jewish hero. May the blessing that Rav Kanievsky gave to Aish HaTorah spread to all of the members of the Aish Family.