Feb 16, 2011

Rav Chaim Kanievsky On Bet Shemesh (video)

If you watch the video you will see someone goes to rav Chaim Kanievsky and asks him for a bracha for a certain kollel. He explains the kollel is in Bet Shemesh, and the rosh kollel was the first to establish a torah community (I have no idea if this is true or not) in Bet Shemesh.. Rav Kanievsky looks confused and turns to his assistant and asks where is Bet Shemesh - in America? They then repeat Bet Shemesh and explain it is near Yerushalayim...

Perhaps he was confused by the high concentration of anglos living in Bet Shemesh...


  1. Rav Katz was indeed the Ashkenazi rav of Beit Shemesh way before the influx of Haredim. His kollel is in the building in the side street opposite Barak supermarket.

  2. Bet Shemesh is mentioned in Tanach, why would he think it is in America?
    Perhaps, he was being skeptical of someone being the "first" to establish the yoke of Torah in a city in Eretz Yisrael.

  3. anon I like your point - also I have the impression Bet Shemesh was always mesorati, so it's a kind of insult to the Jewish soul to say the first Torah community was founded later.

  4. I think this says as much about R Kanievsky's grip on current affairs as it does about the man asking for a brachah and as much about the value of this brachah.

    An anonymous young man comes up to R Kanievsky and asks him for a brachah for a kollel he has never heard of in a place he doesn't know exists. After the confusion that ensues as this poor old man tries to understand what he has been asked for, he then mutters a laconic brachah to get rid of the nuisance and gets on with his business of getting out of his house. The avreich involved may well now go on to publish that R Kanievsky supports his kollel and will promise health and wealth to all who donate to it - that's bascially what R Kanievsky just gave him.

    If the young avreich has got his brachah, I think he has also accumulated a couple of serious aveirot of disrespect and nuisance to an old man (even if he is godol hador and this is part of his job description) and malbin panim which is only magnified by the fact that someone was filming it all.

    As for Rav Katz and his kollel, he sure was the first ashkenazi rav of BS (called haver lishkat harabanut as R Biton is and was the sole Chief Rav). I think what the man is intimating is that his ashkenazi kollel was the first sign of frumkeit in sephardi BS and that is indeed insulting. However it may be true to say that his was the first "kollel" as a kollel is defined, seeing as it is an ashkenazi invention. I have no idea. I still get the idea he is rewriting history that anything non-ashekenazi-haredi might just as well not have happened.

  5. I keep on having the impression of manipulation of elder rabbonim who get ambushed without the ability to slow down, process, intorregate, etc. They are culpable for refusing to do what they cannot do well or for thinking that they must spread brachos far and wide rather than as appropriate. This has degenerated into holiness by proximity. I also strongly suspect that the retinue of sidekicks are not doing their job of managing this flow or worse are deliberately manipulating it.

    I see no indications of respect for elders in many of these videos.

  6. Given your previous anti-ban anti-harassment post, this video is incredibly damning. Placing this together with the previous video of a gadol being pinged about a ban on a singer he never heard of on a medium (CD's) he's also unfamiliar with, it shows our ONLY hope is that these gedolim are completely filled with RUACH HAKODESH - because otherwise they're being harassed and manipulated, with their words taken out of context and used as either clubs or money-makers for others.

    This is on YouTube for G-d's sake, if as mature adults we try to hold our noses and give excuses and dan kav schut, say it's an unusual occurrence and he was tired and ambushed, our teenagers won't be so forgiving. They're seeing ONLY pictures of the gedolim as tired, manipulated old men who are completely out of touch.

    How do I explain this to them?

  7. I tried to listen carefully - did he say, "Where is Beit Shemesh, in America? Or is it possible he didn't hear the name of the place at all, and so he asked, "In America?" That's not the same as saying he didn't know where Beit Shemesh is.

  8. Vaad Rabbonei Shel Kehilla Keren Shel TzedakaFebruary 17, 2011 7:48 AM

    Wanna Saab,

    Your limud zchus is inspiring. I wonder sometimes however if you apply this wonderful midda to ALL Jews and situations regardless of your personal orientations.

    BTW..could this be the same Rav Kanievsky that was quoted by a local tzedaka organization a few Purims ago as saying to support them only? (And then they had to explain that he didn't mean THEM but rather LOCAL organizations as opposed to national ones).

    If he knew where Bet Shemesh was then what has happened over the last few years?

  9. Rav Haim Kanievsky does not hear well at all. What is all this discussion about?


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