On Friday, March 25, HANC High School was honored to host Rabbi Paysach Krohn, who shared penetrating messages from the life of the Gadol HaDor, Rav Chaim Kanievsky zt”l, whose shiv’ah concluded that day. Rabbi Krohn began by thanking Rabbi Slomnicki and the rebbeim and moros for their endless efforts and contributions to our yeshivah. He then dove into the astonishing life of Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky and the incredible legacy he has left with all of us.
Rabbi Krohn explained Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky’s legacy by introducing his childhood. He shared, with astonishment, how the Steipler (Rav Chaim Kanievsky’s father) sang songs of Gemara and Shas every night to his son before he went to sleep. By the age of a young boy, Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky already knew all of the names of Gemara and Shas and began on a path of incredible Torah learning. What is even more astonishing is that Rav Chaim Kanievsky would relearn the entire Tanach, the Gemara, and the Shas every single year. He never missed a single day of Torah learning. He always had a sefer with him, and he took every opportunity of every single day to learn more. We cannot fathom the sheer greatness of his Torah learning and connection with both the Torah and Hashem.
Rav Krohn then highlighted one of the many perfected mitzvos of Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky: kibud av va’eim and mitzvos bein adam la’chaveiro. So not only was Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky a venerable talmid chacham, and knew Torah like the back of his hand, but he was also a loving friend to every Jewish person who has met him or has even heard of him. Regardless of his deep desire to learn all day, he would always take time out of his day to receive hundreds of Jewish visitors in his home in Bnei Brak, answer their questions, and daven for them. Rav Chaim Kanievsky would let visitors kiss his hand, speak with them about their challenges, and comfort them. He spoke truly, meaningfully with the words of Hashem. He was our connection with HaKadosh Baruch Hu in this world. While he served as a father figure to the Jewish nation, he also practiced kibud av va’eim with utter perfection. Every single day, without fail, he would visit his mother and father. He would speak with them, spend time with them, and care for them. And after his great parents passed away, he would visit his widowed sister every single day, as well. Rav Chaim Kanievsky truly was a leader in Torah and mitzvos in every single way.
Rabbi Krohn took these fascinating anecdotes of Rav Chaim Kanievsky’s life and connected it with the idea of the K’ruvim that remained in the Kodesh HaKodashim in the Beis HaMikdash. The K’ruvim consisted of the faces of two children, one boy and one girl, with wings stretching up to shamayim. This essentially represents that, as Jewish people, we must always have our hands up to shamayim, doing everything l’sheim Shamayim, but at the same time, we must always be looking around ourselves at our fellow Jews. Being part of the Jewish nation consists of a relationship with Hashem, but even more, a relationship and compassion for every fellow Jew. This is exactly what Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky did every day of his life. He would learn an endless amount of Torah and constantly expand on his endless Torah knowledge. But at the same time, Rav Chaim would spend every single day caring for the Jewish nation. He was our protector through his deep Torah understanding, halachic answers, and caring for every single Jew. He was, and still is, the ultimate role model and a true representative of what a Jewish person should aspire to be.
Rabbi Krohn described these concepts with admiration and deep sorrow. He emotionally explained his intense grief and concern for our generation. “Who will protect us? What will we do now?” The answer, Rabbi Krohn said, is for us to learn constantly about Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky and try our very best to adopt any mitzvah in honor of Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky every chance that we get. This is how to continue his legacy and elevate his neshamah in Shamayim.
As a Jewish nation, the loss of such a great gadol ha’dor is painful and disheartening, but any movement for improvement in Torah observance, no matter how small, will change this world for the better, which is exactly what Rav Chaim Kanievsky did every single day.
We would like to thank Rabbi Krohn for sharing such a meaningful and beautiful talk about the Gadol HaDor, Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky zt”l, and we will keep his powerful words in mind as we try, in every way possible, to continue his legacy.
We thank the Ahdout Family for sponsoring the inspirational program in commemoration of the upcoming yahrzeit of Ben Chur ben Farajolla z”l – beloved father of Mr. William Ahdout and grandfather of Shayah Ahdout ’22.