Hundreds of roads where shut across the country as massive crowds headed to Bnei Brak for Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky’s funeral, in what was among the largest funerals in Israeli history.
Approximately 750,000 people gathered on Sunday morning in Bnei Brak in central Israel to accompany Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky, who died Friday afternoon March 18, to his final resting place at the Shomrei Shabbat Bnei Brak cemetery.
Rabbi Kanievsky was widely considered to be the leading spiritual leader and Torah scholar, and was known as “The Prince of Torah” for his vast knowledge.
Among those eulogizing Rabbi Kanievsky were Rabbi Gershon Edelstein, rosh yeshiva of the Ponevezh Yeshiva and the spiritual leader of the Degel HaTorah Party, his brother-in-law, Rabbi Yitzchak Zilberstein, and his son, Rabbi Shlomo Kanievsky.
Rabbi Edelstein said of Rabbi Kanievsky, “Here [we are talking about] a great man. It is not the case that there is another great man. He was the only great man of the Land of Israel. It is not that just one [among others] is missing. Now there is no great man in all the land of Israel and in the whole world.”
In his opening remarks to Sunday’s Cabinet meeting, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett called Kanievsky “the leader of our generation,” and said his death was a “great loss to the Jewish people”
Referring to the funeral, one of the largest in Israel’s history, Bennett called it “a uniquely Jewish moment.”
“The cultural heroes of the Torah world are not material giants, they are giants of the spirit. They are people who have dedicated their lives to Torah and mitzvot, to in-depth study and the preservation of tradition,” said Bennett.
“The name of Rabbi Kanievsky will be remembered as an important part of the Torah history of the people of Israel: The son of the Steipler [Yaakov Yisrael Kanievsky] and the nephew of the Chazon Ish, he continued in their path, after the Holocaust, in the Land of Israel, preserving the Torah world of the destroyed communities of Europe. May his memory be blessed,” he concluded.
Rabbi Kanievsky was 94 at the time of his death.