New Film On Rav Elyashiv Offers a Fascinating Glimpse – And Questions Lost in Translation

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In the coming days, a new film about Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv titled Toraso Umnaso will be released in Israel.

The film contains fascinating clips of the gadol hador, including visits from dignitaries to his home and insightful exchanges during these visits.

The film is produced by Ben Bar-Shavit, Yisroel Goldvicht and Ami Drozer.

A glimpse of the film can be seen in the clip below, which shows Rav Elyashiv being visited by Former British Ambassador to Israel Tom Phillips and Former Israeli President Shimon Peres, who discuss political issues with the venerated sage.

The British ambassador consulted with Rav Elyashiv about the two-state solution, asking questions in English, which were translated by current Yerushalayim City Council member Yitzchok Pindrus into Hebrew.

“Is it possible that one can come to some approach which creates the possibility of a Jewish state, which would mean some compromise?” asked the ambassador.

What is interesting to note when watching the clip is that the question posed by the ambassador was not accurately translated for Rav Elyashiv, and was presented in a different light than the way it was presented by the questioner.

Pindrus posed the question as follows: “He says that there are so many Arabs here. Why not make two states, one for the Arabs and one for us?”

Rav Elyashiv responded: “Politically, I have no answer on the subject. But the reality is that even before the two-state solution, how can we reach a point where we can sleep peacefully here?”

Pindrus then translated for the ambassador: “The rabbi is saying that the entity of making two states, basically, if that’s what we’re trying to get to, is more a political issue than a rabbinical issue, in the point of view of now, so what we could do from the rabbinical point of view is to see what can be done in the situation right now, but the future is more a political issue.”

Another section of the video shows Peres meeting with Rav Elyashiv, with whom he discussed the issue of ascending the Har Habayis. Peres noted that Rav Elyashiv had ruled that it is halachically forbidden to go on to the Har Habayis. Rav Elyashiv replied: “According to halacha, this is assur. That poses no problem to us. Ascending the Har Habayis is strictly forbidden.”

The film then shows Peres remarking, “I was very impressed by him. On the one hand, his depth; on the other hand his humility, his profound thinking and simple self-expression, which are rare commodities. I’m not surprised that so many people had faith in him. He deserved people’s faith and he earned it, and his influence was rooted in the faith in him.”



David Steger – Israel


  1. The mistranslation and misrepresentation is symptomatic of the breakdown of communication between the gedolim and the hamon am via the askanim.

    Unless I hear a sha’ailah asked directly to a gadol, and hear his response directly from his holy lips, how can I believe what is in the media in his name???

  2. I would not characterize it as a mistranslation. The gist of what he was asking and the gist of what the Rav was answering was given over correctly


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