Rav Avrohom Yeshayahu Kanievsky: My Zaida Has 1,500 Living Descendents

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rav-elyashivNPR News recently reported on the posek hador, Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, and interviewed Rav Avrohom Yeshayahu Kanievsky, a son of Rav Chaim Kanievsky. Rav Avrohom Yeshayahu said that his zaida, Rav Elyashiv, has an estimated 1,500 living descendents. Rav Elyashiv’s great-great-grandson recently had a child, marking six generations of a single family.

The following was transcribed by Matzav.com from the NPR report:

Rav Avrohom Yeshayahu Kanievsky (through translator): My grandfather had 11 children, and each of those had around 11 or 12 children, and the following generations did too. I don’t know how many exactly there are. I don’t know everybody, frankly. …For a wedding, we basically, on average, would cater for 500 people, but usually it’s thousands of people who show up.

Garcia-Navarro of NPR: Now in his mid-50’s, Rabbi Avrohom was married at 19, his wife was 18. They had nine children. His wife, Chana, says having so many people of different ages in the family is wonderful.

Rebbetzin Chana Kanievsky (through translator): My oldest child is 33 and my youngest is 11. I have 16 grandchildren. My youngest child was born after my first grandchild was born. My last daughter is younger than my eldest grandchild.

Rav Avrohom Yeshayahu Kanievsky: It’s much easier having 10 children than having two. Because once you have five or six children, they can help each other and take care of each other. Shopping for bigger quantities cost less. It’s nice to see how everyone helps each other out.

 {Yair Alpert-Matzav.com Israel}


  1. When did the term “posek hador” originate.Did anyone else get this title as the one and only posek for everyone in Klal Yisroel. Is this really a Jewish tradition?

  2. Such a zechus to live to see great-great-great grandchildren! Such a zechus to have so many descendants, shomrei Torah u’mitzvos. I hear Rav Elyashiv himself is an only child- anyone know if this is true? If so, makes it even more amazing.

  3. L. Oberstein says “When did the term “posek hador” originate.Did anyone else get this title as the one and only posek for everyone in Klal Yisroel. Is this really a Jewish tradition?”
    Are you “maching avek” with the kovod of YES- the Gadol & Posek Hador? Who do you really think your are to decide who should be the Posek Hador?

  4. Dr L Oberstien

    There has always been a posek hador

    maybe you didnt realize that Reb Chaim Ozer was Posek Hador back in Europe before world war II

    The Kovener Rav was Posek Hador in the 1800s

    Rav Moshe Feinstien was titled: Posek Hador (at least for america if not the whole world)

    that doesnt mean your local posek is not a posek, he is also a posek, but to be Posek Hador thats a title that Klal Yisroel regonizes by themselves as a gourp.

    no one gets the title of godal hador. its given automatically when the tzibur realizes as whole who their leaders are.

    hope that helps clarify your thoughts

  5. KI”H. I think this is sort of news should not be posted. At these times c”v we are only looking for zechusim for the Godal Hador. Who knows if he is makpid – Man dekopid kopid


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