Rav Chaim Kanievsky Attends Rabbi Eckstein’s Son’s Sheva Brachos

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rav-chaim-kanievskyAs first reported here, Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv recently ruled that the Keren Yedidos Yisroel, the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, run by Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein of Chicago, is a problematic organization and, therefore, frum mosdos and organizations should not accept donations from the Fellowship. Groups that take money from the fund are violating the Torah’s issur of avodah zarah, Rav Elyashiv is reporting as ruling. A letter forbidding the taking of monies from the Fellowship was written several years ago by the Eidah hachareidis, and recently Rav Elyashiv affixed his signature to that ruling.

In light of this, it was interesting to observers that on Tuesday, Rav Chaim Kanievsky, son-in-law of Rav Elyashiv, attended the sheva brachos of none other than Rabbi Eckstein’s own son, who has been learning in a yeshiva in Yerushalayim and just got married. This chosson, as a bochur, joined a chareidi yeshiva in Yerushalayim and began a tremendous aliyah in Torah and avodah. He became very close to Rav Chaim Kanievsky, with whom he consulted on many issues and with any questions he had.

Following the wedding, Rav Chaim Kanievsky asked his grandson, Rav Aryeh Kanievsky, to prepare a sheva brachos in his home in honor of this chosson. Rav Chaim graced the event, attending to pay tribute to the chosson in recognition of his aliyah in ruchniyus. Rav Chaim said that the chosson will surely continue to bring much nachas to his family.

When it was suggested to Rav Chaim that perhaps it would be wrong to participate in the sheva brachos because of the recent statement by Rav Elyashiv regarding the chosson‘s father, and that Rav Chaim’s appearance might be viewed as his giving approval to the Fellowship, Rav Chaim refused to change his mind. Rav Chaim said that he does not know the father, but that the son who got married is somebody worth going out of the way for.

Thus, the son should not have to suffer because of activities of his father.

As an aside, other rabbonim who have issued similar p’sakim to the one mentioned here from Rav Elyashiv include Rav Nissim Karelitz, Rav Shmuel Auerbach, Chacham Ovadiah Yosef, Rav Mordechai Eliyahu and others.

The IFCJ was founded in 1983 by Rabbi Eckstein to “promote understanding between Jews and Christians and build broad support for Israel and other shared concerns,” according to the organization’s website.  It has headquarters in Chicago and Yerushalayim and is supervised by an independent board of directors and is led by its founder and president, Rabbi Eckstein, who is a world expert on Christian-Jewish relations, was also appointed by the State of Israel as its Goodwill Ambassador to Christian Communities.

{Yair Alpert-Matzav.com Israel}


  1. I am confused. Is it possible the reporter made a mistake? The article says:

    Rav Chaim said that he does not know the father . . . Thus, the son should not have to suffer because of activities of his father.

    Firstly, I am assuming that the father was of course there. And naturally the host would greet the father. So how could he not know the father?

    How can Rav Chaim suggest that there is a possibility that the son might have to suffer if he does not know the father. When you don’t know a yid don’t we give a them a chezkas kashrus and avoid saying there is even a question of whether they did something wrong. On the other hand if he does know that this Eckstein is the son of one whose actions can lead to avodah zorah how can he say I don’t know the father. That implies a chezkas kashrus when the posek hador said that he is choteh umachti (unless of course he stopped and did tshuvah).

    I am sure R. Chaim is telling the truth. But I have never known anyone not to ask about my family, especially around a wedding, where it is not rude to inquire about family because most attending don’t know both sides equally well. I never go anywhere where people aren’t asking are you related to Lopiner in Boca Raton? Then they more politely inquire to which Lopiner? In the end fahr inzerer you know their shul, yeshiva, and shidduchim before you finish the conversation. I realize R. Chaim does not waste time in small talk. But even if he did this b’kitzur, someone else would have shared about this being oseh H’Eckstein.

    Should I learn from this that saying “I don’t know ploini” is a polite way of not embarassing someone, especially if the chosson has behaved in ways that make a a choshov yungman and true ben torah.

    If anyone could clarify it I would appreciate it since my “real” yeshivah education only started in the last few years and it is part time because of parnassah.

    To anyone who answers, thank you for your help and the time. Sorry it took me so many words to ask the question. But sometimes there are so many things running around in the head at the same time that it gets confusing.

  2. R’ Elyashiva only said that one should not take from “ovdei avoda zara”.
    He did NOT say that which Rabbi Eckstein is doing is wrong!

    The Gemara clearly states that most goyim are merely “minhag avoseihem byadam” as such are not truly ovdei avoda zara.

    So where’s the problem?

  3. Yochanan, you are indeed confused, and you missed the boat.

    Even if the father was there, does that mean that Rav Chaim knows the father?! He said he doesn’t know him, so he can’t vouch for or against him, but that the son should not suffer
    because of it.

    AND IT WASN’T RAV CHAIM WHO SUGGESTED IT. He was asked by someone why he is attending, so he gave a response.

    II love how some people like to distort stories to fit their own agendas.
    Yochanan, read what it says again.

  4. I think it means that Rav Chaim does not know the father *personally*, and was focusing on the son’s accomplishment.

    There is no direct quote regarding what Rav Chaim said about the father’s activities; the article states, without quotation marks, that: “Thus, the son should not have to suffer because of activities of his father”.

    Perhaps it was a direct quote and the quotation marks are missing from the article, perhaps it was an approximation of what was said. In either case, Rav Chaim did not use the word “sins”, but “activities”. I think this was a way of saying, this is not about the father, but about the son, and whatever activities the father may or may not be involved in, this is unrelated to the son.

    I hope this helps.

    May all of Klal Yisroel enjoy many more occasions for Simcha!

  5. Rabbi Eckstein does not have any sons. He only has daughters, and the only daughter who lives in E”Y has been married for years…. Someone needs to check their facts


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