8 Cheshvan 5781 / Monday, October 26, 2020 | Torah Reading: Lech Lecha
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HomeFoundations of JudaismRabbinic LeadersRabbi Nissim Karelitz zt"l
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Rabbi Nissim Karelitz zt"l    

Rabbi Nissim Karelitz zt"l

Breslev Israel joins the Jewish nation in mourning Rabbi Nissim Karelitz of Bnei Brak zt”l, one of the leading Rabbis of our generation.


Rabbi Nissim Karelitz of Bnei Brak, Israel, passed away right after Simchat Torah ended in Israel (Monday night, October 21, 2019), at the age of 93. He had been hospitalized in Maayan HaYeshua Hospital in Bnei Brak since the night of Yom Kippur. The funeral was Tuesday morning October 22, 2019 (since in Israel, only one day of Yom Tov is kept, even though it was still Yom Tov outside of Israel).  


Tens of thousands of Jews came to pay their respects to one of the greatest Rabbis of the generation, bringing the city of Bnei Brak to a halt. The crowds escorted him to his final resting place in the Ponevezh Cemetery next to his wife, who passed away 5 years ago. 


Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky, widely recognized as the “Gadol Hador” (greatest Rabbi of the generation) ordered all yeshiva students to participate in the funeral procession to honor him, and other leading Rabbis eulogized him. 


Many public figures paid tribute to Karelitz upon news of his passing, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin. Rishon Letzion Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef and Rabbi David Lau also paid their respects, as well as many other leaders of the Torah world and the religious political parties.



“His special personality and his amazing expertise in Torah and halachic literature created thousands of students who continue his path through great commitment to the Jewish people and its heritage,” Netanyahu said. 


A view of the crowd that joined in the funeral



His Life and Acheivements 

Rabbi Karelitz was born on the 8th of Av, 1926 in Kosova, Belarus, to HaGaon HaRav Nachum Meir and Batya Karelitz. His uncle was the Chazon Ish zt”l - one of the greatest Torah giants of the previous generation.  


His parents originally named him Shmaryahu Yosef, after his grandfather, the father of the Chazon Ish, Rabbi Shmaryahu Yosef Karelitz. However, after his birth, he was in great danger of his life and miraculously survived, and the name Nissim (miracles) was added. For the rest of his life, he was primarily known by the name Nissim which marked the miracle of his survival.


He moved to Eretz Yisrael with his parents in 1935. In 1951, he married Leah, daughter of Rav Tzvi Kupshitz of Jerusalem, great granddaughter of HaGaon HaRav Chaim Zonnenfeld ZT”L. 


He followed after his father to become the Rosh Kollel of Kollel Chazon Ish, and eventually also the Rabbi of one of the first synagogues in Bnei Brak. He was also the Rabbi of one of the communities in Bnei Brak. 


In 1967, he established the Bnei Brak Beit Din Tzedek, which he headed for some 50 years. His religious court is one of the largest and most respected in the Jewish world, and his rulings in Jewish law are widely accepted. 


His Beit Din is also one of the few independent religious courts to be accepted by the State of Israel for purposes of conversion to Judaism under the Law of Return, as part of an Israeli Supreme Court ruling in 2017. 


Rabbi Karelitz was also active in Degel HaTorah,” one of the largest Ashkenazic religious political parties, for approximately 50 years. 


His sons continue in his footsteps after him. His son Rav Shaul is the Rosh Kollel of Kollel Chazon Ish, and his son Rav Avraham Yeshayahu is the Rabbi of the shul. His son-in-law Rav Sriel Rosenberg is now the Av Beit Din of his Beit Din as well. Bnei Brak Mayor Rabbi Avraham Rubinstein announced at the funeral that as per the wishes of the late Rabbi, Rabbi Karelitz’s son-in-law Rav Mendel Lubin would succeed him as the Rabbi of the Ramat Aharon neighborhood of Bnei Brak.


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