As each Jewish holiday or fast day approaches, some mystic predicts the apocalypse. And there is one from Rav Chaim Kanievsky. A sample:
While the fast of 9 Av is still in the air, a resident of Bnei Brak visited the honorable Rav Kanievsky Shila to ask him a few questions regarding the fast. The revered Rav answered him, "The answers I'll give you will not help you. By this time next year, Moshiach will be here and we will no longer be fasting."Yet if mashiach does not arrive before then, I will think no less of Rav Kanievsky. This, because I seriously doubt that this was a messianic prediction. (I also think the reaction shot of those in the house is hyperbole to get people convinced that this is the real deal; alternatively, those who frequent his house and misinterpret his every remark might simply be morons.)
The above rare answer from the Rav is extremely extraordinary. All those present in Rav Kanievsky's house were astounded to hear this surprise answer.
Here is how I would understand the story. First, let me relate another story. The Rav in shiur was once discussing the halachos of Shabbos, and the topic turned to how to diaper a baby on Shabbos. One nudnik repeatedly pressed for answers about particular details. The next day, this fellow showed up to shiur with a baby doll and a diaper, and asked for clarification on particular details. The Rav asked him whether he had a baby. The fellow said no. And the Rav said "When you have a baby, then I'll answer your questions about this."
Big Gedolim are often pestered by nudniks (think Hillel HaZaken), and Rav Chaim Kanievsky is apparently no exception. But one mark of their gadlus may be how they deal with such nudniks.
And so, last year Tisha Be'Av, Rav Kanievsky was fasting. Not only that, but on that same day, July 29, 2009, his wife was hospitalized for a heart condition. To cite a blurb about this:
She was released from the hospital on July 31st, as reported by Yeshiva World.Bnei Brak, Eretz Yisroel: The Rebbetzin of Maran Hagaon Rav Chaim Kanievsky Shlita has been hospitalized for a heart condition. The Rebbetzin is visited by thousands of people for her advice and Brachos, as Rav Kanevsky is very busy.
Please be Mispallel for her Refuah Shelaima.
So we have a Gadol whose wife was just hospitalized. And even if this is just before she was hospitalized, Rav Kanievsky is old, and he had been fasting for a while -- he is not necessarily feeling so well himself. And some nudnik from Bnei Brak approaches him and starts peppering him with questions about the halachos of Tisha B'Av. Are these questions practical, halacha lemaaseh questions which are immediately necessary? No! Because Tisha B'Av is already in progress.
And so Rav Kanievsky tells him, using careful words so as not to insult the nudnik, that "the answers I'll give you will not help you" this year. And as for next year's Tisha B'Av, be'ezras Hashem, by that time moshiach will have come and we will not be fasting. (Much like the buying of the suit, that be'ezras Hashem, we will be able to wear the suit to greet moshiach and not just for the upcoming wedding.) Implied, to the non-moron, is that if mashiach does not arrive by then, the fellow should come back and ask his practical questions. Unfortunately, Rav Kanievsky appears to be surrounded by morons who misunderstand and distort his every word.