2. At Judaism.Stackexchange, ostrich eggs in shul, based on Midrash Talpiyot:
The eggs symbolize the fact that the Eye of Hashem (so to speak) is at all times focused on Klal Yisrael. Nothing can possibly get in the way of this Hashgacha Pratis. Like the eggs that hatch only through the continuous surveillance of the mother ostrich. whose gaze must be continuous without distraction or interruption, or else the chicks will not survive. so we owe our survival solely to the constant Hashgacha of Hashem.This sounds like it is based on the Galenic theory of sight via extramission, that rays shoot from the eye and see at a distance.
3. Other blogs picked up the story of the Tznius Lady. Is mockery the best way to go about this? Perhaps.
Emes veEmunah does not think very much of the stories about Rav Elyashiv. In a post titled "Inspiration? Or Idiocy?" he tells over the following:
Mishpacha Magazine (in Hebrew) had a whole section this past weekend devoted to R' Elyashiv. One article dealt with R' Elyashiv's unbelievable hasmada in learning and had some stories which demonstrated his unbelievable hasmada.
Here are 2 stories from the article:
1. "When R' Chaim Kanievsky was a young Avrech, his wife, Batsheva Kanievsky [R' Elyashiv's oldest daughter], complained to him that he didn't learn the same way that she saw in her [father's] house. There is no need to say that the Grach even then was one of the biggest masmidim of his generation and learned day and night. Even so, the Rabbanit said "You recognize the children and can identify each child by name. By us, when we were little children it was patently clear to everyone in the house that father [R' Elyashiv] due to his tremendous diligence in learning didn't recognize us and didn't know our names"
2. "R Yosef Shalom was not involved at all in the running of the house. He didn't receive a salary from anywhere he didn't preside over the Shabbos table and he had no idea where the money came from.
The lack [of material goods, money] was so terrible that it literally became life threatening, one of the daughters was hospitalized because of malnutrition and almost died."
He feels comfortable criticizing because he believes that they must surely be made up. Thus, he writes:
Now - I do not believe these stories. I am convinced that these are exaggerations to highlight his devotion to Torah study. What is important to note about this is that Mishpacha felt this was something positive and thereby something to emulate!He makes a good point that it is interesting that Mishpacha felt that this was something positive. And that deserved address. But it is also interesting that he is so convinced that these stories must have been made up. There is little basis for saying so.
As one commenter there notes:
Besides that these stories are recorded in the new book "Rebetzin Kanievsky", these stories can be verified by contacting R ' Elyashiv's children and grandchildren. This speaks very poorly of your level of secular education that you so advocate and espouse. No secular academic would allow himself to make public pronouncements of opinions of which he did not verify (when they are verifiable). It makes you look highly foolish and ignorant to publicly express disbelief in something that can be verified.Further, these quotes can be traced directly to his daughter. And Rabbi Maryles (the blogger) reponds:
In other words, the disbelief is a form of Gadol worship. Remake the Gadol in your own image. (So while yes, people for example attribute plenty of false things to Rav Chaim Kanievsky, there does not seem to be reason here to doubt these biographical details.)I don't care who said it. I do not believe a Gadol of any stature would ignore his own children to that extent. That ArtScroll published it in one of their Hagiographies shows that they too thought this was a flattering statement about him. Perhaps you think so too.Personally - I think this is about as unflattering a statement about a Gadol anyone can make!
Yet, what some people view as negative others view as positive. This is not the first time such reports have been made about him. I read over Shabbos a praise of Rav Elyashiv that he made sure to pay a contractor before heading to his daughter's (?) funeral. Isolated, it seems quasi-positive. But it forms part of a larger trend.
See this earlier article about Rav Elyashiv, from March of this year. All is relevant, but some excerpts:
...[P]rofessor Marc B. Shapiro says in 2010: “One of you wants to know if I have read the new biography of Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv.“This is an interesting and unusual book. The ethos in the haredi world is different from what we think is normal.“I’m going to read you some things here that are stated as praise and things to be admired. I’m certain that everyone listening, no matter what community you are from, will be shocked. I don’t know anyone who’s read this book and his opinion of Rav Elyashiv has been raised.
...“I see the Rav Elyashiv’s behavior as completely dysfunctional. He has no relationship with his children.“From pg. 62, his daughter says our father could not distinguish us by our names. He couldn’t identify us. He didn’t have any time to play with his children. Only motzi Shabbos he’d go for a walk. That was the only time during the week that he’d talk to the children.“He never once had simple conversations with his children or with his wife.
And so on and so forth. Finally:“If something was needed, Rav Elyashiv would say what to do. He never went anywhere with his wife. He’d speak to his sons sometimes to see what they were learning but he would not speak to his daughters.“His daughters say, you don’t talk to your father. Do not disturb him.“All he does is learn.”“When the children come to visit, they visit the mother. They have no relationship with the father.”“He was able to overcome all emotion. When his daughter dies, he puts down the volume of choshen mishpat (business laws) and picks up a volume on the laws of mourning.
Marc B. Shapiro emails me: “It is also the case that Israelis approach these matters differently than American haredim. What Israeli haredim often admire, is a turn-off for the typical American haredi. I have a collection of stories of haredi gedolim that appear in Israeli books but would never appear in English translation simply because it would be distressing for American haredim to see what these gedolim did and thought.”I'm sure Rav Elyashiv was a great Torah scholar. I am suspicious of the labeling of someone as the 'posek hador', or even Gadol, since it sounds quite political. But regardless, it is quite possible for someone to be the scion of rabbinic greats, and excel in Torah himself, and still have a personality that leaves something to be desired.
Not that it is impossible that all these stories are being made up by well-intentioned morons. But it does strike me as unlikely.
5. Related, see this discussion at Life In Israel about Rav Elyashiv's legacy. Also, Rabbi David Bar-Haim weighs in on Rav Elyashiv's passing.
6. At COLlive, a misguided apology to R' Mendel Morosow. Here is the original NYPost article for which he is apologizing, which was likely sparked by this.
7. The Evolution of American Orthodoxy: An interview with YU Librarian Zalman Alpert.
8. Here are parshablog, Devarim sources.