`129 An Urgent Call to Pray for Rav Kanievsky
Chananya Weissman
August 29, 2021

What I am going to share is widely known but not publicized in the media.

The media has been reporting many rulings in the name of Rav Chaim Kanievsky. These reports are generally accompanied by a picture of Rav Chaim slouched in a chair, his eyes closed, surrounded by people who look like pious Jews, and a representative of Israel's Ministry of “Health” dutifully wearing a surgical mask for added effect. These pictures are intended to lend credence to the ruling that is being reported in his name. People met with Rav Chaim, took a picture, and reported what he said! All must heed these words!

Did Rav Chaim really say what they claim he said? Did Rav Chaim say anything at all? Was Rav Chaim even awake during the meeting? We are not supposed to ask these questions, let alone doubt the truth of what is being reported. This would render someone crazy and going against “Da'as Torah”, despite the fact that these are essential questions. If we only know that Rav Chaim gave a ruling because an unnamed person, who cannot even be questioned himself, issued a statement to the media to that effect, how can that ruling be considered authoritative, binding, and “Da'as Torah”?

Many people have reported that Rav Chaim can barely speak anymore. He is 93 years old and in frail health. He is no longer capable of writing elaborate Torah rulings or giving public discourses. It stretches the limits of the imagination to believe that Rav Chaim is issuing rulings of any kind, let alone the quotes being attributed to him in the media. There are no recordings of Rav Chaim making these statements, which is difficult to believe considering the importance of these “rulings” and the ease with which those meeting with him can record the meetings.

Somehow all we have are still photos underneath a headline, followed by quotes attributed to Rav Chaim. No actual rulings from his lips. No letters written and signed by him. This is Torah? This is credible?

People who get their news from media sites such as the Jerusalem Post, the Times of Israel, Arutz Sheva, the Jewish Press, and The Yeshiva World are generally uninformed about what is really going on inside Rav Chaim's small home. These media reports are all the same. Their reporters are not in the room. No one from these media outlets is asking questions or investigating the veracity of the story. They are told what to report, and they report it. And because it appears on a media site, most people believe it. It simply has to be true.

It is widely known within the so-called Ultra Orthodox world – especially among those who do not get their information from the Internet – that rulings reported in the name of Rav Chaim are not authentic. Those who have personally visited Rav Chaim, or received first-hand reports from people who have, know that the truth is very different from what is reported in the media.

Rav Chaim Kanievsky is a hostage. Those who manage to visit Rav Chaim these days are essentially visiting an inmate at a prison. An inmate at a prison is not free to receive visitors of his choosing whenever he wants. Who may visit him, and when, and for how long, and under what conditions, are all determined by prison authorities. The visits are tightly monitored by prison authorities. You cannot have a private moment with the inmate or record the meeting. When you visit a prison inmate, for the duration of the visit you are essentially a prisoner as well; in the prison you have no freedom.

This is exactly what it is like to visit Rav Chaim Kanievsky, only this is a maximum security prison in the guise of a Bnei Brak apartment. There is very tight security, many cameras, and it is almost impossible to make a move without someone – including government operatives – watching. You cannot sit down with Rav Chaim and have a conversation about possible adverse effects of certain new pharmaceutical products. You cannot show him a report on the subject. You most certainly cannot record something without permission – not from Rav Chaim, but from the prison warden. If you do, you will be taken to another room, roughed up, and threatened. You will be fortunate if that is all.

Again, this is not a revelation. This is widely known. It is not reported in the “media” because the media is complicit – whether voluntarily or through offers they cannot refuse – in the ruse that Rav Chaim is issuing various rulings. He is not. There are no such rulings. Rav Chaim is a hostage. His captors have permitted him to continue living only because he is worth more to them alive than dead, and he is physically incapable of doing anything about the situation.

I am issuing an urgent call for all of Klal Yisrael to daven for Shmaryahu Yosef Chaim ben Pesha Miriam to be freed from captivity. This is a true case of pidyon shvuyim.

It doesn't matter where one stands on the religious or political spectrum; this is not a partisan issue. An elderly sage is being held hostage in his home, surveilled constantly by government agents, with those close to him under immediate threat, while false, extremely dangerous statements are issued in his name. I am not exaggerating or embellishing. This is a mafia situation. Anyone with a soul and conscience must cry out to Hashem to redeem Rav Kanievsky.

If this is the first time you have heard of this and you find it difficult to believe, I beg you to at least allow for the possibility that this is true. There are numerous people who have personally witnessed this or heard a first-hand report from someone they know and trust. You can easily ask around and hear this for yourself. These are regular people, upstanding, God-fearing Jews without any financial or other vested interest in making up stories about Rav Chaim – unlike those who control what is reported in his name. You owe it to yourself, to the Torah, and to an elderly Torah sage to find out what is really going on.

Please daven for Shmaryahu Yosef Chaim ben Pesha Miriam to be healthy, safe, and free from captivity. Let him be free to study Torah, teach Torah, receive visitors without government surveillance or restraints, and have no one manipulate him or put words in his mouth.

Please spread this message to everyone. May we merit to enjoy the ultimate redemption, along with Rav Chaim, and live with true freedom under the Torah.