Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, one of the most revered figures in the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community, is reportedly in critical condition after suffering from organ failure.
Elyashiv, who is nearly 102 years old, was admitted to the intensive care unit in Jerusalem's Shaare Zedek Medical Center on Monday after first being hospitalized on Sunday. Elyashiv underwent coronary artery bypass surgery several months ago.
Prayer sessions for the rabbi's recovery were held in all of Israel's ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods on Monday. The leaders of the Lithuanian-Haredi community halted all study sessions and called on their students to join the prayers. Ultra-Orthodox radio stations are broadcasting news of the rabbi's condition continuously.
Senior rabbis, ultra-Orthodox Knesset members from United Torah Judaism, and many of the rabbi's followers visited the hospital on Monday to await news of his condition. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly called MK Moshe Gafni (United Torah Judaism ) to ask about Elyashiv's condition.
Unofficially, Elyashiv is the paramount leader of the Lithuanian-Haredi community, both in Israel and abroad. Many Ashkenazi Jews regard him as the contemporary leading halakhic authority.
Elyashiv makes all major halakhic decisions and decides on issues such as who is considered a Jew and questions of organ donations. By endorsing certain nominees, the rabbi also determines who the ultra-Orthodox community will support for appointments to top positions such as Jerusalem mayor and the Ashkenazi chief rabbi of Israel.
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