Rabbi Gershon Edelstein
Rabbi Gershon EdelsteinPhoto by Yaakov Naumi/Flash90

Just prior to the start of Shabbat (Sabbath) at sundown Friday afternoon, Rabbi Gershon Edelstein, a leading Lithuanian-haredi rabbi and the head of prestigious Ponovezh yeshiva, was informed of the death of his contemporary and colleague, Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky.

Rabbi Kanievsky, 94, passed away just before sundown on Friday. His funeral will be held Sunday.

Members of the household of Rabbi Edelstein, 98, described his pained reaction to the news: "They came to tell our teacher, may he live long, and our teacher became engulfed in silence for several long minutes, and sighed deeply: 'Oy! Oy!'"

"Afterwards he added: 'He had many merits, many merits. The devotion, such devotion. He walked in the street and did not even know the name of the street. The entire way to the Chazon Ish yeshiva, he would walk from home. And what was the name of the street? He doesn't know! He does not look!'

"'He was careful not to look at anything other than Torah, and when he would travel on the road he always had a gemara the entire time. He had proficiency - such outstanding proficiency, he had proficiency, and he also did miracles.'"