Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky ztz"l
Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky ztz"l Aharon Krohn/Flash90

Rabbi Mordechai Blau, a renowned educator, was interviewed on Radio Kol Chai on Monday morning and discussed the life and teachings of Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky ztz"l, who passed away last Friday at the age of 94.

"I once had a certain question I needed to ask Rav Chaim concerning a young boy who had been enrolled in a Torah institution but whose father did not observe Shabbat according to halachah [Jewish law]," Rabbi Blau related.

"I wanted to ask what the boy should do when his father made Kiddush on Shabbat. According to halachah, wine that is handled by a Shabbat desecrator is forbidden for consumption, so what should the boy do? Could he drink the Kiddush wine?"

Rabbi Blau continued, "I don't know if this is a ruling that is applicable to every case or just to this specific instance, but Rav Chaim told me that if a Jew makes Kiddush, then his wine does not become prohibited even if he switches on his cell phone immediately afterward. Rav Chaim added that there was also the question of the boy honoring his father to be taken into consideration, and he said that the whole household would certainly become more observant and respectful of Judaism.

"Everything Rav Chaim said was judged in accordance with his incredible clarity in all aspects of halachah, and it was simply astounding to observe," he added.

"I also merited to know the Steipler, Rav Chaim's father," Rabbi Blau noted. "They were very different in many ways. The Steipler was a person who saw things in sharp contrast, black-and-white. Rav Chaim was different. For instance, the Steipler would never allow himself to be photographed, but Rav Chaim would allow it for purposes of tzedakah [to use his picture in charity campaigns -ed.]. Rav Chaim literally gave up his life for the Jewish People."