Rav Shlomo Elyashiv
Leshem Shabo V'Achlama
Rav Shlomo Elyashiv spent most of his life in Eastern Europe in the area which is now known as the country of Belarus. Toward the end of his life, he made aliyah to Eretz Yisrael before the establishment of the State of Israel. His students included Rav Avraham Yitzhak HaCohen Kook, zt"l, and other great Rabbis of that generation. His grandson, Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, zt"l, became well-known, as one of the great leaders of this generation. The Leshem left us with four full volumes of his writings so that subsequent generations can more fully understand the Kabbalah.
Further Biographical Sources
You can read more about his life at DailyZohar.com
You can listen to an excellent lecture about his life
The following is an excerpt from Rav Rosenfeld's paper entitled
A Tribute to Rav Shlomo Elyashiv
R. Shlomo Elyashiv (1841‐1926) known as the Leshem after his vast body‐of‐work Leshem Shevo v‐Achloma was a Lithuanian Kabbalist known for his adherence to the school of Kabbalat Ha‐Gra. Described as the fourth stage, or peh revieeh within the chain of talmidei ha‐Gra, the Leshem formed a system in which the apparent contradictions between the Vilna Gaon and the Arizal were reconciled through a unique form of Kabbalistic analytics. R. Avraham Yitzhak ha‐Kohen Kook, a close friend and student of the Leshem described R. Elyashiv as applying Talmudic analytics ( pilpul ) onto the Lurianic corpus thereby clarifying and reconciling the various contradictions and textual ambiguities. With an exhaustive knowledge of the gamut of Jewish esoterica‐ from the philosophic rationality of the Rishonim to the complex intricacies of R. Chaim de La Rosa’s Torat Chachom ‐ the Leshem can be described as one of the most comprehensive as well as creative Kabbalistic thinkers of the late 19th and early 20th century. Born in Zagory, a small city in northern Lithuania, R. Elyashiv was raised studying Talmud with his father R. Chaim Chaikl Elyashiv until leaving home to study under the tutelage of R. Gershon Tanchum of Minsk where he became known for his Talmudic expertise. After his marriage to the daughter of R. Dovid Fein, the Leshem went on to study at the Telshe yeshiva where his intellect and vast memory earned him the appellation of Telsher illui. While in Telshe the Leshem was introduced to chochmat ha‐nistar by his teacher R. Yosef Reissen who then served as the Rav of Telshe. While learning in Telshe, R. Elyashiv became familiar with the fundamental texts of Jewish mysticism, learning the Pardes Rimonim of R. Moshe Cordevero as well as the Vilna Gaon’s commentaries on Sefer Yetzirah, Safra D’Tzniyuta and the Tikkunei Zohar. Only afterward did the Leshem begin studying the system of the Arizal and its commentaries. R. Aryeh Levin who served as R. Elyashiv’s assistant after the latter’s move to Jerusalem includes within the curriculum the texts of R. Moshe Chaim Luzzato as well; however the distinctive relationship between R. Shlomo Elyashiv and the Ramchal’s school of Lurianic mysticism will be discussed below. After leaving Telshe, the Leshem settled in Shavel, Lithuania where he began to write what would become his vast oeuvre known as Leshem Shevo v‐Achloma. In 1922, through the help of Rav Avraham Isaac haKohen Kook and Rav Yitzhak haLevi Herzog, R. Shlomo Elyashiv moved to Jerusalem with his family where he eventually passed away on the 27th of Adar in 1926. While never accepting upon himself any form of communal leadership, the Leshem became known as the preeminent scholar of Kabbalah, through his written works, glosses, vast reaching editorial skills, and the various rabbinic personalities with whom he studied and taught.
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