The funeral of Rabbi Edelstein in Bnei Brak. Credit: AP
Last Tuesday, May 30, hundreds of thousands of Israelis went to Bnei Brak for the funeral of Rabbi Gershon Edelstein, who died at the age of 100. Edelstein was a reference for Haredi Ashkenazi Jews, being recognized for mediating issues between Haredi and secular Jews with dialogue, wisdom and tolerance.
In a statement, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: "I was fortunate to meet with Rabbi Edelstein several months ago, and the light that shone in his eyes was full of understanding; Jewish wisdom left an indelible mark on him. The importance of instilling the heritage of Israel in the children of Israel sprang from the depths of his soul."
Edelstein was born in 1923 in the former Soviet Union into a family of rabbis. In 1934, he went to Palestine with his father and brother – his mother had already died. President Isaac Herzog declared that Edelstein “was a spiritual leader of enormous stature whose Torah and pious greatness influenced our generation and will influence generations to come.”
Rabbi Gershon Edelstein. Credit: AP
Baruch Dov Povarsky, Edelstein's successor as head of the Ponevezh Yeshiva, got emotional as he spoke of the rabbi: “Not too many people can be compared to Moses”, said. “Like Moses, Rabbi Edelstein did not want leadership, but accepted it when it was thrust upon him. His humility, devotion and wisdom are a guiding light for generations to come.”