Pollards' Beloved Rabbi Eliyahu Passes Away

Hillel Fendel - Arutz7 - June 7, 2010


- Just as Jews around the country were preparing to gather to pray for Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu, word of his death arrived.

Earlier in the afternoon, it was reported that his medical condition had severely deteriorated, and that prayers were sought.

Rabbi Eliyahu, 81, was the spiritual leader of much of the religious-Zionist sector. Hospitalized for nearly a year in Shaarei Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem, his condition was downgraded today to "critical," and not for the first time. Family members were called to his bedside, and were by his side when he passed away.

His funeral will depart from Heichal Yaakov, the rabbi's synagogue and Torah study hall in Kiryat Moshe, Jerusalem, at 10 PM. The police have already announced that streets in the area will be closed to cars, and that they will be out in large numbers.

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat said, "I am a partner to the heavy mourning of the Nation of Israel in general, and of Jerusalem in particular, on the passing of the great Torah leader, father and rabbi to myriads, and from whom I was privileged to benefit from his proximity and learn from his wisdom. Rabbi Mordechai Eliylahu, who engraved on his flag love of Israel and outreach, and who always found the good in people, will be engraved in all our hearts and his path will light our way. I send my condolences to the Rabbanit [his widow], his sons the rabbis, his family members and his many students."

Rabbi Shalom Dov Wolpe of the Land of Israel Task Force said, "One of the great leaders of the People of Israel has been lost. He fought bravely for the integrity of the Land of Israel, and the love of Israel beat in his heart. The loss of righteous people is as terrible as the burning of the House of our G-d; who can replace him? All of those loyal to the Torah of Israel and the Land of Israel must strengthen themselves and continue in his path. We express our condolences to his son and follower in his path, Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu.

The National Union and Jewish Home parties issued a joint statement of mourning for the loss of Rabbi Eliyahu, as did the Hevron Jewish Community.

The Binyamin and Shomron Residents Committee issued this statement: "We bitterly mourn the loss of Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu of saintly blessed memory. The Rabbi was the pillar of fire that walked before the camp of the residents of Judea and Samaria, encouraged them at their difficult hours and worked to helped them."

Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu was born in 1929 in the Old City of Jerusalem; his mother was a granddaughter of the famed Ben Ish Chai. He served as Israel's Chief Sephardic Rabbi - the Rishon LeTzion - from 1983 until 1993, together with the late Rabbi Avraham Shapira, and the two continued for years afterwards to lead the national-religious public in matters of Jewish Law and thought. He authored several works on both.

Rabbi Eliyahu was close to many leading rabbis, including the Chazon Ish, the Lubavitcher Rebbe, and Rabbi Yitzhak Nissim, and was the personal rabbi of imprisoned Jonathan Pollard. He headed the Keren Moreshet network of Torah core groups that settled in various cities throughout the country.

The sage was in poor and very painful condition for several months. Two weeks ago, tens of thousands of people gathered in three different locations to pray for Rabbi Eliyahu's health, following a similar deterioration.

His son, Tzfat's Chief Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, told Arutz-7's "Preparing for Redemption" radio program at that time, "The situation is not good. Ever since last Elul [August], the rabbi has been in the emergency room, and is undergoing terrible suffering. The very fact of his long hospitalization leads to a slow deterioration; sores open, close, open... things are going backward instead of forward."

J4JP Adds:

In a message sent to family, friends and supporters today, Jonathan and Esther Pollard wrote:


Baruch Dayan Hamet

Our beloved rav, His Honor HaRav Mordechai Eliyahu zt"l, our saintly teacher, our cherished moreh derech, our beloved father, light of our eyes and crowning glory of our generation has left us to plead before Kisei Hakavod for Am Yisrael. Now the Geula may start in earnest, but the loss is simply too great to bear.
And the heart cannot hear it, nor the mind grasp it.
We are orphans.
Broken-hearted orphans.

Jonathan and Esther Pollard

Details for the Levaya tonight, June 7, 2010 B"H:

The Levaya will proceed from the Rav's shul on Rechov Reiness in Kyriat Moshe.
Women on Ben-tzion (upper level) and men on Reiness (lower level)
At 10:00 going to Har Hamenuchos. May G-d give us all strength to bear this unbearable loss...Baruch Dayan HaEmet.