April 23, 2024
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Rav Chaim in a Way You’ve Never Seen Before

A conversation with Rav Avraham Yeshaya Steinman, author of “Rav Chaim: A Life of Halachah”

Highlighting: “Rav Chaim Kanievsky: Living A Life of Halachah” by Rabbi Avraham Yeshayahu Shteinman. Mesorah Publications Ltd. 2023. English. Hardcover.‎ 334 pages. ISBN-13:‎ 978-1422638941.

(Courtesy of Artscroll) No doubt you’ve read, and been amazed and inspired by, ArtScroll’s biography of Rav Chaim Kanievsky zt”l, written by Rabbi Naftali Weinberger. (If you haven’t, go right now and start reading.) You may also have studied ArtScroll’s sefarim that present Rav Chaim’s Torah thoughts on different topics. And of course, you’ve heard the countless stories about his berachos, his compassion and his extraordinary diligence.

Now, ArtScroll proudly shares another book about Rav Chaim, which looks at his life and teachings in a wholly new and unique way: through the prism of his customs and practices, as seen and recorded by Rav Avraham Yeshaya Shteinman, grandson of both Rav Chaim and Rav Aharon Leib Shteinman.

Rav Chaim lived a life that was “kulo Torah”—completely Torah. His every action, every step, every moment was directed and defined by the Shulchan Aruch and the poskim, and by the practices and minhagim of his uncle, the Chazon Ish, and his father, the Steipler Gaon.

“Rav Chaim: A Life of Halachah” brings us the halachic sources and background of Rav Chaim’s practices, with hundreds of beautiful photos that give us a powerful visual glimpse of his greatness. We follow the Sar HaTorah from Tikkun Chatzos through his first moments of awakening; from donning his tallis to reciting Kriyas Shema before his few hours of sleep. We sit with him at his Shabbos table, in his sukkah and at his Seder.

In this stunning and unusual book, we will view Rav Chaim’s life the way it was meant to be viewed, and the way he lived it: through the prism of Torah and mitzvos.

We spoke to Rav Avraham Yeshaya about the sefer and his relationship with his “Saba”:

What is the backstory of this fascinating and unusual sefer?

I merited being by my grandfather, Rav Chaim, from when I was a young child. One of my rebbeim told me after my bar mitzvah that I should write down all the distinct halachic customs that my grandfather followed, and I should ask him for his reasoning behind it.

This full-color book has such beautiful, evocative photos of the Sar HaTorah, many of them rare. What went into finding such a variety?

When ArtScroll came out with the book on my grandmother, Rebbetzin Batsheva, the author asked me to collect as many pictures as possible. Many of the pictures matched the exact halachic customs that my grandfather followed and are included in the sefer.

Please share something about your two “sabas”—Rav Chaim and Rav Aharon Leib Shteinman.

They were extremely close to each other and appreciated each other immensely. In the later years, when each one was overburdened, helping many individuals as well as the klal, they would frequently send regards and warm berachos to each other through me or one of their other mutual grandchildren.

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