“You shall stand up before the gray head and honor the face of an old man, and you shall fear your God: I am the Lord.” (Leviticus 19:32)
Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky is one of the most prominent rabbis of this generation. He is a leader of the Haredi branch of Judaism and the author of numerous authoritative books on Jewish law. In a distinctly uncharacteristic manner, he has recently begun making declarations of the Messiah’s imminent arrival.
In a YouTube video posted on November 2nd of a recent lecture by Rabbi Shlomo Boyer, a respected teacher in Bnei Brak, Rabbi Boyer described how Rabbi Shteinman, the leader of Lithuanian Judaism, was about to travel to America for pressing reasons. He went to Rabbi Kanievsky to receive a blessing for a safe journey and success.
Rabbi Kanievsky replied that he should not travel, saying, “It very well could be the Messiah will come this week. He can come at any moment. He is here with us already. Don’t travel.”
Rabbi Kanievsky has dedicated his life to Torah study and is generally not given to messianic or bombastic proclamations, but in the last year, this has changed dramatically. Last year, Rabbi Kanievsky announced the Messiah would come when the Shmittah year ended, which occurred on the Jewish New Year on September 13th. In August, the rabbi advised a young man, “Gather your family and come to Israel. Otherwise, there won’t be enough room for you on the airplanes.” In April, close associates quoted him as instructing listeners to, “Yell it from the loudspeakers.The Messiah is at the door.”
When asked what needs to be done to prepare for the coming of the Messiah, the Rabbi replied that Jews must strengthen their belief and trust in God.
After the massacre of Jews in the synagogue in Har Nof last November, Rabbi Kanievsky was asked to give some words of comfort to the people. He replied that the deaths were an atonement before the arrival of the Messiah, which would be arriving shortly.