The family of Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky: "The Rabbi expressed his wish to disseminate his knowledge and therefore, immediately after his death, we began dealing with the matter so as to be able to publish his teachings within the year of mourning and make his original manuscript available to the public. After a thorough investigation, we came to the conclusion that there is no place more suitable or professional than the manuscript department of the National Library in Jerusalem for this great endeavor."

Jerusalem, Israel - January 30, 2023 – The National Library of Israel is pleased to announce that the first digitized copies of sefarim belonging to Maran HaGaon haRav Chaim Kanievsky, ztv"l, have been uploaded to KTIV - The International Collection of Digitized Hebrew Manuscripts.  

HaRav Kanievsky, who died last year at the age of 94, was widely considered the Gadol HaDor, a leading authority, and author of many sefarim about Jewish law. Considered the de facto head of the Lithuanian branch of Charedi Judaism, he was both a teacher and an advisor who devoted many hours to receiving audiences who came in search of answers to questions of Torah, or seeking blessings to ease their troubles.

In addition, HaRav Kanievsky was involved in the establishment of the Degel HaTorah Party, and was very influential in the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah..

HaRav Kanievsky was known for his unique system of study, chiefly his annual cycle of reviewing, in-depth, Talmud Bavli and Yerushalmi the writings of the Rambam, and the Shulchan Aruch. Due to this great proficiency, he was dubbed Sar HaTorah. HaRav Kanievsky embellished these sefarim with a multitude of margin notes, including comments on wording and content; testament to his perceptiveness and expertise.

The National Library of Israel recently launched a project to digitize the books authored by HaRav Kanievsky, which were donated to the Library by the family. The Kanievsky family also wish to publish his writings and sefarim, so as to expose the public to his teachings and comments which, to date, had not been made public. 

The first sefarim to be scanned and uploaded to the Library's KTIV website are the five volumes of the Talmud Yerushalmi that HaRav Kanievsky studied each day. On the pages of each volume are many handwritten notations.  

The family noted that HaRav Kanievsky had always intended to organize his notes and papers for publication, but this did not come to pass for various reasons.

"The Rav expressed this wish to his students, and indeed immediately after his death we began dealing with the matter so as not to delay the dissemination of his teachings, and to have time to publish them within the year of mourning. After a thorough investigation, we came to the conclusion that there is no place more suitable or professional than the manuscript department of the National Library in Jerusalem for this great and noble endeavor.

"And indeed, the department's staff worked long hours on this project with earnest devotion and the result is definitely satisfactory. All volumes of the Talmud Yerushalmi, comprising at least 2,500 pages, including the commentary, were scanned at an extremely high quality, and uploaded to the Library's website for public reference," stated one family member who added emphatically that he hoped that the family's cooperation with the National Library of Israel would continue in the future.

According to Yitzchack Gila, director of the Manuscripts Department at the National Library of Israel, several of the sefarim belonging to HaRav Kanievsky underwent a special process in the Library's Conservation and Restoration Department. This was because, over the years, the pages had become worn, and required preparation by the department's laboratory to enable optimal scanning.

Gila added, "From the moment we uploaded the scan of the sefarim to the Library's website, we began to receive enthusiastic responses from the readers, most of whom are being exposed for the first time to his handwriting, his comments, and his pearls of wisdom. Following the enormous public interest in these materials, we hope to continue receiving more sefarim and manuscripts from the Kanievsky family, thereby providing a service to his many students, to Torah scholars and to the general public."