Thousands break COVID rules at Rabbi Meshulam Soloveitchik's funeral

Rabbi Meshulam Dovid Soloveitchik, one of the scion’s of the Soloveitchik dynasty and leaders of the Brisk yeshivas, passed away at the age of 99

Masses attend the funeral of Rabbi Meshulam Dovid Soloveitchik, January 31, 2021 (photo credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH 90)
Masses attend the funeral of Rabbi Meshulam Dovid Soloveitchik, January 31, 2021
(photo credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH 90)
Rabbi Meshulam Dovid Soloveitchik, rosh yeshiva of one of the Brisk yeshivas in Jerusalem, passed away on Sunday at the age of 99, three months after he was confirmed as being infected with the novel coronavirus.
His condition worsened on Friday evening, and after efforts to save his life, he passed away on Sunday morning.
Thousands of people attended Soloveitchik’s funeral on Sunday despite the coronavirus lockdown. The police enlisted the help of yeshiva leaders to limit the number of participants. They set up roadblocks and took other measures to prevent people from attending. About 20 buses on their way to the funeral were stopped by police, KAN News reported.
During the funeral, Rabbi Yitzchok Scheiner, rosh yeshiva of the Kamenitz Yeshiva of Jerusalem, who was considered the “elder of the heads of the yeshivot” after Soloveitchik died, passed away due to complications caused by the novel coronavirus. He was 98 years old.
Rabbi Meshulam Dovid Soloveitchik, rosh yeshiva of the Brisk yeshiva in Jerusalem
Some politicians were angry that Health Ministry regulations had been broken when many people attended the funeral procession.
“[This is] very bad in every way,” Deputy Health Minister Yoav Kisch (Likud) tweeted in response to the funeral. “Public attitude to restrictions, poor. Police ability to enforce, poor. A funeral with a failed health score. A funeral that will unfortunately lead to more funerals. Then they wonder why the lockdown does not reduce the infection rates.”
Defense Minister Benny Gantz (Blue and White) said: “Millions of families and children are locked in their homes and abide by the rules while thousands of haredim crowd the funeral, most of them even without masks.
“We will not agree to the continuation of an ineffective fake lockdown. Either everyone is locked down or everyone opens. The days of indulgence are over.”
Masses attend the funeral of Rabbi Meshulam Dovid Soloveitchik, January 31, 2021 (Credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)Masses attend the funeral of Rabbi Meshulam Dovid Soloveitchik, January 31, 2021 (Credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Ron Huldai, head of the Israelis Party, tweeted: “Bibi’s [nickname for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu] lockdown, as your eyes see, is a complete failure. It needs to stop and a new plan needs to be made. Bibi-Gantz and the rest of the government ministers, for those of you who still have a spine, stop this disgrace.”
Soloveitchik, referred to as “elder of the heads of the yeshivot,” leaves behind his wife, two sons and a daughter.
He was born in Brest, Belarus in the Jewish community known as Brisk in 1921 and was a scion of the Soloveitchik dynasty. His father, Rabbi Yitzchok Zev Halevi Soloveitchik, known as the Brisker Rav, re-established the Brisk Yeshiva in Jerusalem after fleeing the Holocaust. The yeshiva later split into a number of yeshivas headed by his sons. Meshulam Dovid’s grandfather was Rabbi Chaim Soloveitchik, a Talmudic scholar who was the son of Rabbi Yosef Dov Soloveitchik, also known as the Beis Halevi.
The Modern Orthodox leader, Rabbi Joseph Ber Soloveitchik, commonly referred to as the Rav in American communities, was Meshulam Dovid’s first cousin.
According to the haredi news website Kikar Hashabbat, Scheiner, who passed away shortly after Soloveitchik, was extremely careful about following coronavirus guidelines and did not leave his home for a long period. He was confirmed as infected with the virus 10 days before he was set to receive the second dose of the vaccine.
From an early age, Scheiner was considered a prodigy in Torah learning and put great effort into it, Kikar Hashabbat reported. He studied at the yeshiva of Rabbi Yitzchak Elchanan in New York and then Yeshiva Torah Vodaath, headed by Rabbi Shlomo Heiman, one of the most prominent yeshivas in the US at the time. Later, he was appointed as the rosh yeshiva of the Kamenitz Yeshiva to replace his father-in-law.
Rabbi Avraham Avidan, the former rosh yeshiva of Yeshivat Sha’alvim, passed away on Shabbat.