Letters written by the Hazon Ish donated to National Library of Israel

Fourteen letters written in the 1940s by legendary ultra-Orthodox rabbi Avraham Yeshaya Karelitz were given to Israel's National Library in Jerusalem.

The Hazon Ish. From the Abraham Schwadron Portrait Collection at the National Library of Israel. (photo credit: COURTESY/THE NATIONAL LIBRARY OF ISRAEL)
The Hazon Ish. From the Abraham Schwadron Portrait Collection at the National Library of Israel.
(photo credit: COURTESY/THE NATIONAL LIBRARY OF ISRAEL)

Fourteen letters written over 70 years ago by the influential rabbi Avraham Yeshaya Karelitz, widely known as the "Hazon Ish," were donated to the National Library of Israel by the family of one of his former students, the late Rabbi Zvi Yehuda, to whom the letters are addressed.

Karelitz was born in Belarus and emigrated to Israel in 1933, where he influenced countless Jewish leaders, both religious and secular, including Israel's first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion.

One of the letters, written to Rabbi Yehuda following his decision to receive a secular education and enlist in the Israeli military, read: "I am rich with love for others, particularly toward you, a young person armed with talents and with an understanding heart… But when I saw the sudden change in you recently… I had to wait and process my great pain."

Karelitz died in 1953. He has been recognized for his work studying halakha, or Jewish law, and for his lasting impact on modern ultra-Orthodox Jewry.

Rabbi Yehuda's family said that the highly personal letters "represent a bond between two remarkable individuals; an unlikely teacher-student pair. We invite laypersons and scholars alike to access the letters, and learn about the teacher, the student, and their special connection."

Hazon Ish letters. National Library of Israel, Jerusalem. (credit: COURTESY/THE NATIONAL LIBRARY OF ISRAEL)Hazon Ish letters. National Library of Israel, Jerusalem. (credit: COURTESY/THE NATIONAL LIBRARY OF ISRAEL)

A free online event will be held this coming Sunday, October 17, at 8 PM IDT, to celebrate the arrival of the letters. Rabbi Zvi Yehuda's daughter, Prof. Rachel Yehuda, and son, Gil Yehuda, will be featured at the event. For more information, or to register for the event, visit www.nli.org.il/en/visit/events/hazon-ish.