Last night myriads of mourners packed Reines Street in Kiryat Moshe/Givat Shaul. Some of them were fortunate to be right in front of Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu's synagogue. They were able to see those delivering the eulogies. I was not among them. I showed up early for the funeral, but not early enough. Reines Street was already packed with a diverse group of people that came to pay their last respects to one of the greatest rabbis of our generation.
Like I said, it was a diverse group: National religious, "Lithuanians", Hasidim, Sephardim, traditional and even secular Jews were there. The Rabbi was a not only a great Torah scholar of great piety and a wise man, he was also a unifying force in the nation, respected by all.
He loved the nation, and the nation loved him! He was accessible. Anyone who had a question could visit him in his office. You could also catch him on Fridays outside of the Mikvah building. People would wait for him there to ask him questions after his pre-Sabbath immersion. On Sabbath you could catch him on his way back from the synagogue. On such occasions he was surrounded by admirers anxious to ask a question or to hear whatever the rabbi was saying.
He stood on the front lines against the "disengagement". Despite his prayers, the Jewish communities in the Gaza Strip were destroyed and their inhabitants were forcefully expelled from their homes. He did his best to prevent what was a violation of Torah law, a colossal tactical and strategic mistake, a crime against the communities and their inhabitants, and a crime against the Jewish people as a whole.
Rabbi Eliayahu also made his voice heard with regards to another injustice: the continuing incarceration of Jonathan Pollard. Pollard found in Rabbi Eliyahu a spiritual leader and a source of hope.
Our neighborhood was blessed by three giants of Torah: HaRav Shaul Yisraeli zt"l, HaRav Avraham Shapira zt"l and HaRav Mordechai Eliyahu zt"l. All of them were rabbinical court judges and respected authorities of Jewish law. They are gone and they have no replacement!