Holy, holy, holey

Torn pants of late Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky up for auction

Starting bid set by New Jersey auctioneers at $3,200; garment comes with letter of confirmation from ultra-Orthodox leader’s grandson confirming he wore them for ‘a long time’

Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky at his home in the city of Bnei Brak, on July 15, 2021. (Yaakov Nahumi/Flash90)
Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky at his home in the city of Bnei Brak, on July 15, 2021. (Yaakov Nahumi/Flash90)

JTA — A pair of pants coming up for auction are being described as “holy” — and not just because they’re a little torn.

Rather, the pants once belonged to the late Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky, an Israeli ultra-Orthodox leader considered by his followers to be the leading Jewish authority of his generation. Kanievsky died last year at age 94, and now anyone can be the owner of his pants – provided they can afford them. The starting bid is $3,200.

The bidding at the Prime Judaica auction house, in the heavily ultra-Orthodox New Jersey city of Lakewood, begins March 1. The item is listed in Hebrew as “Holy pants from the Prince of Torah, our leader Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky.”

Included on the auction house page is a letter written and signed by Gedalyahu Konigsberg, who identifies himself as a grandson of, and former aide to, Chaim Kanievsky.

“I, the undersigned, testify that these black pants… of the Shai Shaul company, with a rip on the bottom, were worn by my elder, the esteemed Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky, of blessed righteous memory, for a long period of time,” reads the letter signed by Konigsberg. “I merited to see him wearing this with my own eyes.”

On the website of an online retailer, Shai Shaul pants run from roughly $13.50 to $16.25.

Letters and legal rulings written by Kanievsky have gone to auction for hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars, and started going up for sale during his lifetime.

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