Rabbi Eliyahu Yosef of Drivin was one of the elder disciples of Rabbi DovBer of Lubavitch, and after the rebbe’s passing in 1827, he became a disciple of his successor and son-in-law, Rebbe Menachem Mendel of Lubavitch. Both rebbes used to direct students to Rabbi Eliyahu Yosef to learn chassidic philosophy from his mouth.

He moved from Drivin, and became the rabbi of Polotzk. Subsequently he became dangerously ill, and his doctors gave up hope of saving his life.

He set out at once for the Holy Land . . .

Interestingly, the disease from which he suffered is the subject of a conflict of opinion in the Code of Jewish Law. If an animal were to contract this disease, Rabbi Yosef Caro holds it to be still kosher, while Rabbi Moshe Isserles holds the animal to be trefah, in which case it must be discarded.

Reb Eliyahu Yosef said, “I know what to do. I will go and settle in the Holy Land, where Rabbi Yosef Caro (from his time onward) is the dominant ruling legal authority for that region. In Israel, the law will be settled in accordance with his view!”

He set out at once for the Holy Land, where he lived for over twenty years more. He passed away on the twelfth of Tammuz 5625 (1865) in Jerusalem, and among those hills he was brought to rest.

Adapted by Yerachmiel Tilles from Sippurei Chassidim by Rabbi S. Y. Zevin and other oral sources.

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