Meeting between Rabbi Elyashiv and Rabbi Azriel Auerbach (2)
Yosef Shalom Elyashiv is a grandson of the kabbalist Rabbi Shlomo Elyashiv (the Leshem) (1841--1925) from Šiauliai, Lithuania. His father was Avraham Elyashiv of Homel. His mother was Chaya Moussa Elyashiv, daughter of the Leshem. He was an only child, born to his parents after 17 years of marriage.
Originally his father's surname was Erener, but his father adapted his father-in-law's surname in order to gain a certificate to enter the British Mandate of Palestine. The Elyashivs moved to Palestine in 1922 when Eliashiv was 12 years old.
Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook, Chief Rabbi of Israel, suggested a match for Eliashiv with Sheina Chaya (d. June 19, 1994), a daughter of Rabbi Aryeh Levin. The couple had five sons and seven daughters. Six of their daughters married significant rabbinic figures. One son died of illness as a child, and one daughter was killed in 1948 by Jordanian shelling.
Spiritual and political leader
Elyashiv is the spiritual leader of the Degel HaTorah party which has representatives in the Knesset (Israel's parliament). He holds great influence over the policies of the party, currently part of the umbrella United Torah Judaism list in the Knesset. Degel HaTorah abides by all his rulings and instructions. In 1989, upon the establishment of the religious political party Degel HaTorah, Elazar Shach asked Elyashiv to join in the public leadership, and Elyashiv acceded to his request. He came to the major public gatherings of Degel HaTorah and shared in the task of rendering decisions. Most rosh yeshivas ("yeshiva deans") associated with the Agudath Israel of America movement actively and frequently seek out his opinions and follow his advice and guidelines concerning a wide array of policy and communal issues affecting the welfare of Orthodox Judaism. Despite his exceptional scholarship and influence, Eliashiv holds no official title, neither as head of a congregation, yeshiva, or particular community.
Elyashiv spends most of his days engaged in Talmudical study, and delivers lectures in Talmud and Shulkhan Arukh at a local synagogue in the Meah Shearim area in Jerusalem where he lives. He receives supplicants from all over the world and answers complex Halakhic inquiries.
Rabbi Aharon Leib Shteinman was asked if there is anyone in our generation who understands Kabbalah. Steinman thought for a while, and then nodded his head and answered affirmatively. He was then asked who it is, and after a moment's silence Rabbi Steinman answered: "Rabbi Elyashiv." 
The Halakhic rulings and sermonic insights of Rabbi Eliashiv have been recorded in several books. The multi-volume Kovetz Teshuvos contains responsa resulting from questions asked of him over many years. Many of his ethical and sermonic comments on the Torah, most dating from the 1950s, were collected and published as Divrei Aggadah. A Haggadah for Pesach including Rabbi Eliashiv's comments and Halachic rulings was recently printed. Another work that includes his Halakhic rulings is titled "Yashiv Moshe." These works were not written by Rabbi Eliashiv himself, but compiled by his relatives and students.