Former Chief Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu on Thursday returned to his office in Jerusalem for the first time since suffering a heart attack nine months ago.
Last Passover, the rabbi hovered between life and death and was saved after a prolonged resuscitation. His condition later deteriorated and was defined critical.
The rabbi, considered the spiritual leader of Religious Zionism, arrived Thursday morning at his bureau in the capital's Kiryat Moshe neighborhood, where he was greeted with excitement by the office workers.
He later visited the Torah institutions he chairs, headed by the Heichal Yaakov house of study in Jerusalem, which includes a community of yehiva students led by his son, Rabbi Yosef Eliyahu.
Rabbi Eliyahu was greeted by the students and had a long conversation with them. He also gave a lesson to the yeshiva students and held private conversations with some of them.
The rabbi's associates believe he will soon resume his weekly lessons which are broadcast every Monday via satellite to Jews in Israel and abroad.
A source in Eliyahu's office told Ynet that this was another step in the rabbi's return to full activity as the spiritual leader of the entire religious public.
The associate said that the ailing rabbi went home for the first time several weeks ago for a short while, and that since then the frequency and length of the visits increased. Nowadays he spends most of his time at home, and sometimes arrives for treatments at the Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem.
Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu, 79, is considered the spiritual leader of Religious Zionism. Last Passover he suffered a heart attack and underwent an urgent bypass operation which resulted in a speedy recovery.
Two weeks later, when he returned to the hospital for a routine checkup, he collapsed in front of the doctors and underwent a prolonged resuscitation. The next day, he suffered a mild stroke and was transferred to the Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital in the capital for a catheterization in his head.
In the past few months the rabbi's condition has stabilized and improved gradually.