HaRav Shlomo Zalman Min-Hahar zt"l, who served as the rav of
the Bayit Vegan neighborhood for many years, was brought to
his final resting place in Jerusalem in the week of
selichos. He was 89 years old at the time of his
HaRav Min-Hahar, the son of HaRav Chaim Yehuda, was born in
5671 (1911). As a child, he studied in the Eitz Chaim Talmud
Torah. In the year 5680 (1920), the Nurenberg community asked
Jerusalem's rabbonim to appoint a talmid chochom to
serve as a dayan in their city. The rabbonim chose HaRav
Chaim Yehuda, who fulfilled this function for twenty years.
While the family was in Germany, HaRav Elya Lopian, who had
come to Nurenberg for his yeshiva, stayed in their home. In
the evenings, HaRav Elya would study gemora with the
twelve-year-old Shlomo, and in the mornings, he would test
him. HaRav Elya was amazed by the youth's knowledge.
From the age of twelve on, the young Shlomo studied in many
of Lithuania's yeshivos among them Kelm, Telz, Mir and
Ponovezh, where he amassed much knowledge in Shas and
poskim. During all of his years in the yeshiva, and
until his final day, he studied constantly. Due to his
remarkable diligence and vast bekius in Orach
Chaim, he became an address for bnei yeshiva with
halachic questions. In Telz he was the outstanding student of
the famed gaon HaRav Mordechai Pogramanski and throughout his
life related chiddushim which he had heard from him.
In Mir, he received smicha from HaRav Eliezer Yehuda
In 5695 (1935) he returned to Eretz Yisroel and married the
daughter of R' Menachem Mendel Agasi, one of the eminent
talmidei chachomim of the Toras Chaim yeshiva in
Jerusalem. In Jerusalem he studied under HaRav Tzvi Pesach
Frank, the rav of Jerusalem, and under an uncle, HaRav Y.Z.
Mintzberg, one of Jerusalem's rabbonim who also gave him
smicha. In 5705 (1945), he received an offer to serve
as a ram in a yeshiva. However, HaRav Tzvi Pesach Frank
advised him to serve as a posek, saying that Reb
Shlomo's mission in life was to issue halachic rulings.
During the siege of the Old City, when the starving residents
clustered in makeshift shelters, he volunteered to provide
them with bread. Making use of the small amount of flour that
remained in the bakery, his family prepared pitas for the
hungry residents of the Old City. However he told his wife,
"Take bread for the family only after everyone else has
received their share."
Thus the Min-Hahar family with its seven members received two
pitas, while he bore the responsibility of sharing the burden
of his fellow with integrity and uprightness.
He was taken with a group of civilians to Jordanian
captivity, where the captives and the authorities recognized
him as a rav. While there, he prepared a yearly calendar from
memory according to his knowledge of the halocho, thereby
enabling the captives to celebrate Rosh Hashonoh, Yom Kippur
and other holidays at the right time.
Although they were taken captive in the middle of Iyar, Reb
Shlomo had already then made sure that the captives would
have a place to celebrate Succos. How did he prepare a Succah
in captivity? He was responsible for the cartons in which
provisions were sent to the captives. After unpacking them,
he would save them in order to use them as a succah, for
which schach which was kosher bedi'eved was
obtained. In the end, they had a kosher succah, however the
captives were permitted to stay only until evening. In order
to fulfill the mitzvah of sleeping in a succah, he dug a
ditch and covered it with the kosher schach which had
been brought to the camp, and there he slept.
Very often he went without food, due to the fear that the
food was infested with worms. When he returned from
captivity, his sunken cheeks and lowered height were silent
testimony to this mesiras nefesh. However, all those
difficulties did no prevent him from encouraging his wife and
dear ones who had remained behind in Jerusalem.
In 5720 (1960), he began to preside as the rav of the Bait
Vegan neighborhood, and he issued halachic rulings to many.
The telephone in his home never stopped ringing in his home,
and he did not let his family take out the phone even during
afternoon rest hours. He highly venerated HaRav Shlomo Zalman
Auerbach zt"l and Maran HaRav Yosef Chaim Eliashiv
yibodel lechaim arukim, and often consulted them on
His levaya, which took place in Bayit Vegan, was
attended by many. Hespedim were delivered by HaRav
Mordechai Eliyahu, HaRav Shimshon Epstein, HaRav Avigdor
Nevenzhal, as well as by HaRav Min-Hahar's son-in-law Rav
Chaim Steiner, and his son Rav Chaim Min-Hahar, and his
grandson, HaRav Amitai Cohen.