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25 Teves 5762 - January 9, 2002 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









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HaRav Shlomo Miller zt"l
by A. Cohen

The Petach Tikvah bnei Torah community was wrapped in mourning at the news of the petiroh of its beloved mohel, HaRav Shlomo Miller, zt"l, on motzei Shabbos parshas Shemos. HaRav Miller was 78 years old at the time of his petiroh.

HaRav Miller, zt"l, was born in 5684 (1924) to Rav Dovid Elimelech Miller, zt"l, formerly of Lizansk, in the German city of Duisberg. During World War II the family escaped to Antwerp, where Rav Shlomo learned the foundations of Torah in the local talmud Torah. When the family moved to Eretz Hakodesh he was brought to the moro de'asro of Petach Tikvah, HaRav Reuven Katz zt"l, by his mother o"h. HaRav Katz brought him up in his home, where he learned in the Shearis Yisroel talmud Torah and later in Yeshivas Tiferes Yisroel in Haifa. There he was a beloved student of HaRav M. Rubman, zt"l.

He later went to learn in Jerusalem's Yeshivas Hevron, until his marriage in 5748 (1948). Then he moved to Petach Tikvah, where he at first learned in Kollel Toras Eretz Yisroel with HaRav Chaim Shaul Karelitz, zt"l. He lived in Petach Tikvah ever since.

He was much beloved by the gedolei Yisroel, zt"l and yibodlu lechayim tovim ve'arukim, Maran the Chazon Ish, Maran the Brisker Rov, and Maran Y. Sarna. He was at home at the home of the Brisker Rov. He served as a mohel, for over 45 years, performing over sixty thousand brisim without any thought of monetary compensation. The gedolei Yisroel always used his services as a mohel for their grandchildren because of his renowned skill and because of his yiras Shomayim. He would go to the greatest lengths to ensure that there would be no chilul Shabbos on brisim that took place on Shabbos.

He delivered regular shiurim in gemora in the Beis Haknesses Hagodol throughout his years in Petach Tikvah. This shiur merited to complete the entire Shas seven times over. The shiurim were known throughout the city for their bekius and his addition of the opinions of the rishonim and acharonim. Scores of men came every day to hear the shiurim, deriving much enjoyment from them.

His ways were pleasing and he would greet everyone pleasantly, old and young alike, and would always have words of mussar from the Shas and the parshiyos hashovua on his lips. He was very involved with helping others and worked in the area of sholom bayis among the downtrodden, who saw in him their material as well as spiritual father. He helped many orphans marry and set up their homes. Everything he did was done in a modest, unassuming way.

About thirty years ago he published several important works on the halachos of miloh of the Rambam: Tsemach Dovid, Meleches Shlomo, and others. Of late, he published remarkably learned works about the lives of Rabbi Akiva and Rabbi Yochonon.

On Shabbos Kodesh Parshas Shemos he performed a bris in the morning. He suddenly felt ill on motzei Shabbos and was rushed to hospital, where he was niftar.

Thousands of bnei Torah, led by roshei yeshivos, dayonim, Torah educators and Petach Tikvah's finest accompanied HaRav Shlomo, zt'l, on his last earthly journey.

The funeral procession left from the study hall of Yeshivas Ohr Yisroel Letzi'irim, where the niftar had learned and davened until his final day.

HaRav Mordechai Rabinowitz delivered the first hesped. He said, "I remember that once I saw HaRav Shlomo on motzei Yom Kippur on his way to the yeshiva to learn. It was just an hour and a half after the end of the fast. We can not even imagine the degree to which he was humble, or his good deeds, all done secretly. He was close to the yeshiva for all those years, and I can't remember even one instance in which he became angry or cared about his personal honor. He was a good neighbor and had an ayin tovah . . . a shining sun to the boys of the yeshiva and, indeed, to the entire city. Everyone was his friend. He will surely be a meilitz yosher for the yeshiva that he loved so much."

The niftar's son-in-law, HaRav Eliezer Rubin, noted that all his ways were pleasant. "Anyone who had contact with him can attest to his pleasant middos. He always put himself in whatever position would benefit others: first, in anything holy. He brought others to a love of Sheim Shomayim. He toiled ardently in Torah and would serve talmidei chachomim. He was mevatel himself to the Chazon Ish, the Brisker Rov, the Kehillos Yaakov and the Avi Ezri, zt"l, as well as to HaRav Aharon Leib Shteinman, ylct"a, who were in constant contact with him. He conducted his affairs with others in a pleasant manner, and helped many orphans to marry and build their homes. He was an expert in the consolation of widows. We can truly say about him, `Happy is the one who taught him Torah.' There isn't a single person in all Petach Tikvah who didn't love him. It is so difficult to part from him now, and to know that he will not have the merit to perform the bris on his new great-grandson. When he reaches the Yeshiva Shel Ma'aloh, I am sure that Eliyohu Hanovi, mal'och habris, will greet him."

The moro de'asro and rosh yeshiva of Yeshivas Nachalas Dovid, HaRav Boruch Shimon Solomon, opened his remarks with the words of Chazal on the posuk, "With this, Aharon will enter the kodesh." "With the merit of the Torah, the merit of the miloh, the merit of Shabbos, HaRav Shlomo will enter the holy Upper Worlds with his bundle of mitzvos in his hand; the merit of his Torah, of completing Shas seven times. `Blessed is the one who bore him,' his mother who left his cradle in the beis medrash of the moro de'asro HaRav Reuven Katz, zt'l, in order to ensure his growth in Torah and yiras Shomayim. . . . The merit of miloh and the merit of Shabbos. . . With such merits, he has the power to plead before the Kisei Hakovod to prevent Shabbos desecration and desecration of all that is holy in our city, `And He will again have mercy upon the remnant of Israel and redeem us.' "

Following the recitation of Kaddish, the funeral procession proceeded slowly in the pouring rain through the main streets of Petach Tikvah towards the Great Synagogue, where HaRav Miller had delivered shiurim for fifty-one years. In the courtyard around the shul, the Admor of Mishkoltz spoke about the great benefit the entire city derived from having HaRav Shlomo among them. HaRav S. A. Unsdorfer, rav of the Chassidei Tzanz Beis Hamedrash in Petach Tikvah, spoke of the niftar and added that all residents of Petach Tikvah should take it upon themselves to learn another page of gemara and set up another study regular session, le'ilui nishmoso of the niftar.

The niftar's brother-in-law, HaRav Shmuel Elivichky, rav of the Shonei Halochos synagogue, discussed the niftar's brilliance as well as his toil in Torah. Other speakers included HaRav Yitzchok Lang, one of Jerusalem's most noted mohalim. The niftar's brother, HaRav Alexander Miller, one of the heads of Chinuch Atzmai, parted from the niftar in the name of the family.

The procession continued past the Shonei Halochos synagogue to the Segulah cemetery of Petach Tikvah.

HaRav Miller, zt'l, leaves after him his wife and sons, HaRav Zeev, HaRav Yaakov, and HaRav Chaim, who have accepted upon themselves their father's wish that they continue in his holy work of miloh of Jewish children and of giving Torah shiurim in Petach Tikvah. His daughters are married to HaRav Eliezer Rubin and HaRav Moshe Davidowitz of the United States. He also leaves brothers HaRav Alexander and HaRav Mordechai, menahel of Talmud Torah Hadar Tzion, and sisters. Thousands of friends and acquaintances bemoan the petiroh of the beloved giant of Torah who was so suddenly taken to beis olomo.



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