Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

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18 Tammuz 5764 - July 7, 2004 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









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R' Meir Salomon, z"l
by S. Bruchi

R' Meir Salomon, one of the founders of the Torah community in Buenos Aires, passed away last week at the age of 74.

R' Meir Salomon was born in 5691 (1931) in Damascus to R' Yitzchok. When he was still a young boy the family moved to Argentina and at the age of 15 he joined the group of young men set up by Kehillas Shuvoh Yisroel, which was headed by HaRav Ze'ev Gruenberg. Together they fought against the spirit of compromise prevailing at the time and despite suffering and humiliation they waged a campaign to drive back the spiritual desert, eventually transforming the kehilloh into a Torah center for all of South America.

At the age of 21 he married and set up a home of Torah and yir'oh that was open to all shluchei derabbonon arriving from Eretz Yisroel to raise funds for Torah institutions. Their home became famous as one of the city's leading places of hachnosas orchim. Often Jews arriving in the city would call their home and ask whether there were any vacant rooms at Hotel Salomon.

R' Salomon was renowned for his punctilious adherence to halochoh. For years he refrained from eating meat, until the local shechitoh system was brought to high standards and he would drive out to the dairies to buy cholov Yisroel. When HaRav Eliezer Ben David became the rov of Kehillas Shuvoh Yisroel the deceased sought his advice on every matter, public or private.

Throughout his lifetime R' Salomon dedicated himself to the kehilloh and its various institutions. Twenty years ago he left his business affairs on instructions from HaRav Shach zt"l and took on the task of traveling around the world to raise money for the kehilloh and the Torah world there. As a man of truth he did not spare the rod of mussar from contributors he felt were in need of reproach. He took extreme care in handling the community's funds, not sleeping in hotels and even riding buses instead of taking cabs.

A few years ago he took on the task of maintaining the kollel in Buenos Aires and attending to the needs of the avreichim. He was delighted to witness the success of kollel members who went on to serve as rabbonim and roshei kollelim in Mexico, Panama, Venezuela, Brazil and Italy.

R' Salomon maintained close ties with gedolei Yisroel including Maran HaRav Eliashiv, who he would consult regarding halochoh and hanhogoh matters, and HaRav Aharon Leib Shteinman and HaRav Michel Yehuda Lefkovitz who provided guidance in communal matters. He would also seek advice from prominent talmidei chachomim such as HaRav Mattisyohu Salomon, HaRav Shimon Ba'adani and HaRav Dovid Shustal.

Over the past decade he arranged to bring roshei yeshivos, rabbonim and dayonim to Buenos Aires to give shiurim to the kehilloh members, the avreichim and the women.

During the past few years rabbonim who spent time in Argentina included HaRav Yosef Chaim Kopshitz, HaRav Tzvi Friedman, HaRav Emanuel Toledano, HaRav Zelig Zaleznik and HaRav Sariel Rosenberg.

He always lent an ear to kehilloh members in need and made every effort to help. Despite his high status in the kehilloh he fled from honor, taking no credit for the success of Torah institutions in Argentina in general or in Buenos Aires and Kehillas Shuvoh Yisroel in particular.

On 8 Tammuz he suffered a stroke and lost consciousness. For one day prayers for his recovery were organized but his condition deteriorated rapidly and the next day he returned his soul to his Maker with his sons and daughters standing at his bedside.

Hundreds of Jews from various Buenos Aires kehillos took part in the levaya. Hespeidim were delivered by HaRav Tzvi Friedman, HaRav Shmuel Aryeh Levin, Chief Rabbi Shlomo Ben Chamo, the deceased's sons, HaRav Yitzchok and HaRav Eliyahu, and his sons-in-law, HaRav Avraham Tzruyia and HaRav Shlomo Entebbi.

When the aron arrived in Eretz Hakodesh on 11 Tammuz, hundreds of his acquaintances along with roshei yeshivos, rabbonim and innumerable bnei Torah took part in the levaya at Har Hamenuchot in Jerusalem. He was eulogized by HaRav Yosef Chaim Kopshitz, his son-in-law HaRav Avraham Cohen Talgam, HaRav Yitzchok Ezrachi, HaRav Tzvi Ordentlich, HaRav Eliyahu Raful, HaRav Yosef Winter, HaRav Zelig Zaleznik and HaRav Sariel Rosenberg.

R' Meir Salomon z"l is survived by his wife, three sons and eight daughters, all of whom follow the path of Torah and yir'oh. All of his sons and sons-in-law are engaged in the rabbinate and harbotzas Torah. Upon his petiroh his sons HaRav Yitzchok and HaRav Aharon took upon themselves to continue his blessed work by carrying the financial burden of maintaining the kollel and his son HaRav Eliyahu was named rosh kollel. During his lifetime the deceased expressed his wishes the kollel continue based on these appointments.


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