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4 Cheshvan 5770 - October 22, 2009 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Rabbi Shlomo Lorincz zt"l

By Yechiel Sever

Led by gedolei Yisroel, roshei yeshivos, rabbonim, dayonim and admorim, thousands of bnei Torah and public figures took part in the levaya of HaRav Shlomo Zalman Lorincz zt"l, who passed away during the night of 1 Cheshvan, 5770, and who faithfully worked on behalf of gedolei Yisroel zt"l veylct"a, who trusted him implicitly. He stood at the forefront of various battles for the sake of Torah-true Jewry in Eretz Yisroel over the course of decades, constantly working for the sake of yeshivas and other places of Torah learning, passing on the hashkofoh of gedolei hadoros in unadulterated form. He also pursued his Torah studies earnestly, becoming a talmid chochom and writing several seforim.

Shlomo Zalman Lorincz was born on 21 Adar 5678 (1918) in Budapest to a renowned rabbinical family. He studied at Yeshivas Pappa and then traveled to Poland, where he became the first Hungarian student to attend Yeshivas Mir, cleaving to the Mashgiach, HaRav Yeruchom. While serving as an MK later in life, his speeches often quoted his rebbe's Mussar teachings.

During World War II he returned to Hungary at the behest of HaRav Yechezkel Levinstein, where he rose to prominence for his organizing skills and his concern for the klal, helping Agudas Yisroel arrange ships to smuggle Jews into Eretz Yisroel. In 5699 (1939) he made aliya, serving as a ram at Yeshivas Pleitas Sofrim, a yeshiva for Hungarian Jews that was later annexed by Yeshivas Heichal HaTorah in Tel Aviv.

Shortly after his arrival in Eretz Yisroel, he formed ties with the Chazon Ish, who assigned him various tasks and made him into one of the builders of Torah Judaism in the aftermath of the Holocaust.

In 5709 (1949) he helped found a chareidi moshav in the South, Kommemiyus, as well as Chinuch Atzmai. For years he took part in exhausting trips to the US to raise funds for schools throughout Eretz Hakodesh as part of efforts to spare children from the winds of spiritual ruin prevailing in Eretz Yisroel at the time. He started Digleinu, a newspaper under the guidance of the Chazon Ish and the Brisker Rov.

He helped found Zeirei Agudas Yisroel, an organization aimed at imbuing the hashkofoh of gedolei Yisroel among non-chareidi religious youths and directing them toward the holy yeshivas. Among his greatest lifetime achievements were the Sdeh Chemed and Chazon Yechezkel youth villages, which saved thousands of young people from coercive secularization, Zeirei Agudas Yisroel housing blocs in Bnei Brak and 32 Zeirei Agudas Yisroel botei knesses around the country. He also served as a veteran member of the executive board of merkaz Chinuch Atzmai BeEretz Yisroel.

At the behest of gedolei Yisroel he ran for the Knesset and won a seat representing Young Agudas Yisroel, and went on to serve in eight consecutive Knessets, from 5710 (1950) to 5744 (1984). For 33 years he unflinchingly pressed for Jewish values and needs, constantly sanctifying Sheim Shomayim through his astuteness, professionalism, integrity and refinement, which earned him the post of Finance Committee Chairman during his final three terms.

Throughout those years he worked to secure funding for yeshivas and the Torah world, and led campaigns to uphold Yiddishkeit. After resigning from the Knesset, he went on to serve as chairman of the Advisory Committee for the Bank of Israel.

After leaving the Knesset he dedicated more of his time and energy to Torah study, and became known as a talmid chochom, studying with different chavrusas throughout the day. One study partner said he would sit and learn like a young yeshiva student, totally severed from worldly vanities, showing no trace of the decades he had spent engaged in public service.

In recent years HaRav Lorincz decided to refrain from speaking on public matters, except for special tasks gedolei Yisroel asked him to carry out. He was heavily involved in education. Toward the end of his life he founded Merkaz Hachinuch, which continued advancing the goals of Zeirei Agudas Yisroel during the present era. All of his recent endeavors were based on consultations with Maran HaRav Eliashiv and the Rosh Yeshiva HaRav Shteinman shlita.

In his final year he also promoted Chinuch Atzmai, which he had helped to set up with Rabbi Menachem Porush, traveling far and wide to gather contributions towards its continued support. He would frequently share fond recollections of how HaRav Moshe Feinstein and HaRav Aharon Kotler zt"l would join him as he paid visits to major donors over the course of long months.

Last Motzei Shabbos (Parshas Bereishis) he summoned his son HaRav Yitzchok, a member of the faculty of Yeshivas Kol Torah, conveying to him clear instructions on how to continue safeguarding Chinuch Atzmai and adhere to the directives of gedolei Yisroel shlita.

Before his health began to fail several months ago, he and his son Yitzchok paid a visit to HaRav Eliashiv, who suggested that Rav Yitzchok serve as one of the Chinuch Atzmai board members.

During his lifetime the deceased formed strong bonds with the Chazon Ish, HaRav Yitzchok Zeev Soloveitchik, HaRav Shach and the Steipler.

His wife supported him loyally, especially when he left home for months on end to raise money for Chinuch Atzmai and other institutions. The Chazon Ish once asked if she consented, to which she replied, "Certainly, if Rabbenu asks him." Later he again summoned her to ask if she agreed wholeheartedly, saying if she needed anything at all — even if a child caught a cold — she should come to him since he was the one who had sent her husband abroad. HaRav Lorincz attributed all of his success to his wife o"h.

In his approbation to a book HaRav Lorincz authored in his later years, HaRav Eliashiv wrote it is especially important "to show the way to those engaged in tzorchei harabbim that even if it is a case of a mitzvah that cannot be done by others, a Jewish man has an obligation to return to his Torah learning."

He also wrote a two-volume set of books called, Bemechitzosom.

When he was hospitalized at Hadassah Ein Kerem last week, doctors advised him to undergo an arthroscopic heart procedure, which alleviated his condition. Nonetheless, Sunday night, around midnight, after reciting Viddui and Krias Shema and discussing divrei Torah with his son, he returned his soul to his Maker.

At the funeral Monday afternoon, which set out from Jerusalem's Mattersdorf neighborhood, the thousands of people on hand included HaRav Shmuel Auerbach, HaRav Meir Tzvi Bergman and the Admor of Belz. Though hespeidim were not delivered because of Rosh Chodesh, brief words of parting were offered by HaRav Auerbach, the niftar's eldest son Rav Yosef Aryeh, his son Rav Avrohom Yeshayohu and his son-in-law HaRav Gurwicz who came to the levaya straight from the airport. Rabbi Menachem Porush spoke at the cemetery.

HaRav Shlomo Zalman Lorincz zt"l is survived by his sons HaRav Yosef Aryeh, rosh kollel of Kollel Divrei Shir and author of Hei'ir Yosef, a commentary on R' Akiva Eiger, HaRav Moshe, a marbitz Torah in Bnei Brak, HaRav Yitzchok, one of the roshei yeshiva of Yeshivas Kol Torah, and HaRav Avrohom Yeshayohu, a ram at Yeshivas Ohr Yisroel; his sons-in-law HaRav Chaim Ozer Gurwicz, rosh yeshiva of Gateshead Yeshiva, HaRav Elozor Halevi Shulsinger, author of Al Mishkenos Haro'im, HaRav Yehuda Aryeh Schwartz, av beis din of Nachalas Soroka in Bnei Brak, and HaRav Zusha Zahn, one of the roshei yeshiva of Yeshivas Nachalas Moshe in Jerusalem; and grandchildren and great-grandchildren striving in Torah and following the path of integrity, Torah and mitzvas he tread.


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