Broken and bereaved, thousands of the talmidim and alumni of Yeshivas Chevron of the past decades, gedolei Torah, roshei yeshiva and rabbonim escorted HaRav Avraham Salomon zt"l to his final rest. The deceased served as the menahel ruchani of Yeshivas Chevron for forty years and was instrumental in guiding tens of thousands, molding their characters and building their spiritual world along the lines which he received from his masters, the Chevron roshei yeshiva. R' Salomon passed away on Thursday after midnight, at the age of eighty-eight, to the loss of masses of students, adherents and family members.
The Mashgiach was born in 5685 in Ostrolanka, in the Lomzha district — to his father, R' Moshe Aharon zt"l, a product of Yeshivas Lomzha, where he continued to study with his chavrusa, HaRav Yaakov Neiman zt"l, the future Rosh Yeshiva of Ohr Yisroel — and his mother, Babba Naomi Hy"d.
He imbibed the vibrant, intense atmosphere of Torah study and love for Torah in his home, acquiring exalted character traits. At the mere age of eleven he was accepted in Yeshivas Beis Yosef Novhordok in his home town, where he flourished, earning the esteem of his masters and fellow students.
A terrible tragedy overtook the family when he was twelve; his father passed away, leaving behind a widow and five orphans of which Avraham was the oldest. The boy sought solace in his studies and continued diligently for another year in that yeshiva.
Having no real source of income, the family decided to move to Eretz Yisroel, for which they needed visas. Only the grandparents were able to acquire these since they had a daughter already living there. Because of their advanced age, they were permitted a family escort and their choice was Avraham. The family hoped that once he arrived and settled in Eretz Yisroel, the widow and her orphans would also be issued the necessary immigration papers since they would have a family member there.
It was in 5698 that the young Avraham arrived in Eretz Yisroel with his grandparents. Despite numerous attempts, the rest of the family was denied the visas to make aliya. The young boy longed for his family and wrote poignant letters in which he expressed his desire to be reunited with them by going back home. His mother would reply, telling him how important it was for him to remain in Eretz Yisroel and study Torah there. She told him that it was the best place for him to grow, far better than back in Lomzha. The Mashgiach would often speak of his mother's devotion and sacrifice to Torah, for beyond her personal longing for her firstborn, she knew that if he returned, she would rely on his help in raising the family, thus diverting him from study.
When he was bar mitzvah, he approached the gabbai of his shul and asked for an aliya. That was the entire expression of that momentous turning point in his life!
World War II broke out shortly after, claiming the lives of his mother and siblings Hy"d. His grandparents died a few years later, leaving him all alone.
On many occasions, he would quote the saying of R' Tarfon, "It was for my good that my cow broke her leg." It was for his ultimate benefit that his grandparents immigrated to Eretz Yisroel, taking him along since he was an orphan. It was thus that he remained the sole survivor of his family, which was wiped out in the war. He always regarded himself as "a firebrand rescued from the fire." He took special joy in the birth of each child as a living continuation of his family and a proud revenge against the accursed Nazis.
He went to study in Yeshivas Tiferes Yisroel in Haifa, under his master-teacher, HaRav Meir Dov Rubman zt"l, where his diligence bore beautiful fruit for the next four years. Afterwards, he joined a group of students who helped found the yeshiva in Kfar Chassidim under the guidance of the Rav there, HaRav Mordechai Shmuel Krol zt"l, father-in- law of HaRav Eliyahu Mishkovsky zt"l.
He came to Yerushalayim for Succos and found his way to Yeshivas Chevron. He joined the exuberant dancing on Simchas Torah, reaching a peak of spiritual exaltation and physical exhaustion. When the students could dance no more, he saw them rear up like lions, nonetheless, and sit down in the beis medrash for a heated study session.
As soon as he saw this, he resolved that here he would remain and never leave. And ever since then, in 5702, his heart was forever bound up with Yeshivas Chevron. He formed very close ties with the Rosh Yeshiva, HaRav Yechezkel Sarna zt"l, and the Mashgiach, HaRav Meir Chadash zt"l, who immediately assessed his powers and potential as a future Mashgiach for the yeshiva. The Rosh Yeshiva once said of him that he was "the last of the disciples of the Alter of Slobodka."
He formed a very close friendship with his peer, HaRav Dov Schwartzman zt"l, one of the foremost products of the yeshiva, a bond which the two kept up for the rest of their lives, and also strong ties with their other contemporaries who grew to become the illustrious gedolei Torah.
He is survived by his sons, HaRav Moshe Aharon, rosh yeshivas Lev Chaim in Aix Les Bains, HaRav Zerach of Yerushalayim, HaRav Yehuda, one of the editors of the Schottenstein Shas, his son-in-law HaRav Pesach Goldman, also one of the editors of the Schottenstein Shas, and his son-in-law HaRav Aryeh Moller of Yerushalayim, as well as many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.