On motzei Yom Kippur, thousands of Bnei Brak residents
led by maranan verabonon, gedolei haTorah as well as
roshei yeshiva, dayanim and bnei Torah,
participated in the levaya of HaRav Shlomo Shimshon
Karelitz, zt"l, one of Eretz Yisroel's veteran
HaRav Karelitz was niftar on Yom Kippur night at the
age of 90.
Rav Shlomo Karelitz was born in Vilna. His father Reb Meir
was the brother of the Chazon Ish. His mother, Miriam, was
the daughter of the Cheshek Shlomo.
In this home of Torah and yiras Shomayim, his special
personality was formed. He was known for his remarkable
hasmodoh, outstanding intellectual capabilities and
his sensitivity and kindness.
As a youth, he studied in the yeshiva ketana in
Kosova, under the tutelage of his uncle, Reb Yitzchok
Karelitz. His fellow students at that time testified to his
remarkable endeavors in Torah, as well as his habit of
reviewing by heart the material he had studied.
On his way from the yeshiva's study hall to the dining room,
he would review the Tumim by heart.
In Vilna he became attached to HaRav Chaim Ozer, and would
often visit him in order to speak in learning. When the
Chofetz Chaim visited HaRav Chaim Ozer, young Reb Shlomo
Shimshon merited to receive a blessing.
Despite his young age, he went to Mir Yeshiva with a
recommendation from Rav Chaim Ozer, who promised that the
roshei yeshiva of Mir would not regret having accepted
In Mir, he excelled in his hasmodoh, extensive
knowledge and recollection of all that he studied.
He corresponded with HaRav Chaim Ozer as well as with the
Marcheshes and the Afikei Yam, who lived near his parents'
hometown, with whom he had a special relationship.
In Mir he was very close with Rav Yeruchom, who loved him as
a son. Throughout his entire life, Rav Shlomo Shimshon spoke
with love and reverence about his illustrious mentor. As a
youth, Rav Yeruchom would substitute for his father in the
rabbinate of the town of Blachowitz, answering
In 5700 (1940), he married Devora, o'h daughter of Reb
Zalman Dov Weiner, one of the eminent residents of Vilna. His
wedding, held in Yerushalayim, was attended by the Chazon
Ish, who remained in Yerushalayim for the Shabbos after the
wedding. This was one of the rare Shabbosim in which the
Chazon Ish was a guest in the city.
In Yerushalayim, HaRav Shlomo Shimshon studied in the Ohel
Torah Kollel and was close to the Rav of Brisk, in whose
minyan he davened. The Rav asked Rebbetzin
Karelitz to teach his daughter privately.
A short while later he moved to Bnei Brak, where he studied
in Heichal Hatalmud in Tel Aviv and headed its yeshiva
At the recommendation of his uncle, the Chazon Ish, he
assumed the position of dayan, and for over forty
years served as dayan and av beis din, first in
Tel Aviv and later in Petach Tikvah.
He was one of the most venerable dayanim in the
Prominent dayanim and rabbonim from all over the world
regarded him as one of the greatest experts in Even
Haezer and Choshen Mishpat.
Nonetheless, he would always seek the opinions of other
gedolei Torah. In the beginning, he would consult the
Chazon Ish. After the petirah of the Chazon Ish, he
began to consult with the Rav of Brisk in all complex
After the petirah of the Rav of Brisk, he wanted to
consult with the Steipler, HaRav Yaakov Yisroel Kanievsky,
who refused his request, not wanting to answer shailos
From then on, he consulted with HaRav Yosef Sholom Eliashiv,
and the two spent many hours together clarifying complex
He established a number of important procedures in the world
of dayonus which shaped the quality of its spiritual
image, including the conduction of examinations for
These examinations were supervised by HaRav Eliashiv and
HaRav Shlomo Shimshon.
He constituted a remarkable blend of humility, pashtus
and self-nullification. However, whenever halachic
issues were involved, he was resolute and authoritative,
fulfilling the dictum of lo soguru mipnei ish.
During the period of the heter regarding
mamzerim, HaRav Shlomo was the principal figure in the
battle against those seeking to permit the forbidden. He was
also firmly against regarding the Bnei Yisrael community of
India as bona fide Jews, and led the public efforts to that
A number of years ago he fell seriously ill, but at the sane
time he published two works: Ateres Shlomo on
Choshen Mishpat and Even Haezer, and Divrei
Shlomo, chiddushim on various topics.
A few months ago, his health deteriorated and he passed away
on Yom Kippur night.
His levaya set out from Yeshivas Beis Meir to the
Netzivei Ponevezh cemetery in Bnei Brak. Hespedim were
delivered by HaRav Michel Yehuda Lefkowitz as well as by the
niftar's son-in-law, Rav Noach Palei and the
niftar's brother-in-law, HaRav Zalman Rotberg.
He is survived by his sons, HaRav Zalman Dov, one of the
rabbonim of Bat Yam, and HaRav Yitzchok, one of the prominent
members of the Halperin Kollel. His daughter is married to
HaRav Noach Palei, the mashgiach of Rabbenu Chaim Ozer