The Gaon Rabbi Shlomo Lorincz, ztz"l
Baruch Dayan HaEmet: At age 92, the gaon Rabbi Shlomo Lorincz, ztz"l, one of the greatest leaders and representatives of the chareidi community, was niftar on Sunday night. Rabbi Lorincz was an emissary for Gedolei Hador of the previous generation, who set out on his path of Torah in yeshivos in Hungary and Poland. For 33 years he served as a member of the Knesset, and in recent years devoted his time to learning.
Baruch Dayan HaEmet: The sad news was released from the Hadassah Ein Kerem hospital in Jerusalem, just after midnight Sunday night. The gaon Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Lorincz, ztz"l, who forged close relationships with countless Gedolei Hador, who served as their loyal emissary during his term as a member of the Knesset, and who was one of the last remaining great rabbis from the previous generation, was niftar at age 92. With his death, the chareidi world lost a unique and impressive personality, who was an example of diligence and devotion to the Torah during his lifetime.
Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Lorincz, z"l, was born on the 21st of Adar, 1918, in Budapest, Hungary, to a family of rabbis and scholars. He studied in the Papa yeshiva, and then moved to Poland where he was the first Hungarian bochur to study at Yeshivat Mir. Rabbi Lorincz saw the Mashgiach of Mir, Rabbi Yerucham, as his personal Rabbi, and often quoted him when speaking in the Knesset.
During World War Two he returned to Hungary under the directive of Maran the Mashgiach, the gaon and tzaddik, Rabbi Yechezkel Levinstein, ztz"l, and his leadership qualities began to develop and reveal themselves. He arranged for an entire shipload of refugees to travel to Israel, under the auspices of "Agudat Yisrael". In the year 1939 he immigrated to Israel himself, and served as a rabbi in Yeshivat "Plitat Sofrim" – a yeshiva established for Hungarian survivors of the war, which was affiliated with the "Heichal HaTalmud" yeshiva in Tel Aviv.
Soon after arriving in Israel, Rabbi Lorincz became close with the Chazon Ish, ztz"l, who "discovered" the hidden potential in the 21 year old yeshiva student. He could see in the young man someone who had enough initiative to eventually become a public leader, and who after the terrible Holocaust would set the foundations for reconstructing many facets of the chareidi community as we know it today in Israel, and in much of the world.
In 1949, Rabbi Lorincz helped found the chareidi moshav in the south, Komemiyut, and then went on to help establish two youth villages – Sdei Chemed and Chazon Yechezkel, as havens for thousands of homeless religious youth. He was also very involved in setting up the "Chinuch Atzmai" education network, and together with Gedolei Hador living in the United States, he personally visited the homes of philanthropists to ask for their assistance in getting the network's schools up and running. He established the newspaper "Degleinu", which eventually publicized the Daas Torah of the Chazon Ish, ztz"l, and Maran the gaon Rabbi Yitzchak Zeev of Brisk, ztz"l.
Together with his friends from "Tzeirei Agudat Yisrael", he established for the religious youth in Israel the "Noar HaAgudati" youth movement, as a means of impressing upon them the hashkafa of Gedolei Yisrael, and convincing them to study in yeshiva. He also helped establish the "Tzeirei Agudat Yisrael" neighborhood in Bnei Brak, and 32 basei knesset across the country. He also served for many years as one of the directors of the "Mercaz HaChinuch HaAtzmai" in Eretz Yisrael.
As a trustworthy, loyal follower of Gedolei Yisrael, Rabbi Lorincz was selected to serve as the representative of Tzeirei Agudat Yisrael in the Agudat Yisrael party, and as the personal representative of numerous rabbinical leaders, ztz"l. He was a Knesset member in the Second Knesset, and remained in office through to the Tenth Knesset, between the years 1951 and 1984. For 33 consecutive years, the gaon Rabbi Lorincz represented the world of Torah in the Knesset. He earned a reputation as a learned speaker, who worked to uphold Torah values, and could clarify his position with eloquent language. He was popular among all the other Knesset members, in the merit of his broad knowledge and pleasant personality, his honesty and professionalism. During his last three candidacies, he held the position of Chairman of the Knesset Finance Committee, from 1974 to 1984. No other Knesset member before or after him has held that formidable position for such a long period of time.
After retiring from the Knesset, Rabbi Lorincz, ztz"l, turned his focus backed to his Torah studies, and was renowned as a great Talmid Chacham. He spent every waking hour learning Gemara with his various cherusos. One of the men who studied with him on a regular basis told "Etrog" that Rabbi Lorincz sat and learned in the manner of a young yeshiva bochur – completely disconnected from the material world, as though he had not just spent dozens of years of his life dealing with public issues. He totally immersed himself in the Torah.
In recent years, Rabbi Lorincz vowed never to speak of political issues, aside from his involvement in the dealings of the Chinuch Atzmai. As one of the oldest members of the network's education committee, the gedolei Hador instructed him to remain involved in the field of chareid education, and several other community bodies.
He was deeply admired by many of the great rabbis of the previous generation, including the Chazon Ish, ztz"L, Maran the gaon Rabbi Yitzchak Zeev of Brisk, ztz"l, and Maran the gaon Rabbi Eliezer Menachem Shach, ztz"l. He was equally close with the Gedolei Hador of the present generation, including the gaon Rabbi Yosef Shalom Eliyashiv, shlita, and Maran Rabbi Aharon Yehuda Leib Shteinman, shlita, and others.
Several years ago, the rabbi had the merit to publish a book of chidushei Torah – "Miluei Shlomo". The sefer also includes correspondence he conducted with various Gedolei Torah, ztz"l and shlita. The fact that he was a public figure who also was deeply devoted to and immersed in the world of Torah was a rare phenomenon, and the gaon Rabbi Eliyashiv, shilta, made a comment to that affect in a letter that appears at the beginning of the book: "In my opinion, it is important to publish these chidushei Torah…and it is especially worthwhile as the message conveyed here is that even when public figures are busy fulfilling the needs of the people they represent, and nobody else can fill in for them, they are still obligated to set aside time for Torah study."
Rabbi Lorincz had the merit to publish two other books which became "best sellers": A two-part edition of "Bemechitzasam", which have been translated into Engish under the name, "In Their Shadows". The first volume discusses his lifetime work in the public arena, when he was in regular contact with Maran the Chazon Ish, the gaon Rabbi Yitzchak Zeev of Brisk, and Maran the gaon Rabbi Eliezer Menachem Shach, ztz"l. The second volume is a collection of stories and anecdotes about the numerous gedolei Torah that Rabbi Lorincz had the good fortune to personally know and spend time with. He learned Torah from them, absorbing their wisdom and hashkafa, and recorded on paper much of what he saw and experienced. Ever since he was a young man, Rabbi Lorincz was drawn to rabbis, scholars, and roshei yeshivos, to mashgichim, Admorim, tzaddikim, and Gedolei Hador in Israel and outside of Israel.
Last week Rabbi Lorincz did not feel well, and was hospitalized at Hadassah Ein Kerem. His doctors performed a catherization on his heart, and he slowly grew stronger and felt healthier. Just after midnight on Sunday night, Rabbi Lorincz got out of bed, stood up and conversed with his son, and told him that the doctors were planning to release him from the hospital the next day, since he was feeling so much better. During the course of the conversation, the rabbi suddenly collapsed. Doctors worked to revive him, but unfortunately were not successful. Rabbi Lorincz passed away at the age of 92.
The levaya for Rabbi Shlomo Lorincz, ztz"l, will take place today (Monday) at 3:00, beginning at his home on Rechov Panim Meirot 17, in the Mattersdorg neighborhood of Jerusalem. He will be buried in a plot that he purchased during his lifetime, on Har HaMenuchos.
The rabbi is survived by 4 sons: the gaonim Rabbi Yosef Arye, shlita, Rabbi Moshe, shlita, Rabbi Yitzchak, shlita, and Rabbi Avraham Yeshayahu, shlita, as well as numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren, baruch Hashem.
[צילומים: Eliyahu Kobin
The historical photos are from the book 'Mechiztatem of Gedolei Torah part 2 that was written and published by Rabbi Shlomo Lorincz,z"l