Sunday, September 30, 2007

Barukh Dayan Ha-Emes: Rav Avraham Shapira and Rav Shimon Eider Pass Away

From JTA (link):

Avraham Shapira, a leader of Israel's religious Zionist movement and a former Ashkenazi chief rabbi, died.

Shapira, a who passed away Saturday after an illness, was among the founders of Mercaz Harav yeshiva in Jerusalem, the seedbed of religious Zionism.

He served as Ashkenazi chief rabbi between 1983 and 1993. But Shapira then became a vocal critic of the government's interim peace accords with the Palestinians, forming a coalition known as "Union of Rabbis for the Land of Israel". His opposition to ceding land to the Palestinians continued into 2005, when Shapira issed edicts against Israel's withdrawal from the Gaza Strip.

Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger called Shapira's passing "a huge loss for religious Zionism".

Shapira was to be laid to rest Friday morning on Jerusalem's Mount of Olives.
From Arutz Sheva (link):
Rabbi Shapira was born in Jerusalem in 1913. He learned in the Etz Chaim Yeshiva and later in the Hevron Yeshiva. After his marriage he moved to the Merkaz HaRav Kook Yeshiva where he later remained as a teacher. In 1956, Israel’s Chief Rabbi Yitzhak HaLevi Herzog appointed the 45-year-old Torah scholar to serve as a Dayan (Rabbinical Judge) in the Beit Din HaGadol in Jerusalem (the Supreme Rabbinical Court). In 1971, he was appointed head of the Beit Din HaGadol. In 1980, Rabbi Shapira was appointed as a member of the Chief Rabbinate Council. Through all these decades, Rabbi Shapira continued to teach regularly in the Mercaz Harav Kook Yeshiva, and then, in 1982, following the passing of Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda HaKohen Kook, zt”l, Rabbi Shapira was appointed as his successor as Rosh Yeshiva (Dean). The following year, the spiritual giant was also elected to serve as Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of the State of Israel, a position in which he served from 1983 to 1993.

A recognized Posek (expert arbiter of Jewish law) by such Torah luminaries as Rabbi Tzvi Pesach Frank, Rabbi Isser Zalman Meltzer, and Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, among many others, Rabbi Shapira was also considered by a large segment of the religious public as “the Gadol HaDor” (greatest Halakhic (Jewish law) authority of the generation).

Jerusalem Post: link
Haaretz: link
Ynet: link

UPDATE: The Yeshiva World tells us that R. Shimon Eider, the important posek in Lakewood, passed away over Yom Tov (link). Barukh dayan ha-emes.

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