Rabbi Shlomo was the successor of his father, the renowned Rabbi Akiva Eiger zt"l of Posen.
Before leading his son to the chuppah on his wedding day, Rabbi Akiva Eiger placed both his hands on the chosson's head and blessed him, as is customary.
For many years the contents of his brochoh remained a secret. No one knew what the blessing had been and if it had been fulfilled.
Until the rabbi of Warsaw, HaRav Chaim Davidson zt"l, posed a question to Rabbeinu concerning the amazing phenomenon that was the talk of the talmidim.
Rabbi Shlomo's students were amazed at their Rebbi's uncanny ability to switch from one subject to the next with ease and then effortlessly return to the first subject. There was a period when Rabbi Shlomo headed his father-in-law's business firm and had to deal on a regular basis with men of the aristocracy. These important-looking people became part of the come-and-go of his household and schedule, and often Rabbi Shlomo was forced to interrupt his studies with the talmidim in order to conduct business with his guests. When he had seen the gentlemen out, Reb Shlomo returned to his talmidim and seforim and, no matter what they had been learning, be it a difficult sugya or a particularly troubling question, he invariably dove right back without missing a word.
When the rov of Warsaw asked Rabbeinu wherein lay this remarkable ability, Reb Shlomo's eyes took on a faraway look, as he remembered his wedding day.
"My father was about to take me to the chuppah and, as I stood there on the threshold of my future life, I awaited his brochoh for health, children and that I merit to build a bayis ne'eman and be a credit to him and to my mother, the Rebbetzin.
"My father placed his hands on my head and whispered to me his brochoh and most ardent wish.
"`My son,' he said with emotion, `you are about to leave my house for the house of your father-in-law. I know that there you will, at some point, be obliged to assist him in his business and will incur bitul Torah. I therefore bless you that whenever you are forced to interrupt your learning, may Hashem give you the wisdom and clarity of mind to return to the inyan exactly where you leave off without having to waste more time going back to the beginning of the subject.'
"This was how my father, the holy Rabbi Akiva Eiger, blessed me on the way out to my chuppah and, boruch Hashem, it has been fulfilled."
Even while dealing in business, Reb Shlomo's head remained in his seforim. More than once he climbed a ladder to reach for an item that was needed by a business client and then stayed there for a long time, deeply immersed in his learning. He had literally `ascended' from the world of business to the world of Torah.
The famous teshuvoh of Reb Shlomo to a difficult piece in maseches Yevomos, learned and accepted in all the yeshivos, was a wonder in itself.
Reb Shlomo wrote the profound teshuvoh on the difficult sugya and sent it to his father, who printed it in his sefer Sheilos Uteshuvos Rabbi Akiva Eiger, siman 126. Although Rabbi Shlomo had written it during busy business hours, the greatest of the roshei yeshiva claimed that from its depth it is clearly apparent that he was totally absorbed in the masechta.
Rabbi Akiva Eiger, in a return letter to his son, wrote that when the letter reached him he had been ill and weak. As soon as he felt a little better he was handed the envelope and, upon reading the wonderful teshuvoh, he felt refreshed in body and soul.
One frigid winter while Rabbi Shlomo headed the yeshiva in Warsaw, funds had run low and there was no money to pay for fuel to heat the yeshiva. A biting cold froze the breath of the talmidim, and the freezing conditions made it impossible to sit and learn in the beis medrash.
Rabbeinu turned to one of Warsaw's wealthy Jews, asking him to donate the yeshiva's heating and in the zchus of the limud Torah, he promised him success in his endeavors.
The nogid agreed to buy enough wood for the entire winter's heating. However, he laid down one condition: `People envy my vast estates and abundant wealth, but my heart bleeds for want of something that all the money in the world cannot buy. I am as yet childless, though I have been married for many years. Rabbi, my condition is that you promise me that in the merit of my great mitzvah, my wife and I be blessed with a son."
Feeling he had no choice, Rabbi Shlomo agreed to the benefactor's condition. On the spot he received the money and before long the beis medrash once again pulsated with the life and warmth of the bochurim and their Torah. The yeshiva was kept comfortable for learning at all hours, without concern for the cost.
But what about the promise?
Rabbi Shlomo wrote a letter to his father, relating how he had been forced to promise the gvir that he'd be blessed with a child. Enclosing the names of the man, his wife and their mothers, he requested that Rabbi Akiva Eiger daven for the couple.
A few days later Reb Shlomo received a reply from his father: "Please enquire again as to the exact names of your benefactor and his wife. It seems that the names are incorrect, for I prayed for them, yet was not answered."
Rabbeinu made his inquiries and, indeed, discovered that he had been mistaken. The correct names were duly sent to Posen by express post to Rabbi Akiva Eiger.
After several weeks, Reb Shlomo received an envelope postmarked in Posen. "Concerning the nogid for whom you requested that I pray, I davened and I was answered."
Within the year, to the joy of all Warsaw, the wealthy man and his wife were blessed with a son.
When the son of Reb Shlomo, Reb Leibele Eiger zt"l, went to Kotsk, he became extremely drawn to the Kotsker Rebbe. It pained Reb Shlomo to see his son follow such a path in avodas Hashem and he poured out his bitterness to his father, R' Akiva Eiger.
"Travel to Kotsk," advised his father, "and check if your son is particular with the laws of nettilas yodayim. If he is stringent in all the laws of Shulchan Oruch that concern nettilas yodayim, then he's an ehrlicher Yid and you have nothing to fear."
Rabbeinu went and followed his son's every move. He was relieved to see that his son was even more machmir in hilchos nettilas yodayim than he had ever known him to be. Satisfied, the father left for home.
Rabbenu once saw a group of chassidim crowding round one man who seemed to be the center of their attention.
"Is he a great talmid chochom?" asked Rabbenu.
"Then surely he's a rich man that all of you are treating him with such respect."
Again, the reply was negative, but the chossid revealed to Reb Shlomo that `we respect this person because he's an onov — a humble person.'"
"I should think so!" retorted R' Shlomo. "Not a talmid chochom, not a gvir, and he should be a baal gaavoh?"
The Kotsker chassidim admitted they had learned a new chapter in humility.
The Ksav Sofer, a nephew of Reb Shlomo Eiger, wrote in the hesped over his uncle that, with the passing of Reb Shlomo Eiger, we again lost his father, Rabbi Akiva Eiger. "As long as R' Shlomo was alive we had a substitute for R' Akiva Eiger and a direct connection to his greatness. But now we are left bereft of both leaders simultaneously."
*Reb Moshe Dovid, a brother of Reb Michoel Ber.