Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

9 Shvat 5772 - February 2, 2012 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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HaRav Rabbi Shlomo Kluger, zt"l of Brod

In honor of his yahrtzeit 30 Sivan

From the age of six, Rabbi Shlomo's whole being was only Torah. It was at that tender age that he wrote his first chidushim and from there his life was one long ascent in Torah learning.

At fourteen he entered yeshiva gedoloh, studying with talmidim twenty years old and above. At first, his peers took no notice of the young newcomer due to his youthful appearance, but it was only a matter of days before they realized his superiority to them both in wisdom and his approach to learning.

His intense hasmodoh continued unabated after he married and it was only when his wealthy father-in-law passed away that Rabbi Shlomo had to consider how to provide for his family.

Various communities clamored for Rabbi Shlomo to serve as their rov, but he was afraid that his duties would reduce his time for Torah learning and, therefore, decided to open a shop with the help of his Rebbetzin.

At times Rabbi Shlomo himself would take over in the shop, but when this happened, not much business was carried out. Though Rabbi Shlomo was there physically, his mind was totally preoccupied with his Torah thoughts and far away from any money matters.

One day the Rebbetzin asked R' Shlomo if he would serve for a few hours in the shop. Her husband, who was then absorbed in a difficult sugya in Bovo Kammo, "Takonos Ushah," agreed to help her out.

A well-to-do client entered the shop, intending to buy a large amount of textiles. Absentmindedly, Rabbi Shlomo showed him where the merchandise lay and what the prices were and then immediately sank back into his thoughts on the sugya.

It didn't take long for the businessman to realize with whom he was dealing and, after selecting his needs, he left without paying the unsuspecting R' Shlomo.

With a joyful heart, Rabbi Shlomo arrived home that evening and reported to his Rebbetzin that today a customer bought a large amount and parnossoh was looking good. Delighted to hear the news, his Rebbetzin asked for the payment.

The cash box was empty. The desk in the shop had no money placed on it. Eventually they both realized that their loyal customer had walked off without paying.

All Rabbi Shlomo's efforts in placating the Rebbetzin were to no avail. "One mustn't get despondent; everything that transpires is from Above and is for the good."

All his assurances would not calm her down and the Rebbetzin insisted that R' Shlomo go after the customer and demand the payment.

Reluctant to leave his learning even for a short while, R' Shlomo nonetheless set off to the client's house, a distance of about a mile out of town.

As Rabbi Shlomo walked, the light drizzle that had been falling turned into snowflakes, slowly covering the landscape with a cold, fleecy blanket.

A wagon appeared in the distance, slowly coming towards Rabbi Shlomo. Immersed in his thoughts, the Rabbi plodded on, his mind ever deeper in his lofty studies. He failed to notice the oncoming carriage with its passengers.

The distinguished occupants of the carriage however, already saw Rabbi Shlomo from afar, his black-coated figure silhouetted in stark contrast to the snowy whiteness around.

"Rabbi Shlomo," called out a young man from the Rabbi's hometown, as the carriage neared. "What are you doing here, walking this road on such a cold, frosty night? Turn back home for my companions here are four delegates from the city of Kolkov who are on the way to your home with a request that you take on the rabbinate there."

Shrugging, Rabbi Shlomo humbly replied, "I do not know these people. Please allow me to continue on my way for I have an urgent matter to attend to."

Jumping down from the carriage, the avreich stopped Rabbi Shlomo and explained to him the story of the delegation from Kolkov.

"About half a year ago the rov of Kolkov was niftar, and the notable kehilla, made up of many learned people, sofrim, well-to-do families and distinguished Jews, turned to the gaon, HaRav Yaakov Orenstein, rov of Lemberg, asking him to direct them to their next rov.

"After a quarter of an hour's thought, HaRav Yaakov told them, `In the last fifteen minutes, the names of many rabbonim crossed my mind. Of them all I see none as fitting to lead the Jews of Kolkov as Rabbi Shlomo Kluger of the city Ravo.'"

Hearing such specific instructions directly from the mouth of the generation's leader, all the roshei hakohol signed a petition to Rabbi Shlomo Kluger requesting that he accept the position.

The document was in the hands of those four gentlemen, the messengers of the Kohol Hakodesh.

Retracing his steps, R' Shlomo returned home and related to the Rebbetzin the amazing turn of events. As he finished talking, the four strangers walked in, calling out, "Mazel Tov, Mazel Tov," and presented R' Shlomo with the ksav rabbonus.

"The truth is," said R' Shlomo, "that I did not intend to lead a community at all. However, since I had to go and seek out the money due to me out of destitution, I see it as a sign from Heaven that I met you on the way and will accept your petition."

R' Shlomo continued, "Wait one or two days until I receive my money from this customer and arrange all my affairs and then I'll return with you to Kolkov."

To everyone's astonishment, the next morning the aforementioned client walked in and, without a word of explanation as to his previous or present behavior, paid the sum that he owed in full and left the house.

This was only another signal, concluded R' Shlomo that Hashgocho had arranged that he should have to go the night before so he would accept his post as rov and spread Torah to the wider public.

Perhaps Rabbi Shlomo had been correct in his assumption that leading a kehilla would rob him his peace.

Not long after he become rov, R' Shlomo heard that the local shochet was not conducting himself al derech haTorah. R' Shlomo immediately announced that his shechitah was forbidden.

The fact that the shochet had influential powers with the gentile governors did not deter the rov and he retained his firm stance against the shochet.

The latter began to cause the rov trouble until even some rabbonim agreed that Rabbi Shlomo shouldn't have opposed him so strongly.

Rabbeinu, however, remained undaunted, knowing that he was standing up for Torah's ideals and halochos.

Over the course of time, the truth about the shochet's actions became known, proving that R' Shlomo had been correct all along.


Somehow, despite his overloaded schedule, Rabbi Shlomo managed to find time every single day to write his chidushim.

By the time he passed away, over one hundred and twenty volumes of novellae were found among his personal possessions. Some of them have been printed over the years to illuminate the Torah world, but most remained in handwritten manuscripts that found their way all over the world and are today either in libraries, in the hands of private collectors or simply lost.

About fifteen years ago, Rabbi Shabsai Lipshitz set up the Machon Chochmas Shlomo whose aim it is to gather the written works of Rabbi Shlomo Kluger zt"l, and to print them.

To date, thirty volumes have already been published. May they merit to glorify his Torah and peirushim further and thereby maintain the legacy of R' Shlomo Kluger, zt"l.


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