'A great loss to the world of Torah'

MKs and government ministers eulogize Rabbi Shmuel Auerbach after he suddenly passed away on Saturday.

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Rabbi Shmuel Auerbach
Rabbi Shmuel Auerbach

A number of MKs and government ministers eulogized Rabbi Shmuel Auerbach after the haredi leader passed away on Saturday.

Rabbi Shmuel Auerbach, 86, passed away on Shabbat (the Sabbath) due to a heart issue.

He was the son of the late world-renowned Torah luminary and "Gadol Hador" Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, and became the leader of the extremist Lithuanian-haredi (Litvish) "Jerusalem Faction" or "Peleg Yerushalmi."

He served as the dean of the "Ma'alot Hatorah" yeshiva and was an influential rabbi in the haredi community, leading the fight against haredi enlistment in the army by opposing registration of haredi young men with the IDF.

"Together with all of Israel, I share in mourning the death of Rabbi Shmuel Auerbach, the Rosh Yeshiva of Ma'alot HaTorah and one of the leaders of the Torah world in our generation," said Deputy Minister of Health MK Yaakov Litzman (UTJ).

"In his death, haredi Judaism lost one of its great leaders," added Litzman. "Under his leadership, he was a loyal shepherd for tens of thousands of students, who for many years devoted themselves to the Torah," added Litzman.

Agricultural Minister Uri Ariel said that "Rabbi Shmuel Auerbach's legacy is a great loss to the world of Torah. His words at the Maalot Torah Yeshiva he established will remain with his legacy alongside his enormous diligence In the Torah, which he devoted with great devotion to his tens of thousands of students".

MK Yisrael Eichler (UTJ) said: "Haredi Jewry in Israel and in the Diaspora mourns the remnant of a huge generation of knowledge. In addition to his Torah knowledge, he was blessed with a compassionate heart and opened his door and his heart to every needy person."

Deputy Defense Minister Eli Ben Dahan (Jewish Home) said that "a few years ago, a problem arose in the family of Rabbi Shmuel Auerbach. The rabbi called me and asked me to deal with the matter with the required sensitivity. I was privileged to see him in his great sensitivity to human dignity and to the fact that the issue was resolved without leaving many and causing no harm to the various parties."

Rabbi Auerbach is renowned for breaking off from the mainstream haredi world and forming the Jerusalem Faction. He first left the Degel Hatorah party a short time after Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashivpassed away and Rabbi Aharon Yehuda Leib Shteinman, who passed away in December 2017, became the leader of the Lithuanian-haredi (Litvish) public.

Rabbi Auerbach then led the "Bnei Torah Movement" or the "Jerusalem Faction Group," known for exacerbating the haredi community's fight against drafting haredim into the IDF.

Rabbi Auerbach believed that Rabbi Shteinman's policies on the haredi draft were too compromising, and saw himself as the continuation of the more extreme Litvish leader Rabbi Elazer Menachem Man Shach. To this end, he told his followers to go into the streets and actively protest drafting haredi men into the IDF. These protests were criticized by other haredim, who consider them to be a desecration of G-d's Name.