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Spiritual Tools: Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach: Benching

The 20th of Adar is the Yahrtzeit of Rav Shlomo Zalman (ben Chaim Yehuda Leib) Auerbach (1910-1995), born in the Shaarei Chesed neighborhood of Yerushalayim, his father authored Chacham Lev and was the Rosh Yeshiva of Shaar Hashamayim. Rav Shlomo Zalman learned at Etz Chaim yeshiva. He married Chaya Rivka Ruchamkin on erev Purim 1930. During the next 19 years he wrote Meorei Eish on the laws of electricity, Maadeanei Haaretz on laws regarding agriculture in Eretz Yisrael, as well as a commentary on Shev Shmaatsa. In 1949, he left Etz Chaim to succeed Rav Yechiel Schlesinger as Rosh Yeshiva of  Kol Torah Yeshiva in the Rechavia section of Yerushalayim. He was the author of Minchas Shlomo. His brother-in-law was Rav Shalom Schwadron. His piskei halacha on Shabbos are found throughout the sefer Shmiras Shabbos Kehilchasa, written by his talmid Rav Yehoshua Neuwirth.


Rav Shlomo Zalman was known to always pray in a calm way, as if counting money, and would never repeat any words of his prayers. One time, however, he stopped in middle of the second blessing of Benching, and went back and repeated the blessing from the beginning. His family wondered what had happened.

When they asked him, Rav Shlomo Zalman explained that the first time he had recited the beginning of the blessing, his mind had not been totally on what he was saying, and to say, “We thank you,” without concentration, is not thanks at all. Therefore he went back and repeated the blessing from the beginning. (HaMashgiach deKaminetz, p.194)

My father zt”l explained that when speaking to or about Rav Shlomo Zalman one had to be aware that every cell of his being was filled with Torah. Every thought, word and action was guided by Torah. “To speak to or of him without such awareness, was to speak without respect, and is considered Lishon Harah, as it portrays him as less than he was!”

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