Nine years have gone by since the passing of our mentor Rabbi Avraham Shapiro, the Rosh Yeshiva of Merkaz Harav, during the Succot holiday in the year 5768. Among other things, “Reb Avrum” had the privilege of serving as the Chief Rabbi of Israel for a decade, filling the position established by Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak Kook, who was the father-in-law of his brother-in-law (Rabbi Natan Raanan). Before this, Reb Avrum served many years as a judge in the rabbinical courts.
His greatness in Torah, both erudition and halachic decisions, is engraved within the pages of his books – “The Lectures of our Mentor GR’A Shapiro” on the tractates of the Talmud and “Minchat Avraham,” a collection of his responsa. His rulings in the rabbinical court are outstanding examples of learned decisions that show intimately involvement in current reality. Some of these rulings have appeared in the volumes of Techumin, published by Zomet, a total of twenty-two articles on the subject of halacha. Some of these were given to us by his son after Reb Avrum’s passing. (Here are two examples from the most recent volumes: “One who brings a case to a secular court and then comes back to a rabbinical court,” and “Is the priority for receiving charity the same as that for an inheritance?”)
Even though he never served in a “classic” rabbinical position, Reb Avrum was the admired teacher and rabbi of hundreds of students. I venture to suggest that this is especially true of those students who were appointed as community rabbis or became teachers in the educational system. Such people could always expect a warm welcome in his home, with constant overflowing of practical advice and a sprinkling of stories of the wisdom of the great men of Yisrael “in the previous generation,” always with amusing anecdotes and a significant lesson.