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Rav Avraham Shapira

Event Details :

Ivri Date: 15 Tishrei, 5768

English Date: 27 September, 2007

Additional Details:

Rabbi Avraham Elkanah Kahana Shapira (Hebrew: אברהם אלקנה כהנא שפירא‎; May 20, 1914[1]September 27, 2007), was a prominent figure in the Religious Zionist world. Rabbi Shapira had been the head of the Rabbinic court of Jerusalem, and both a member and the head of the Supreme Rabbinic Court. He served as the Ashkenazi chief rabbi of Israel from 1983 to 1993. Shapira was the rosh yeshiva of Mercaz haRav in Jerusalem, a position he held since Rabbi Zvi Yehuda Kook died in 1982. His son, Rabbi Yaakov Shapira, became the successive rosh yeshiva.

Avraham Shapira was born to a Jerusalemite family; his father was Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Shapira. As a child, he studied at Etz Chaim Yeshiva in Jerusalem, later moving to the Hebron Yeshiva, where he studied under Rabbis Moshe Mordechai Epstein and Yechezkel Sarna. After his marriage, he was invited to join the Mercaz haRav yeshiva, where he has remained ever since.

Even in his youth, Rabbi Shapira succeeded in establishing connections with great rabbis such as the Chazon Ish, Rabbi Zvi Pesach Frank, Rabbi Yitzchak Zev Soloveitchik and Rabbi Isser Zalman Meltzer, with whom he corresponded for many years, later publishing the correspondences in a book, Even haEzel.

In 1956, he was appointed as a member of the Jerusalem Beth din by the chief rabbi Yitzhak HaLevi Herzog. In 1971 he was appointed as Av Beit Din, and in 1983 he became chief rabbi of Israel.

During the days of the Oslo Accords, Shapira was one of the founders of an organization that declared that handing over parts of the land of Israel to gentiles, even with a peace agreement, contradicted halacha and was therefore forbidden. In a controversial declaration, Shapira, along with Rabbis Moshe Zvi Neria and Shaul Yisraeli, called for soldiers to not obey orders to hand over territory. Later in the months leading up to the implementation of Israel's unilateral disengagement plan, once again Shapira called for soldiers to refuse orders to take part in the execution of the plan that evicted Jews from their homes and gave away parts of Israel.

Rabbi Avraham Shapira died on the first day of Succot of 2007.[2][3] On the preceding Rosh Hashana fifteen days earlier, he had been brought to prayers in a wheelchair and within days was hospitalized and did not recover.

Tens of thousands of people took part in his funeral procession on September 28, on the eve of Shabbat,[4] which started from the Mercaz HaRav Yeshiva and wound its way through the streets of Jerusalem past the original location of the yeshiva in the Geula neighbourhood until the Mount of Olives cemetery where Shapira was buried.

Relevant Links:
1. wikipedia
Rav Avraham Shapira