The late renowned Rabbi (Major General, Res.) Shlomo Goren (1917-1994) served as Chief Rabbi of Israel and Chief Judge of the Supreme Rabbinical Court of Appeals, Chief Rabbi and Rabbinical Court Presiding Judge of Tel Aviv and as the first Head of the IDF Military Rabbinate, achieving the rank of major-general. He was a highly respected, undaunted leader who was greatly esteemed in many circles, religious and secular alike.
Rabbi Goren was born in Poland and made Aliyah to Eretz Israel as a young boy with his family, who were among the founders of Kfar Hasidim. He moved to Jerusalem to pursue Torah studies and was quickly recognized as a prodigy. His first book, which was received enthusiastically by the most influential rabbis, was published when he was just 17 years old. Subsequent books were awarded many awards, among them the Israel Prize in rabbinical literature, the Rav Kook Award, the Jerusalem Prize and more. Along with his extraordinary knowledge and understanding of the Torah, Rabbi Goren acquired an academic education in mathematics and philosophy at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem on Mount Scopus.
He fought in the pre-State Zionist Lehi and served as a sharpshooter in the Haganah. Upon the establishment of the State and the Israel Defense Forces, Rabbi Goren was appointed by Prime Minister Ben Gurion as the Head of the Military Rabbinate, upon the recommendations of the Chief Rabbi of Israel, the late Rabbi Herzog and the Minister of Religions, the late Rabbi Maimon.
Rabbi Goren established and molded the Military Rabbinate, determining for years to come the manner in which religion is observed in the IDF, procedures for handling fallen and missing soldiers and the IDF's position as a Jewish army.
He was among the first soldiers to liberate the Temple Mount and Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem during the Six Day War in 1967. His shofar blowing and prayers upon that occasion will be remembered as an indelible part of Israel's history. He liberated Rachel's Tomb and the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron, ruling that the Cave of the Patriarchs would serve as a prayer site for the Jewish people for the ages, and sought to apply Israeli sovereignty over Eretz Israel.
Rabbi Goren prevented innumerable women from remaining Israeli war Agunot (women bound in marriage by a husband who refuses to grant a divorce or who is missing and not proven dead), endangering himself and crossing enemy lines countless times in order to locate and collect the remains of fallen IDF soldiers, identify them and bring them to burial.
Rabbi Goren was one of the founders and most significant rabbis of the Religious Zionist Movement. He was an expert in Torah and Halacha (Jewish law), in that which is revealed and that which is concealed, who combined meticulous adherence to the Jewish mitzvoth (commandments, regulations), from the simplest to the most stringent, with Halachic innovativeness, as necessitated by scientific advances and Israel's existence as a sovereign nation. His innovative rulings stemmed from his view that the establishment of the State of Israel constituted a stage in the Redemption of Israel.
Tchia Shapira, Drorit Tamari and Rami Goren
Children of Rabbi Shlomo Goren