Rabbi Shlomo Kluger

Rabbi Shlomo Kluger was one of the leading halachic authorities and among the most prolific writers of the 19th century

Born: Komarow, Congress Poland,1786
Died: Brody, 1869

(1786-1869) Rabbi Shlomo Kluger was one of the leading halachic authorities and among the most prolific writers of the 19th century. R' Kluger wrote of himself, "Praises to G-d, I have approximately 115 large works on Tanach and the entire Talmud, and commentaries on the early and later poskim / halachic authorities." It should be noted that R' Kluger lived 25 years after writing these words, so that his total literary output may have been much greater. Ha'eleph Lecha Shlomo, his best-known work of halachic responsa, has 1,008 chapters.

R' Kluger was born in 1786 to R' Yehuda Aharon, rabbi of Komarow. R' Yehuda Aharon was a sickly man who died before age 40, leaving his son a homeless orphan. One day, R' Yaakov Kranz (the "Dubno Maggid") met the young boy wandering the streets of Zamosc, Poland, and he took him in. (Interestingly, in his work Chochmat Shlomo, Even Ha'ezer 1:1, R' Kluger analyzes whether one fulfills the mitzvah to "be fruitful and multiply" through adoption.)

The Dubno Maggid arranged teachers for his charge, including R' Mordechai Rabin, rabbi of Zamosc, and R' Yosef Hochgelernter. The Maggid himself taught R' Kluger the aggadic (i.e., non-legal) parts of the Torah, meeting with him in regular Friday night sessions.

At the young age of 22, R' Kluger was already sitting on batei din / rabbinical courts with more seasoned scholars. However, not until he was 36 did he receive his first appointment as a town rabbi, in Kelokow, Galicia. Later, a certain R' Yosef Yozpa suggested that R' Kluger apply for the then-vacant rabbinate of Brody, and R' Yosef wrote R' Kluger a letter of introduction to R' Ephraim Zalman Margaliot. (R' Margaliot was a businessman, and was Brody's leading scholar. His works include the popular Sha'arei Ephraim and Mateh Ephraim.) R' Margaliot interviewed R' Kluger and declared that R' Kluger was the first person who had ever bested him in a scholarly discussion. He later wrote of R' Kluger:


The rabbi, the great and sharp genius, Sinai [i.e., having far-ranging knowledge] and uprooter of mountains [i.e., having a sharp intellect], the famous one, our teacher R' Shlomo, may his light shine, who several years ago came to reside honorably in our city, and he was raised and elevated at the suggestion of the great and lofty ones of the city to be the head of the bet din and the teacher of righteousness and speaker of truth [i.e., lecturer on moral subjects] - his name is 'Shlomo' and his Torah is 'shleimah' (whole), fortunate is the man who gave birth to him . . .

R' Kluger remained in Brody until his death in 1869. (Source: Gedolei Ha'dorot p. 665)

May the merit of the tzadik Rabbi Shlomo Kluger protect us all


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