(1917 - 1994)
Shlomo Goren was an Israeli rabbi and scholar who served as the first head of the military rabbinate of the Israel Defense Forces.
Goren (born February 3, 1917; died October 29, 1994) was born in Poland and moved with his family to pre-State Israel in
1925. He entered the yeshiva at age 12 and by age 17 had published his
first religious article and was considered a prodigy.
In 1936, Goren joined the Haganah. As a soldier in the 1948 war, Goren was often asked to help resolve specific questions concerning
religious observance under wartime conditions, and in 1948 the chief rabbis in
Israel named him chief chaplain of the new state's army. In that position he
was often noted for his bravery, accompanying troops to the front and at times
going behind enemy lines to bring back the dead for burial; he rose to the
rank of brigadier general. Goren led the troops who liberated the Western
Wall during the Six-Day War in
prayer and blew a shofar to mark the occasion.
Goren retired from the army in 1972, and, that same year
was elected Israel's chief Ashkenazic rabbi. In that position, he attempted to
reconcile religious teaching and technological progress, and he often clashed
with the chief rabbi of the Sephardic tradition. Goren served in that post
until 1983, yet he continued to offer his opinions into the 1990s.
Goren bitterly opposed accommodation with the Palestine
Liberation Organization; he made headlines in late 1993 when he
"ruled" that soldiers could disobey orders and refuse to dismantle settlements in the West Bank. In 1994, he pronounced that religious law
commanded Jews to kill Yasir Arafat.
Goren wrote many religious articles and essays, including
his commentary on the Talmud, Ha-Yerushalmi ha-Meforash (1961), a
volume that won the Israel prize.
In 2005, Goren was voted the 53rd-greatest Israeli of all time in a poll conducted by Israeli daily Yediot Ahronoth.
Sources: Britannica; Wikipedia