Zalman Sorotzkin

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Rabbi Zalman Sorotzkin

Zalman Sorotzkin, also known as the Lutzker Rav (Hebrew: זלמן סורוצקין‎‎; 1881–1966), was a famous Orthodox rabbi who served as the rabbi of Lutsk, Ukraine.

Sorotzkin was born in Žagarinė, Lithuania in 1881. Initially, he studied with his father, Rabbi Ben-Zion Sorotzkin, who was the town's rabbi. He then studied in the yeshivas of Volozhin and Slabodka.

Sorotzkin was a son in law of the Telzer rav and rosh yeshiva, Rabbi Eliezer Gordon. When Gordon died in 1910, Sorotzkin was offered the position as rabbi and rosh yeshiva in Telz. He did not accept the position and was shortly after appointed as Rabbi to Voranava, Belarus (near Vilna). This enabled him to establish a close relationship with Rabbi Chaim Ozer Grodzenski. In Voranava, Rabbi Sorotzkin established a yeshiva ketana. After two years in Voranava, Rabbi Sorotzkin moved to Dziatłava (known as Zhetel or זשעטל in Yiddish), where he served as rabbi for eighteen years. As Zhetel was the birthplace of the Chofetz Chaim, the Chofetz Chaim would affectionately refer to Rabbi Sorotzkin as "my" rav.

In 1914, owing to the German invasion, Rabbi Sorotzkin moved to Minsk and became a close friend of the Chazon Ish, who rented a room from Rabbi Sorotzkin. Upon the end of the war, Rabbi Sorotzkin returned to Zhetel.

In 1930, he was appointed rabbi in Lutsk, where he remained until World War II. During the early days of the war, when many yeshivas had to relocate, Sorotzkin served as the head of the Vaad Hayeshivos, at the behest of Chaim Ozer Grodzenski. Sorotzkin managed to flee the war and escape to Mandate Palestine.

When the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah (Council of Torah Sages) of the Agudath Israel was founded in Israel, Sorotzkin was appointed vice chairman. In 1953, the Chinuch Atzmai was formed and Sorotzkin was chosen to head it.

Death and legacy[edit]

Sorotzkin died in Israel on June 27, 1966 (9 Tammuz 5726). He is buried on Har HaMenuchot.

Sorotzkin authored the works, Oznaim LaTorah, a commentary on the Torah, Moznaim LaTorah, on the Jewish festivals, Sheailos Utshuvos Moznaim LaMishpat and HaDeah ve-ha-Dibur which is a collection of derashot.

He was survived by five sons: Rabbis Elchonon Sorotzkin, author of Leman Achai VeRai and leader of the Chinuch Atzmai; Baruch Sorotzkin, rosh yeshiva of the Telz yeshiva in Cleveland, Ohio; Eliezer Sorotzkin, founder of Kiryat Telz-Stone in Israel; Yisrael Sorotzkin, rosh yeshiva in Lomza and Av Beit Din in Petah Tikva; and Benzion Sorotzkin, leader of Chinuch Atzmai.

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