THE ISRAEL PRIZE FOR 5752 (1992)
The panel of judges for the Israel Prize for the year 5752 in the area of Judaic Studies decided to select HaGaon Rav Shaul Yisraeli, shlita [zt”l], an elder of the rabbinical council of the Chief Rabbinate, a member of the Supreme Religious Court, Rosh Yeshiva of Mercaz HaRav and president of the Eretz Hemdah Institute, as the winner of the Israel Prize in Judaic Studies for the year 5752.
This senior and experienced rabbi has taken a place of honor of the highest degree among the great Torah luminaries and halachic authorities of the Jewish People. His strength shines in the written Torah, through his outstanding writings. His influence and instruction is great in the oral Torah, through his halachic renderings and Torah lectures. His breadth of spiritual understanding is exceedingly vast. As the first rav of the religious moshav, Kfar HaRoeh, he became an expert in the agricultural mitzvot. Some of the fruits of his labor and halachic renderings appear in his book, Eretz Hemdah. With the establishment of the State of Israel, he thoroughly clarified halachic problems in the modern State--including Shabbat, issues of kashrut and security in the army, law, marital issues, and medical issues--which are explained comprehensively in his book, Amud Yemini. He also edited the anthologies: Torah VeHaMedinah and Barkai, compiling discussions on contemporary topics facing the Jewish People. His vast knowledge led him to the area of biblical exegesis, and he has served as a senior member of Da’at Mikra’s editorial board.
His instruction of oral law had begun in his lucid lectures in Talmud before [the laymen] who have set aside time to engage in learning at Kfar HaRoeh, and before the first students of the original Yeshivat Bnei Akiva, of which he was one of the founders. He continued to give discourses in Jewish Thought at Midrashiat Noam in Pardes Hanna, which brought forth his important work, Perakim beMachshavat Yisrael. He similarly gave lectures at rabbinical assemblies, and his crowning glory--in his weekly shiurim at Jerusalem’s Mercaz HaRav yeshiva, and in his teaching avreichim who learn at the Eretz Hemdah Institute, which was established under his leadership.
A system of his rulings subsequently branched out, starting from daily questions in issur ve’heter as the community’s rabbinic authority. He later ruled on problems facing the nation and State in his legal renderings as adjourning on the Religious Supreme Court. Especially noteworthy is that everything mentioned above bears the stamp of a personality rich in character traits, a pleasant rabbinic personality--his behavior greatly contributes to love of one’s fellow Jew and Israel. He has responded to personal and public queries and has a huge following of talmidim.
It is our pleasure to wholeheartedly recommend the awarding of the Israel Prize to this great man, the Gaon Rav Shaul Yisraeli, shlita [zt”l].
Rav Moshe Tzvi Niriah
Rav Yosef Kapach
Professor Tzvi A. Steinfeld
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