[On Motza'ei Shabbat-Yom Tov, Rav Aviner heard of the passing of this great Rav, whom he greatly respected. He immediately
dictated the following eulogy. Mordechai Tzion]
Ha-Gaon Ha-Rav Shmuel Ha-Levi Wozner Ztz"l ascended on high at the onset of the holiday of Pesach.
For more than 100 years, Ha-Rav Wozner enlightened the skies of his devoted, pure and holy followers.
This Torah giant's spirit permeated three areas:
1. Paskening Halachah. He was a great Posek in every realm of the Torah. One could ask him any question and he would give a halachic ruling.
2. The Zichron Meir Neighborhood in Bnei Brak, of which he was the Rav. He was a leader, educator and one who spiritually directed and elevated others.
3. The Yeshiva of Chachmei Lublin, where he served as Rosh Yeshiva The Yeshiva was named after the Yeshiva in Lublin where Ha-Rav Wozner merited learning in his youth under Rabbi Meir Shapiro. He also merited seeing the Rogachover when he came to Vienna and recited the blessing of "Blessed is He who apportioned from His wisdom to those who fear Him" (Shut Shevet Ha-Levi 10:13 #3).
And this Torah scholar was not a lone sun but kindled many lights, many great lights, raised many students, who were themselves great Torah scholars, great Poskim. And he established various Batei Din.
As mentioned, he was a giant in Paskening Halachah. His Shut Shevet Ha-Levi, 11 volumes - 11 are the stars - deals with every area of Halachah including modern technology. And these are not even all of his rulings – a number of them were never published. Rav Wozner said in the name of the Da'at Sofer, in the name of the Chatam Sofer, that Halachic authorities are often required to make rulings in extenuating circumstances or after-the-fact [Diava'ad] based on a combination of halachic principles, and this is considered a sort of temporary ruling [Hora'at Sha'ah]. Such a ruling is in the realm of Oral Torah, and we must therefore be extremely careful not to turn it into Written Torah, i.e. it should not become a permanent ruling – thus it should not be published (Brought in his name in Shut Chayei Ha-Levi of Ha-Rav Yochanan Segal Wozner, Av Beit Din of Skverer Chasidim in Montreal, Introduction to Volume 6).
He was also an extreme Charedi, even more so than the Chazon Ish, who related to secular Jews as "Tinokot She-Nishbu" - Jews who did not receive a proper Jewish upbringing and education. He greatly praised the Satmar Rebbe and his book "Va-Yoel Moshe" and some of his sons are Satmar Rabbis. He did not participate in Israeli elections.
We must understand, however, that his harsh rebuke against secular Jews and the State of Israel was rebuke out of love, and at times had the value of protecting the Nation and State of Israel. His strong words were in the category of "revealed rebuke and hidden love".
And this is what Maran Ha-Rav Kook said to his student Ha-Rav Dr. Moshe Zeidel, who was upset with the Charedi criticism. He responded that the Charedim, who are opposed to Zionism from the depths of the purity of their spirit, aid in removing much of its negative tendency and will thus allow it to reach its royal potential (Igrot Re'eiyah 3:156).
And in general, Rabbenu Ha-Rav Tzvi Yehudah Kook taught us the meaning of the Mishnah in Piskei Avot (6:6): "One who carries the burden with his fellow" – that Torah scholars are required to carry the burden together, even if there are differences of opinion, since the shared burden of Torah is greater than that which separates us (classes on Kinyan Ha-Torah).
Therefore, we must understand that this Torah giant does not only belong to Bnei Brak or to a small group of Chasidim or Charedim. He spread his light to the entire Nation of Israel.
He ascended on high but his Torah is eternal and will continue to enlighten our lives for future generations.
May his soul be bound up in the bonds of the living with all of the great Tzadikim and Geonim.