May 5, 2014

Pinchas Soloveichik: IDF soldier with no family to remember him

As the nation mourns the fallen soldiers and victims of terror, there is, unfortunately, an endless list of tragic stories of soldiers who had no family left behind to mourn for them.

Here is one such story... that of a lone individual, a yeshiva bochur named Pinchas Soloveichik (it seems to remain unknown as to whether or not he is somehow related to the famous Soloveichik family).

Pinchas Soloveichik was a yeshiva bochur who volunteered for the Etzel - HaIrgun HaTzvai HaLeumi, a.k.a. "The Irgun". At the foundation of the State, the Irgun, Etzel, was absorbed into the newly formed IDF.

Pinchas was the son of Yaakov and Chana Soloveichik, born October 30, 1926 in Jerusalem. Soloveichik fought in the War of Independence, and was killed in battle when he participated in the battle to breach the walls of Jerusalem near Mt. Zion during the War of Independence on August 13, 1948. Soloveichik was killed, at the age of 22, shortly before the battle was finished, successfully, with [the Old City of] Jerusalem recaptured.

Soloveichik was buried in the old Shaarei Tzedek cemetery.

It seems there are no surviving members of his family.

In recent years, Zaka and Yehuda Meshi-Zahav has taken it upon himself to arrange a minyan on Yom HaZikaron and go to Pinchas Soloveichiks grave to say kaddish.

Yom HaZikaron 2013 at grave of Pinchas Soloveichik

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  1. There is no mention on the matzeiva that he was a Levi - which would seem to indicate that he is not related to the Brisker Soloveichiks.


      All members of the Soloveitchik family are descended from the Tribe of Levi and thus sometimes go by the descriptor HaLevi.

      rav shechter talks abotu the rav being a levi in nefesh harav.

  2. The battle for the Old City wasn't successful. Just Mt. Zion stayed in Jewish/Israeli hands until 1967 when the Old City was liberated.

    1. I meant Mt. Zion. I always tend to think of it as part of the Old City, even though it is outside the walls.

  3. My great-grandfather was a Soloveitchik (not a Levi), and he lived in J-lem then (in fact, near the old Shaarei Tzedek hospital).

    I'll have to dig around and see if I can find something on him in the family history.

  4. OK, here's some news: he was my grandmother's first cousin.

    This is what it says in my great-grandfather's sefer called Otzar Hadranim, on the page with the dedications:

    אחי מר יעקב ז"ל, נפטר ה' כסלו תש"ד
    בנו הקדוש הבחור פנחס ז"ל, נפל חלל ח' אב תש"ח על הר ציון במלחמה עם הערבים הי"ד

    My great-grandfather's name was Rav Dovid Aharon Soloveitchik. They lived near the old Shaarei Tzedek hospital.

    His father, who was this Pinchas' grandfather, was R' Binyamin Beinish. He had a minhag of not sleeping outside of the old city walls - his son writes that for more than 50 years he didn't sleep outside of J-lem.

    1. interesting. thanks.
      so you, or he, is not related to the famous soloveichik family?
      why is it that he left no family behind? I get he wasnt married and had no kids, but his parents or siblings...

    2. 1. No, no relation. They are leviim, we aren't.
      2. I don't really know if his parents had other kids and what happened to them. My great-grandfather emigrated to Boston in the late 20's, so I'm assuming they sort of lost touch. They were an old Yerushalmi family (my great-grandmother was from the Porush family, which is massive) so it wasn't easy to keep up with everyone. E.g, Rav Shlomo Zalman, was a second cousin of my grandmother, but I'm sure he was not aware of my existence.

  5. Update: My father told me that this Pinchas had one brother, as far as he knows. The brother never married.


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