HaRav Lankry selflessly devoted himself to the Chevra Kadisha for the Sephardic community that he personally founded and led
By: Fern Sidman
On Sunday afternoon, June 27th, hundreds gathered for the levaya of HaGaon HaRav Shlomo Lankry, zt’l at the Ohel Moshe shul on East 7th Street in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn. HaRav Lankry was 82. He was a longtime Sephardic rabbi who was remembered for his exceptional chesed, his ahavat yisroel and his complete dedication to his congregants and his people around the globe.
HaRav Lankry was a renowned talmid chacham who arrived in America from Morocco as a newly married man with two young children. He was very close to the Mirrer Yeshiva and its Roshei Yeshiva; spending a great deal of time with a group of Moroccan bochrim who had been brought from Morocco to the Mirrer Yeshiva in Brooklyn by the venerable Rosh Yeshiva, Hagaon HaRav Avraham Kalmanowitz, zt’l, as was reported by Yeshiva World News.
For more than 50 years, HaRav Lankry selflessly devoted himself to the Chevra Kadisha for the Sephardic community that he personally founded and led. He worked for no remuneration and was always available for everyone in need.
HaRav Lankry was particularly concerned with giving the proper respect and dignity to those who passed away in the community and showed tremendous compassion to their families.
A veritable litany of prominent rabbonim and talmidei chochomim offered heartfelt hespedim for Rav Lankry, zt’l.
One speaker said that HaRav Lankry was a “chacham lev, not just a talmid chacham. When I asked him why he made the Chevra Kadisha his life’s work, he told me, “I am not doing this to become rich or famous but I want everyone to understand the caring for those who passed and their families is such an incredibly important mitzvah.”
Another speaker said that “we would call him time and time again in the middle of the night for all different reasons and he would not hesitate to get up right away and he did so with alacrity and eagerly offered his help. Nothing was too much for him.”
Thirty years ago, Rabbi Lankry, bullt a shul for Jews from Morocco on East 7th Street, near the Mirrer Yeshiva. It was there that he also founded a vibrant kollel for married men to learn Torah.
Another speaker related a story about the seforim store that Rabbi Lankry, zt’l owned on Kings Highway near East 7th Street called “Sisu.”
“We would always get our etrogim from HaRav Lankry, zt’l for Sukkot. He would say, just give me one dollar as a kinyan. He never charged us. I was later to find out that he would never cash the checks of those who bought etrogim from him. Everything he did was L”Shem Shamayim.”
Rabbi Eliezer Ginsburg of the Agudah Israel Zichron Shmuel shul and an internationally renowned talmid chacham called Rabbi Lankry, “a tzaddik, a talmid chacham. He had a kollel of talmidei chachamim who he supported. He always ran away from Kavod; a truly humble man. He did everything with ahava, with a pleasant face. He was a genuine eved elokim in every way.”
Another speaker told stories of the remarkable chesed that HaRav Lankry performed throughout his life. “On Shabbat, on Yom Tovim, and all through the year, his moe was always filled with guests. His own children would sleep in the living room or even on the floor to give the guests their own bedrooms; to treat them with such care and concern. Rav Lankry was so proud of his children and told me that his son Moshe was doing extraordinary chesed in Lakewood.”
HaRav Aaron Lankry spoke of the important lessons that he learned from his father and how proud he was of his brother Moshe and all the people who imbibed the teachings of his beloved father.
HaRav Moshe Lankry recalled one of his earliest memories of his father. “I remember that as a very young child, my father told me and my brother come into the room, I have something very special for you. On the bed we found a lulav and and etrog. While we were young and really didn’t understand, we saw that our father’s face was glowing, he was radiating with pride that he could give this to us. It was so important to him and we knew this and learned from him.
Another time, we were on Kings Highway and he told me, do you see that woman? I said yes. He said go and walk her home. I walked her home to her building on Ocean Parkway. She invited me in and gave me something to drink and told me her entire story. When I got back, my father asked, how did it go? He set me up to do a tremendous mitzvah of listening and caring about a lonely person and I never forgot that.”
HaRav Moshe also praised his mother for being the perfect partner with his father, constantly doing chesed together and inspiring each other to even greater heights. “I do not remember one single Shabbat when we were just with immediate family. Our home was always filled with extended family like cousins, and also loads of friends, community members, and guests from out of town. The house was always filled with people and my mother would give the leftovers from Shabbat to guests to eat on Sunday.”
He added: “My father built this shul with his own hands, with his love for Hashem. He did not need a fancy place but he wanted a place where people could create for themselves a chocham lev. Hashem wants us to build a home where we can give our hearts to Hashem and that guides us. That was Abba. If you gave your heart to Hashem, he loved you.
Abba should go up to Shamayim with his thousands and thousands of angels. As we know angels are out mitzvos and my father had an infinite amount of mitzvoth.”
He leaves behind his wife Zhava, and his children Rabbi Aron (Rav in Monsey), R’ Moshe, (Lakewood), Miriam, Mrs. Emely Antar, and Mrs. Eede Mizrahi.