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One hundred and eighty years after his passing, he stands tall, a leader for eternity.
The Chasam Sofer would
reshape the landscape for Torah Jewry, revealing the power and potency
of a rov, the impact of a rosh yeshiva. He would provide a paradigm of
leadership, fusing courage and humility, selflessness and determination,
passion and generosity: and his imprint would endure.
It would spread across the
region, giving the kehillos of Austro-Hungary an example, a kehilla
after which they could model themselves: it was a style of rabbanus, an
approach to living. He showed the blessing of a yeshiva, the value of
talmidei chachamim- and also, the glory of the ordinary citizens and
their role, the preciousness of their minhagim.
They longed to imbibe his
light: they pleaded with his talmidim to settle among them, to lead
them, to protect and defend them. His Torah- psak, drush, hashkafa-
became the bedrock of their own approach to avodas Hashem.
From Pressburg, he ruled the Jewish world.
Then he passed away, and
his talmidim-and their talmidim- fanned the flames ever-brighter, the
presence of the Chasam Sofer seeming to hover above European Jewry for a
And when it all collapsed,
his inspiration fueled the rebuilding: we would start again, and we
wouldn't compromise, wouldn't allow ourselves to believe that anything
We have an Old Father, the Chasam Sofer would say, and He does not change.
Until today, the Chasam Sofer leads us: in this book, we'll see why, and we’ll see how.
With the storyteller's
gift, the author makes it feel not like a lesson, but like a story, an
enjoyable read: but the experience of soaking in the stories and divrei
Torah and rich history will leave you with a clear sense of what this
man represented, and what it means for each one of us.
The Chasam Sofer, scribe for eternity, is still teaching us.