Spent a wonderful first days of Sukkos at the “Destination” program at Honors Haven hotel in Ellenville, New York. Chazanim Braun and Kiss provided inspirational tefillos. I had the pleasure of delivering a lecture Tuesday afternoon introducing fascinating new insights into the life of the holy Chasam Sofer (1762-1839). I made the following points:
1) The Chasam Sofer left Frankfurt with his Rebbe, Rabbi Noson Adler, in approximately 1779, at the age of 17, after a “fight” with his father. Incidentally, his father died shortly after he left Frankfurt in 1779.
2) He did not see his mother, Raizel, from 1779 until she died in 1823 although Pressburg was a distance of only three weeks. This behavior is not understandable and requires explanation.
3) The Chasam Sofer’s brother, Yozsef, married his niece Childa at a late age. When he died in 1822, instead of the Chasam Sofer traveling to Frankfurt to facilitate the mitzvah of Chalitzah, his niece Childa came to Pressburg. Although the Halacha seems to require the sister-in-law to travel to the brother-in-laws’s city for the Chalitzah ceremony, the custom has always been that the “Choletz” is the one who travels. As in the case with his mothers passing, an explanation is needed. Perhaps, the Chasam Sofer requested permission from the Pressburg Beis Din for travel and they simply did not allow it. He was “needed” 24/7.
4) He had two brothers who both married late in life; Reb Shimon got married in 1814 when he was forty-six years old while his older brother Yozsef, married his niece (his and the Chosam Sofer’s younger sister’s daughter) Childa when he was fifty years old.
Stay tuned…more fascinating insights coming soon!