Succot and the Chasam Sofer at Honor’s Haven Resort

 

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Once again, “Destinations”, directed by Yossi Zablocki, sponsored a wonderful program this past Succot at one of the most beautiful hotels in the Catskill Mountains in New York, Honor’s Haven. One of the highlights of any of Desinations’ wonderful programs is the various lectures offered by prominent rabbis and scholars. Rabbi Dr. Nathan David Rabinowich, a noted rabbi and scholar was invited to deliver two lectures during the first and last days. They were well-received, especially since the topic dealt with a ‘curious’ but unknown aspect of the Chasam Sofer (1762-1839): his personal life. Dr. Nosson Dovid Rabinowich showed how many men in the Chasam Sofer’s family either did not marry at all or married at a very late age. Some of the Shuddichim are very difficult to comprehend: for example – the Chasam Sofer, at the age of twenty-four, married a childless widow who was forty-two years old! Dr. Rabinowich also compared the three wives of the Chasam Sofer and the Chasam Sofer’s relationship to each one. At the end of the lecture, he discussed the fact that the Chasam Sofer remarried at the age of fifty and begot twelve children. Simply amazing. Dr. Rabinowich also discussed the Chasam Sofer’s relationship with his six daughters, his father-in-law, the holy Rabbi Akiva Eiger, his parents and his Rebbe, Rov Nosson Adler. The lectures will continue, G-d willing, on Chanukkah.

To learn more about the Chasam Sofer, see Rabbi Dr. Nathan David Rabinowich’s book , “Safra v’Sayfa”. To order a copy, please call 347-309-8485.

 

Rabbi Dr. Nathan David Rabinowich in Prague, 1979

Nosson Dovid Rabinowich

. Rabinowich has a special love for some of the cities in Czeckslovakia that used to brim with Jewish life. Heading the list, of course, are Prague and Bratislava (formerly “Pressburg”, the home of the “Sofer” dynasty beginning with the holy Chasam Sofer (R. Moshe Schreiber who became chief Rabbi and Rosh Yeshiva there in 1807 after similar stints in Dreznits and Mattesdorf).

Bratislava is still most popular due to its old cemetery in which the Chasam Sofer is buried right next to his right-hand-man and the head of the Pressburg Beis Din, Rav Daniel Prostitz, a true gaon and leader. Strangely enough there is no trace of the tombstones of the Chasam Sofer’s first two wives, Sarah and Cheryll.

In his first visit there, Rabbi Nosson Dovid Rabinowich, with the help of a true saint in her time, Frau Engel, had to go down a dark and dangerous trapdoor in the middle of a major highway in order to attain access to a pathway leading to the Old Cemetery. Nowadays, thanks to Rabbi Rami Cohen and the Karfunkel brothers of Boro Park, among other wonderful donors, there is state of the art access to the cemetery which itself has been completely renovated.

May the Chasam Sofer, who’s yartzheit was on Tishrei 25, intervene with the Heavenly Court on behalf of all of Klal Yisroel.

Rabbi Rabinowich recently recalled his week long friendship with Rav Majier the KGB appointed Chief Rabbi of Prague. For the entire week, Rav Majier expressed only warmth and friendship toward Rabbi Rabinowich and just about did not leave the Rabbi’s side. On many occasions, he bad-mouthed the communist controlled city managers and officers. Rabbi Rabinowich began to feel Rav Majier’s pain and frustration in trying to spread Yiddishkeit in an atmosphere of atheism and more importantly, flagrant anti-religious sentiment.

Dr. Nosson Dovid Rabinowich relates, “I will never forget the frustrated and depressed looks on his face when Rav Majier explained to me how his efforts to spread kashrut and Torah learning are consistently obstructed. One morning he took me to the attic of the most beautiful synagogue in Prague. I am unfortunately uncertain as to the name of that synagogue: it was no in the old Jewish district. In that attic I saw thousands of pairs of tefillin that were collected by the Nazis from all over Bohemia! The Prague rabbi could not explain to me why the Nazis collected all of those phylacteries.

There were many antique machzorim and bibles and her permitted me to take as many as I wanted. I could not thank him enough for his kindness. I felt that by smuggling them out of Czeckeslovakia I would have personally dealt communism a massive blow.

To cut to the chase, at the border in Nickelsburg (the buriel site of the holy Reb Shmelke Horowitz, one of the prize pupils of the Maggid of Mezeritch and of the famous gaon, Rebbe Mordechai Benet, the chief rabbi of Moravia, among other great saints) the communists insisted that I open my trunk, something they had never requested in my previous three visits to communist Prague.

They, of course, confiscated all of the books and tefillin!

I am certain that my “dear friend” Rav Majier was the ‘”informer”. I subsequently found out, that he was a full-time salaried KGB agent.

Am Yisroel Chai!

 

Fascinating New Insights Into the Life of the holy Chasam Sofer!

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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!

Nathan David Rabinowich: Visiting Old Delhi’s Attractions

Nosson Dovid (Nathan David) Rabinowich has been coordinating worldwide tours for Jewish Heritage Tours. Tour groups visiting Delhi can take some time to appreciate the beautiful architecture of the Mughal dynasty of the yesteryears. Nathan David Rabinowich recommends visiting these incredible places while you are in Delhi.

The Old Fort

The Old Fort or Purana Quila is located on the eastern side of India Gate. Emperor Humayun established a city named Dinpanah or ‘Shelter of the Faithful’ here, in 1534, and the internal fortress of this city is the Old Fort or the Purana Quila. Humayun considered Dinpanah as ‘a southern Samarkand’ or a learning place for scholarly men of every Islamic group who could talk about religious philosophy at leisure under the support of the emperor. In 1540, Sher Shah Suri laid siege and captured the city and renamed it Delhi Shershahi or “Shergarh” and built many buildings there. However, in 1555, Humayun recaptured his city and lived there until his passing.

Dilli Haat

Situated in the heart of Delhi, the exceptional Dilli Haat is an overhauled version of the traditional weekly market, offering a smattering of art, food and various cultural activities. Dilli Haat is a market where you can see the constant influx of craftsmen offering a kaleidoscope of beautiful Indian artifacts and handicrafts for sale.

The Baha’i Temple

The Baha’i Temple is engineering wonder of the Baha’i faith. The building is a tourist attraction and can be seen from several places in South Delhi.

Akshardham Temple

Akshardham Temple is a Hindu place of worship, located in the east district of New Delhi. The sanctuary is home to an 11-foot tall gilded statue of Bhagwan Swaminarayan. The building is built totally from Pink Sandstone and Italian Marble, with no cement or steel. The elaborate carvings, amazing structure and the backdrop of the Yamuna River, render the sanctuary a masterpiece of art.

Nathan David Rabinowich is a versatile businessman who has extensively traveled the world.

See more about Nathan’s visit his about me page: http://nossonrabinowich.com/about-nathan-david-rabinowich/