Samuel Benjamin Sofer

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Avraham Shmuel Binyamin Sofer
Samuel Benjamin Sofer.jpg
Born (1815-03-13)March 13, 1815 (1 Adar II 5575 Anno Mundi)
Pressburg, Hungary
Died December 31, 1871(1871-12-31) (aged 56) (19 Teves 5632 Anno Mundi)
Pressburg
Resting place
Bratislava
Residence Pressburg
Nationality Hungarian
Other names Ksav Sofer
Occupation Rabbi
Known for Ksav Sofer Responsa on Shulchan Aruch
Ksav Sofer on Gittin
Ksav Sofer on the Pentateuch
Religion Haredi Orthodox Judaism
Spouse(s) Chavah Leah Weiss
Children Yaakov Akiva Sofer – (d. 1912)
Moshe M. Sofer (d. 1927)
Simcha Bunim Sofer – (d. 1907)
Yitzchak Leib Sofer – (d. 1907)
Shimon Sofer (1850–1944)
Shlomo Sofer
Sarel Sofer
Rachel Sofer
Hindel Sofer
Rosa Sofer
Parents Moshe Sofer & Sarel Eger

Avraham Shmuel Binyamin Sofer, (German: Abraham Samuel Benjamin Schreiber), also known by his main work Ksav Sofer or Ketav Sofer (trans. Writ of the Scribe), (1815–1871), was one of the leading rabbis of Hungarian Jewry in the second half of the nineteenth century and rosh yeshiva of the famed Pressburg Yeshiva. His official German name was Samuel Wolf Schreiber.

Early years[edit]

Shmuel Binyomin Sofer was born in Pressburg (now Bratislava) on March 13, 1815. His father, the famed Chasam Sofer, Rabbi of Pressburg, was the leader of Hungarian Jewry and one of the leading Rabbi's of European Jewry. His mother Sarel (1790–1832) was the daughter of Rabbi Akiva Eger, Rabbi of Posen, one of the greatest Talmudic scholars of his time.

When he was six years old, his family fell ill and among them little Shmuel Volf, as he was called. The doctors had already given up on him. As a segulah they added "Avraham" to his name, but to no avail. They already called the Chevra Kadisha and lit candles as was the custom of the time and they said the last rites. Then the doctors approached his father the Chasam Sofer and said "We know that you are a Godly and holy man; if with your prayers you cannot help your son; on our part, all hope is lost". After hearing this; the Chasam Sofer went to a corner where all his manuscripts were; and said a short prayer. At that time the sick child Avraham Shmuel Binyomin in his great weakness started screaming the Shema, and their prayers were answered; Shmuel Binyomin's condition took a turn for the better. The doctors bewildered said to the Chasam Sofer; now we truly know that you are a Godly man; to which he answered, "I hadn't given up hope, not even for a second." The great pupils of the Chasam Sofer later testified that the Chasam Sofer said at the time that "for one Jubilee, I begged him out"; as Shmuel Binyomin lived for another fifty years and died at age fifty six.

His first teacher was Rabbi Mordechai Ephraim Fishel Sofer (not a relation, as far as is known); then he entered his father's famous Yeshiva; and became one of its outstanding students.

At age eighteen in 1833 he married Chavah Leah Weiss, daughter of a Tzadik Rabbi Yitzchok Weiss from Görlitz who gave a dowry and promised to support them for six years. The wedding was held in the town of Kamaren then they settled in Pressburg where he continued his studies and helped his father with the yeshiva.

Pressburg (Bratislava)[edit]

On October 3, 1839 his father, the Chasam Sofer, died and the mantle as Rabbi of Pressburg passed to him. As the Chasam Sofer was on his deathbed he blessed his son with an extremely long blessing in which he mentioned every single blessing found in Tanach. Everyone in attendance stood in awe at the sight of him writhing in pain and at the same time he was able to remember and say all these blessings. Then he closed it by saying "Your grandfather Akiva will stand to your right hand; your grandfather the Maharsheshach will stand on your left side; and a certain angel will stand over your head; and I will be close behind to fulfill your wishes".

Death and legacy[edit]

On December 31, 1871 the Ksav Sofer died in Bratislava and the mantle as Rabbi of Pressburg passed to his son, Rabbi Simcha Bunim Sofer known as the Shevet Sofer.

Another son, Rabbi Shimon Sofer was apponited as Rabbi of Erlau (Eger). Shimon's grandson Rabbi Yochanan Sofer has established numerous Synagogues in Israel and one in the USA, naming them Kehila Kdosha (trans. Holy Congregation) Ksav Sofer.

See also[edit]

Portrait of the Ksav Sofer