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Jerusalem - Thousands Bid Tearful Goodbye To Erlauer Rebbe In Jerusalem

Published on: February 22, 2016 02:08 PM
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Thousand attend to the funeral of the Rabbi of Erlau (Rabbi Yochanan Sofer) Ezrat Torah neighborhood, Jerusalem on February 22, 2016, Rabbi Yochanan Sofer died tonight aged 92 in a hospital in Jerusalem. Photo by Flash90 Thousand attend to the funeral of the Rabbi of Erlau (Rabbi Yochanan Sofer) Ezrat Torah neighborhood, Jerusalem on February 22, 2016, Rabbi Yochanan Sofer died tonight aged 92 in a hospital in Jerusalem. Photo by Flash90

Jerusalem - Thousands turned out today in Jerusalem to pay their final respects to the Erlauer Rebbe, Rabbi Yochanan Sofer, who died early this morning at the age of 92.

The Erlauer Rebbe, the great-great grandson of the Chasam Sofer, was born in the Hungarian town of Eger, also known as Erlau, in 1923. Both his father Rabbi Moshe Sofer, and his grandfather Rabbi Shimon Sofer had served as grand rabbi of the town and after the war, Rabbi Sofer followed in his ancestor’s footsteps, taking on the role of town’s leader for the handful of survivors that remained.  Rabbi Sofer shared the position of rosh yeshiva at Yeshiva Chasam Sofer in Budapest with the Debreciner Rebbe, Rabbi Moshe Stern,  for a short time before opening his own yeshiva in Erlau.

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Rabbi Sofer encouraged his followers to leave Communist Hungary and to emigrate to Israel, leaving with his own family only after all of Erlau’s Jews had escaped.  He founded both a yeshiva and a new community in the Katamon section of Jerusalem, taking in many Holocaust survivors and students from poor families.  Over the years the yeshiva continued to expand and also incorporated a special institute dedicated to researching and deciphering documents that were written by hand by the Chasam Sofer, his students and his descendants.

Rabbi Sofer, a leading halachic authority, was appointed as a member of the Agudah’s Moetzes Gedolei Hatorah at the unprecedented age of 38 and was also a member of Mifal HaShas. He was known as an expert in both Israeli politics and security issues and had a close relationship with Rav Ovadia Yosef and Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv.

**FILE** The Rabbi Erlau (Rabbi Yochanan Sofer) seen at his home in Jerusalem on November 11, 2014. Photo by Flash90**FILE** The Rabbi Erlau (Rabbi Yochanan Sofer) seen at his home in Jerusalem on November 11, 2014. Photo by Flash90

The levaya for Rabbi Sofer took place this afternoon at the Erlau Yeshiva in Katamon with respected rabbonim, roshei yeshiva and throngs of followers coming to pay homage to the Rebbe.

All seven of the Rebbe’s sons spoke at the funeral.  The first to eulogize Rabbi Sofer was eldest son, Rabbi Moshe Sofer, who will take over as his father’s successor.  As reported by Kikar HaShabat, Rabbi Moshe Sofer described his father as the last living link to the Chasam Sofer, and praised him for his unique ability to mediate issues.

“The Rebbe knew how to find a middle ground,” said Rabbi Moshe Sofer.  “Today everything is extremes, either to this side or the other. The Rebbe always knew how to find common ground.”

Rabbi Yaakov Sofer, rov of Beitar Ilit’s Erlauer community, described the Rebbe’s incredible power of tefila, which brought miraculous salvation to many.

“Even irreligious Jews would ask him constantly to pray for them,” said Rabbi Yaakov Sofer. “Everyone knew of his powers.  When they built the city of Beitar next to Arab settlements people were afraid that residents might be in danger but my father said that he would take full responsibility and the city has been safe and secure for many years.”

A tearful Rabbi Shimon Sofer, rav of Baka, tearfully described his father’s piety and his many good deeds, noting how despite the adversity he faced, he became a luminary of the Torah world.

“You lost your whole family during the war and were left a young orphan but through your pure faith you were able to build an empire of Torah and Chasidus,” said Rabbi Shimon Sofer.

FILE - undated photo of Rabbi Sofer in his younger years (Yad Vashem Photo Archive)FILE - undated photo of Rabbi Sofer in his younger years (Yad Vashem Photo Archive)

Rabbi Akiva Sofer, rov of Bnei Brak’s Erlauer community, spoke at length about the Rebbe, noting that his entire life was dedicated to his students and to perpetuating Torah study. He issued a strong warning to those who would promote divisiveness following the Rebbe’s passing.

“The Rebbe devoted 70 years of his life to Torah and fear of G-d,” said Rabbi Akiva Sofer.  “Today the road is one of darkness.  Woe to the one who will attempt to create conflict.  The Rebbe will not forgive, not now and not in the future.  There will be no forgiveness, no atonement.  My brother Reb Moshe will be the one who will continue as the Rebbe.”

The levaya proceeded through the rain to the Ezras Torah section Jerusalem where several more eulogies were offered at the house of the Chasam Sofer before continuing to Har Hamenuchos. B’Chadrei Chareidim reported that the Belzer Rebbe gave a final eulogy after the burial, describing the Rebbe as a great man who invested tremendous efforts on behalf of his students, Hungarian Jewry and Jews throughout the world.

Below video 2011 Purim celebration.


Thousand attend to the funeral of the Rabbi of Erlau (Rabbi Yochanan Sofer) Ezrat Torah neighborhood, Jerusalem on February 22, 2016, Rabbi Yochanan Sofer died tonight aged 93 in a hospital in Jerusalem. P (Credit: Flash90)Thousand attend to the funeral of the Rabbi of Erlau (Rabbi Yochanan Sofer) Ezrat Torah neighborhood, Jerusalem on February 22, 2016, Rabbi Yochanan Sofer died tonight aged 93 in a hospital in Jerusalem. P (Credit: Flash90)
Thousand attend to the funeral of the Rabbi of Erlau (Rabbi Yochanan Sofer) Ezrat Torah neighborhood, Jerusalem on February 22, 2016, Rabbi Yochanan Sofer died tonight aged 93 in a hospital in Jerusalem.  (Credit: Flash90)Thousand attend to the funeral of the Rabbi of Erlau (Rabbi Yochanan Sofer) Ezrat Torah neighborhood, Jerusalem on February 22, 2016, Rabbi Yochanan Sofer died tonight aged 93 in a hospital in Jerusalem.  (Credit: Flash90)
Thousand attend to the funeral of the Rabbi of Erlau (Rabbi Yochanan Sofer) Ezrat Torah neighborhood, Jerusalem on February 22, 2016, Rabbi Yochanan Sofer died tonight aged 93 in a hospital in Jerusalem.  (Credit: Flash90)Thousand attend to the funeral of the Rabbi of Erlau (Rabbi Yochanan Sofer) Ezrat Torah neighborhood, Jerusalem on February 22, 2016, Rabbi Yochanan Sofer died tonight aged 93 in a hospital in Jerusalem.  (Credit: Flash90)
Thousand attend to the funeral of the Rabbi of Erlau (Rabbi Yochanan Sofer) Ezrat Torah neighborhood, Jerusalem on February 22, 2016, Rabbi Yochanan Sofer died tonight aged 93 in a hospital in Jerusalem.  (Credit: Flash90)Thousand attend to the funeral of the Rabbi of Erlau (Rabbi Yochanan Sofer) Ezrat Torah neighborhood, Jerusalem on February 22, 2016, Rabbi Yochanan Sofer died tonight aged 93 in a hospital in Jerusalem.  (Credit: Flash90)
Thousand attend to the funeral of the Rabbi of Erlau (Rabbi Yochanan Sofer) Ezrat Torah neighborhood, Jerusalem on February 22, 2016, Rabbi Yochanan Sofer died tonight aged 93 in a hospital in Jerusalem.  (Credit: Flash90)Thousand attend to the funeral of the Rabbi of Erlau (Rabbi Yochanan Sofer) Ezrat Torah neighborhood, Jerusalem on February 22, 2016, Rabbi Yochanan Sofer died tonight aged 93 in a hospital in Jerusalem.  (Credit: Flash90)
Thousand attend to the funeral of the Rabbi of Erlau (Rabbi Yochanan Sofer) Ezrat Torah neighborhood, Jerusalem on February 22, 2016, Rabbi Yochanan Sofer died tonight aged 93 in a hospital in Jerusalem.  (Credit: Flash90)Thousand attend to the funeral of the Rabbi of Erlau (Rabbi Yochanan Sofer) Ezrat Torah neighborhood, Jerusalem on February 22, 2016, Rabbi Yochanan Sofer died tonight aged 93 in a hospital in Jerusalem.  (Credit: Flash90)
Thousand attend to the funeral of the Rabbi of Erlau (Rabbi Yochanan Sofer) Ezrat Torah neighborhood, Jerusalem on February 22, 2016, Rabbi Yochanan Sofer died tonight aged 93 in a hospital in Jerusalem.  (Credit: Flash90)Thousand attend to the funeral of the Rabbi of Erlau (Rabbi Yochanan Sofer) Ezrat Torah neighborhood, Jerusalem on February 22, 2016, Rabbi Yochanan Sofer died tonight aged 93 in a hospital in Jerusalem.  (Credit: Flash90)
Thousand attend to the funeral of the Rabbi of Erlau (Rabbi Yochanan Sofer) Ezrat Torah neighborhood, Jerusalem on February 22, 2016, Rabbi Yochanan Sofer died tonight aged 93 in a hospital in Jerusalem.  (Credit: Flash90)Thousand attend to the funeral of the Rabbi of Erlau (Rabbi Yochanan Sofer) Ezrat Torah neighborhood, Jerusalem on February 22, 2016, Rabbi Yochanan Sofer died tonight aged 93 in a hospital in Jerusalem.  (Credit: Flash90)
Thousand attend to the funeral of the Rabbi of Erlau (Rabbi Yochanan Sofer) Ezrat Torah neighborhood, Jerusalem on February 22, 2016, Rabbi Yochanan Sofer died tonight aged 93 in a hospital in Jerusalem. (Credit: Flash90)Thousand attend to the funeral of the Rabbi of Erlau (Rabbi Yochanan Sofer) Ezrat Torah neighborhood, Jerusalem on February 22, 2016, Rabbi Yochanan Sofer died tonight aged 93 in a hospital in Jerusalem. (Credit: Flash90)
Ultra orthodox jews pray during the funeral of the Rabbi Erlau (Rabbi Yochanan Sofer) in Jerusalem on February 22, 2016, Rabbi Yochanan Sofer died tonight aged 93 in a hospital in Jerusalem. (Credit: Flash90)Ultra orthodox jews pray during the funeral of the Rabbi Erlau (Rabbi Yochanan Sofer) in Jerusalem on February 22, 2016, Rabbi Yochanan Sofer died tonight aged 93 in a hospital in Jerusalem. (Credit: Flash90)
Ultra orthodox jews pray during the funeral of the Rabbi Erlau (Rabbi Yochanan Sofer) in Jerusalem on February 22, 2016, Rabbi Yochanan Sofer died tonight aged 93 in a hospital in Jerusalem. (Credit: Flash90)Ultra orthodox jews pray during the funeral of the Rabbi Erlau (Rabbi Yochanan Sofer) in Jerusalem on February 22, 2016, Rabbi Yochanan Sofer died tonight aged 93 in a hospital in Jerusalem. (Credit: Flash90)
Ultra orthodox jews carry the body of Rabbi Erlau (Rabbi Yochanan Sofer) during his funeral in Jerusalem on February 22, 2016, Rabbi Yochanan Sofer died tonight aged 93 in a hospital in Jerusalem. (Credit: Flash90)Ultra orthodox jews carry the body of Rabbi Erlau (Rabbi Yochanan Sofer) during his funeral in Jerusalem on February 22, 2016, Rabbi Yochanan Sofer died tonight aged 93 in a hospital in Jerusalem. (Credit: Flash90)
An Ultra orthodox jewish man puts a plastic bag on his head to protect himself from the rain during the funeral of Rabbi Erlau (Rabbi Yochanan Sofer) in Jerusalem on February 22, 2016, Rabbi Yochanan Sofer died tonight aged 93 in a hospital in Jerusalem. (Credit: Flash90)An Ultra orthodox jewish man puts a plastic bag on his head to protect himself from the rain during the funeral of Rabbi Erlau (Rabbi Yochanan Sofer) in Jerusalem on February 22, 2016, Rabbi Yochanan Sofer died tonight aged 93 in a hospital in Jerusalem. (Credit: Flash90)
Thousand attend to the funeral of the Rabbi Erlau (Rabbi Yochanan Sofer) in Jerusalem on February 22, 2016, Rabbi Yochanan Sofer died tonight aged 93 in a hospital in Jerusalem. (Credit: Flash90)Thousand attend to the funeral of the Rabbi Erlau (Rabbi Yochanan Sofer) in Jerusalem on February 22, 2016, Rabbi Yochanan Sofer died tonight aged 93 in a hospital in Jerusalem. (Credit: Flash90)
Ultra orthodox jews pray during the funeral of the Rabbi Erlau (Rabbi Yochanan Sofer) in Jerusalem on February 22, 2016, Rabbi Yochanan Sofer died tonight aged 93 in a hospital in Jerusalem. (Credit: Flash90)Ultra orthodox jews pray during the funeral of the Rabbi Erlau (Rabbi Yochanan Sofer) in Jerusalem on February 22, 2016, Rabbi Yochanan Sofer died tonight aged 93 in a hospital in Jerusalem. (Credit: Flash90)
Thousand attend to the funeral of the Rabbi Erlau (Rabbi Yochanan Sofer) in Jerusalem on February 22, 2016, Rabbi Yochanan Sofer died tonight aged 93 in a hospital in Jerusalem. (Credit: Flash90)Thousand attend to the funeral of the Rabbi Erlau (Rabbi Yochanan Sofer) in Jerusalem on February 22, 2016, Rabbi Yochanan Sofer died tonight aged 93 in a hospital in Jerusalem. (Credit: Flash90)
Ultra orthodox jews carry the body of Rabbi Erlau (Rabbi Yochanan Sofer) during his funeral in Jerusalem on February 22, 2016, Rabbi Yochanan Sofer died tonight aged 93 in a hospital in Jerusalem. (Credit: Flash90)Ultra orthodox jews carry the body of Rabbi Erlau (Rabbi Yochanan Sofer) during his funeral in Jerusalem on February 22, 2016, Rabbi Yochanan Sofer died tonight aged 93 in a hospital in Jerusalem. (Credit: Flash90)
Thousand attend to the funeral of the Rabbi Erlau (Rabbi Yochanan Sofer) in Jerusalem on February 22, 2016, Rabbi Yochanan Sofer died tonight aged 93 in a hospital in Jerusalem. (Credit: Flash90)Thousand attend to the funeral of the Rabbi Erlau (Rabbi Yochanan Sofer) in Jerusalem on February 22, 2016, Rabbi Yochanan Sofer died tonight aged 93 in a hospital in Jerusalem. (Credit: Flash90)
Thousand attend to the funeral of the Rabbi Erlau (Rabbi Yochanan Sofer) in Jerusalem on February 22, 2016, Rabbi Yochanan Sofer died tonight aged 93 in a hospital in Jerusalem. (Credit: Flash90)Thousand attend to the funeral of the Rabbi Erlau (Rabbi Yochanan Sofer) in Jerusalem on February 22, 2016, Rabbi Yochanan Sofer died tonight aged 93 in a hospital in Jerusalem. (Credit: Flash90)
Thousand attend to the funeral of the Rabbi Erlau (Rabbi Yochanan Sofer) in Jerusalem on February 22, 2016, Rabbi Yochanan Sofer died tonight aged 93 in a hospital in Jerusalem. (Credit: Flash90)Thousand attend to the funeral of the Rabbi Erlau (Rabbi Yochanan Sofer) in Jerusalem on February 22, 2016, Rabbi Yochanan Sofer died tonight aged 93 in a hospital in Jerusalem. (Credit: Flash90)
Thousand attend to the funeral of the Rabbi Erlau (Rabbi Yochanan Sofer) in Jerusalem on February 22, 2016, Rabbi Yochanan Sofer died tonight aged 93 in a hospital in Jerusalem. (Credit: Flash90)Thousand attend to the funeral of the Rabbi Erlau (Rabbi Yochanan Sofer) in Jerusalem on February 22, 2016, Rabbi Yochanan Sofer died tonight aged 93 in a hospital in Jerusalem. (Credit: Flash90)
Thousand attend to the funeral of the Rabbi Erlau (Rabbi Yochanan Sofer) in Jerusalem on February 22, 2016, Rabbi Yochanan Sofer died tonight aged 93 in a hospital in Jerusalem. (Credit: Flash90)Thousand attend to the funeral of the Rabbi Erlau (Rabbi Yochanan Sofer) in Jerusalem on February 22, 2016, Rabbi Yochanan Sofer died tonight aged 93 in a hospital in Jerusalem. (Credit: Flash90)
Ultra-Orthodox Jewish men carry the body of Rabbi Yochanan Sofer, the spiritual leader of the Erlau dynasty, during his funeral in Jerusalem, February 22, 2016. Rabbi Yochanan Sofer, a Holocaust survivor, immigrated to Israel in the 1950 from Hungary and later founded the Erlau yeshiva, or Jewish seminary, in Jerusalem. He died in Jerusalem on Monday at the age of 92.  (Credit: Reuters)Ultra-Orthodox Jewish men carry the body of Rabbi Yochanan Sofer, the spiritual leader of the Erlau dynasty, during his funeral in Jerusalem, February 22, 2016. Rabbi Yochanan Sofer, a Holocaust survivor, immigrated to Israel in the 1950 from Hungary and later founded the Erlau yeshiva, or Jewish seminary, in Jerusalem. He died in Jerusalem on Monday at the age of 92.  (Credit: Reuters)
An ultra-Orthodox Jewish boy wears a plastic bag over his hat as it rains during the funeral of Rabbi Yochanan Sofer, the spiritual leader of the Erlau dynasty in Jerusalem, February 22, 2016. Rabbi Yochanan Sofer, a Holocaust survivor, immigrated to Israel in the 1950 from Hungary and later founded the Erlau yeshiva, or Jewish seminary, in Jerusalem. He died in Jerusalem on Monday at the age of 92.  (Credit: Reuters)An ultra-Orthodox Jewish boy wears a plastic bag over his hat as it rains during the funeral of Rabbi Yochanan Sofer, the spiritual leader of the Erlau dynasty in Jerusalem, February 22, 2016. Rabbi Yochanan Sofer, a Holocaust survivor, immigrated to Israel in the 1950 from Hungary and later founded the Erlau yeshiva, or Jewish seminary, in Jerusalem. He died in Jerusalem on Monday at the age of 92.  (Credit: Reuters)
An ultra-Orthodox Jewish man attends the funeral of Rabbi Yochanan Sofer, the spiritual leader of the Erlau dynasty in Jerusalem, February 22, 2016. Rabbi Yochanan Sofer, a Holocaust survivor, immigrated to Israel in the 1950 from Hungary and later founded the Erlau yeshiva, or Jewish seminary, in Jerusalem. He died in Jerusalem on Monday at the age of 92.  (Credit: Reuters)An ultra-Orthodox Jewish man attends the funeral of Rabbi Yochanan Sofer, the spiritual leader of the Erlau dynasty in Jerusalem, February 22, 2016. Rabbi Yochanan Sofer, a Holocaust survivor, immigrated to Israel in the 1950 from Hungary and later founded the Erlau yeshiva, or Jewish seminary, in Jerusalem. He died in Jerusalem on Monday at the age of 92.  (Credit: Reuters)
Ultra-Orthodox Jewish men carry the body of Rabbi Yochanan Sofer, the spiritual leader of the Erlau dynasty, during his funeral in Jerusalem, February 22, 2016. Rabbi Yochanan Sofer, a Holocaust survivor, immigrated to Israel in the 1950 from Hungary and later founded the Erlau yeshiva, or Jewish seminary, in Jerusalem. He died in Jerusalem on Monday at the age of 92.  (Credit: Reuters)Ultra-Orthodox Jewish men carry the body of Rabbi Yochanan Sofer, the spiritual leader of the Erlau dynasty, during his funeral in Jerusalem, February 22, 2016. Rabbi Yochanan Sofer, a Holocaust survivor, immigrated to Israel in the 1950 from Hungary and later founded the Erlau yeshiva, or Jewish seminary, in Jerusalem. He died in Jerusalem on Monday at the age of 92.  (Credit: Reuters)
Ultra-Orthodox Jewish men gather near the body of Rabbi Yochanan Sofer, the spiritual leader of the Erlau dynasty, during his funeral in Jerusalem, February 22, 2016. Rabbi Yochanan Sofer, a Holocaust survivor, immigrated to Israel in the 1950 from Hungary and later founded the Erlau yeshiva, or Jewish seminary, in Jerusalem. He died in Jerusalem on Monday at the age of 92.  (Credit: Reuters)Ultra-Orthodox Jewish men gather near the body of Rabbi Yochanan Sofer, the spiritual leader of the Erlau dynasty, during his funeral in Jerusalem, February 22, 2016. Rabbi Yochanan Sofer, a Holocaust survivor, immigrated to Israel in the 1950 from Hungary and later founded the Erlau yeshiva, or Jewish seminary, in Jerusalem. He died in Jerusalem on Monday at the age of 92.  (Credit: Reuters)
An ultra-Orthodox Jewish man places a candle beside the body of Rabbi Yochanan Sofer, the spiritual leader of the Erlau dynasty, during his funeral in Jerusalem, February 22, 2016. Rabbi Yochanan Sofer, a Holocaust survivor, immigrated to Israel in the 1950 from Hungary and later founded the Erlau yeshiva, or Jewish seminary, in Jerusalem. He died in Jerusalem on Monday at the age of 92.  (Credit: Reuters)An ultra-Orthodox Jewish man places a candle beside the body of Rabbi Yochanan Sofer, the spiritual leader of the Erlau dynasty, during his funeral in Jerusalem, February 22, 2016. Rabbi Yochanan Sofer, a Holocaust survivor, immigrated to Israel in the 1950 from Hungary and later founded the Erlau yeshiva, or Jewish seminary, in Jerusalem. He died in Jerusalem on Monday at the age of 92.  (Credit: Reuters)
Ultra-Orthodox Jewish men pray near the body of Rabbi Yochanan Sofer, the spiritual leader of the Erlau dynasty, during his funeral in Jerusalem, February 22, 2016. Rabbi Yochanan Sofer, a Holocaust survivor, immigrated to Israel in the 1950 from Hungary and later founded the Erlau yeshiva, or Jewish seminary, in Jerusalem. He died in Jerusalem on Monday at the age of 92.  (Credit: Reuters)Ultra-Orthodox Jewish men pray near the body of Rabbi Yochanan Sofer, the spiritual leader of the Erlau dynasty, during his funeral in Jerusalem, February 22, 2016. Rabbi Yochanan Sofer, a Holocaust survivor, immigrated to Israel in the 1950 from Hungary and later founded the Erlau yeshiva, or Jewish seminary, in Jerusalem. He died in Jerusalem on Monday at the age of 92.  (Credit: Reuters)

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Read Comments (2)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Feb 22, 2016 at 03:47 PM amerikaner Says:

Yehi Zichro BURECH

A TRUE TZADIK

2

 Feb 22, 2016 at 07:08 PM hashomer Says:

Respectfully I ask, are the Erlauers anti-zionist or pro-zionist? The article says Reb Sofer told his followers to leave Hungaria and go up to Israel. So do they have a theology that supports Israel? If so, why can't the Satmar learn that theology?

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