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Sofer, Ḥayyim ben Mordecai Ephraim Fischel

SOFER, ḤAYYIM BEN MORDECAI EPHRAIM FISCHEL (1821–1886), Hungarian rabbi. An outstanding pupil of Ḥatam Sofer in Pressburg and of Meir Eisenstaedter in Ungvar, Ḥayyim was appointed head of the yeshivah at Mattersdorf in 1844. He served as rabbi of Győmrő in 1852, of Sajoszentpeter in 1859, and of Munkacs in 1867. Persecuted by the Ḥasidim despite his religious extremism, he left Munkacs in 1880 and was appointed the chief rabbi of the Orthodox community in Pest. He was one of the leading extreme Orthodox rabbis in Hungary, a signatory of "the infamous excommunication" of the maskilim in Michalovce, and a central figure of the Shomerei ha-Dat organization. He demanded that adherents of the Reform movement be excommunicated and that their sons be refused circumcision.

He was the author of the following works: Peles Ḥayyim (1854), novellae on the first chapter of Gittin; Maḥaneh Ḥayyim (1879–85), responsa arranged according to the order of the Shulḥan Arukh; Sha'arei Ḥayyim (1869), admonitions against the Reformers; Kol Sofer (2 pts., 1881–82), on the Mishnah; and Sha'arei Ḥayyim (1892), a commentary on Psalms.


A. Stern, Meliẓei Esh al Ḥodesh Sivan (n.d.), 1179; S. Weingarten, in: Arim ve-Immahot be-Yisrael, 1 (1946), 3535; A. Fuerst, ibid., 2 (1948), 162; J.Z. Sofer, Toledot Soferim (1963).

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2007 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.