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Imagine someone traveling in the desert who finds an immense treasure. Although he fills his sack and his pockets with as much gold and precious gems as he can carry, he is dismayed that he has to leave so much behind. As he turns to go, he is upset to see that he hasn’t even made a dent in the treasure. But he has no choice. He can’t carry any more.
With this parable, Rav Akiva Eiger, zt”l, the Chasam Sofer’s renowned father-in-law, explains the pasuk"I rejoice over Your word as one who finds great spoils” (Tehillim 119:162). We can apply the same message to his sonin- law's teachings. Whatever Torah we might glean from them, it’s but a drop in the ocean, a small dent in the immense treasure of knowledge that the Chasam Sofer possessed.
The Chasam Sofer, rav and rosh yeshivah of Pressberg, was renowned for his brilliance. His knowledge encompassed every area of the Torah: both halachah and aggadah, both the revealed and the hidden. He also taught thousands of talmidim, many of whom became great talmidei chachamim and leaders of Klal Yisrael in their own right.
And he was an exemplary leader whose influence was widespread. As Rav Akiva Eiger told his daughter, "The king may rule over this land, but your husband rules over the entire world: people from every corner of the globe look to him for psak halachah!” The Chasam Sofer received and answered questions, not only from Poland, Russia, and Eretz Yisrael, but even countries in the East turned to him with their shailos.
The Chasam Sofer Pesach Haggadah was compiled from stories, meshalim, and divrei Torahfrom his many sefarim, from the sefarim of his talmidim, and from a selection of biographies. They provide a picture of a gadol who was both brilliant in his scholarship and a great leader of Klal Yisrael, fighting to preserve the fabric of the Torah way of life during the so-called Age of Enlightenment.
Enhance your Seder table with teachings and stories about the Chasam Sofer and his talmidim. Though the treasure was endlessly vast, we can all benefit from the brilliant gems that he left behind.by Rabbi Shalom Meir Wallach
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