The Hatam Sofer and the Land of Israel

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Abstract

Scholarly assessments of Rabbi Moses Sofer (known as the Hatam Sofer) and his position on immigration to the Land of Israel have varied widely. Many scholars have called attention to his negation of the Diaspora and some, such as Ben Zion Dinur, have claimed that Sofer’s teachings led to the beginning of the Jewish national awakening. Owing to the wide-ranging nature of Sofer’s thought and writings, and to changing conditions in the Jewish community and beyond, both Religious Zionists and the anti-Zionist Ultra-Orthodox have relied on his teachings to support their positions. Drawing on a wide array of sources, including sermons, biblical commentaries, correspondence, and rabbinic responsa, this essay analyzes Sofer’s views against the backdrop of his struggles against the religious reform movement and his efforts to strengthen traditional religious observance in response to the challenges of modernity in the nineteenth century.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)437-459
Number of pages23
JournalJewish History
Volume33
Issue number3-4
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2020

Keywords

  • Hatam Sofer
  • Land of Israel
  • Orthodox Judaism
  • Reform movement
  • Ultra-Orthodoxy
  • Zionism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • History

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