“Yochanan Sofer (January 1, 1923 – February 22, 2016) was the Rebbe of the Erlau dynasty, which though not the largest in the number of its adherents is still a significant movement within Haredi Judaism. He was born in Eger (German: Erlau), Hungary, where his father and grandfather served as Grand Rabbis. After surviving the Holocaust, he continued their legacy by founding a yeshiva and a movement in their name, first in Hungary and then a few years later in Jerusalem.”
Sofer was a great-great-grandson of Rabbi Moses Sofer (1762–1839), known as the Chasam Sofer. The Chasam Sofer was the Rav of Pressburg (present-day Bratislava) and the leading rabbinical figure of Orthodox Judaism in the Austrian Empire, as well as one of the greatest Talmudic scholars of his time.
The Chasam Sofer was succeeded as the rabbi of Pressburg by his son, Rabbi Samuel Benjamin Sofer (1815 – 1872), known as the Ksav Sofer. The Ksav Sofer had 10 children — 6 sons and 4 daughters. One of the sons, Rabbi Shimon Sofer, was born in 1850.
In 1881, Rabbi Shimon was appointed rabbi of the Hungarian city of Erlau (Eger). There he founded a large yeshiva, attended by elite Torah scholars from throughout Hungary. This yeshiva became a foundation of the Erlau dynasty, a branch and direct link to the philosophy and teachings of Rabbi Shimon’s grandfather, the Chasam Sofer.
As Rabbi Shimon aged, he appointed his son, Rabbi Moshe Sofer (author of Yad Sofer) to be the active rabbi and dayan of Erlau. Rabbi Shimon continued to be referred to by his congregation with the revered and affectionate title of “Rebbe”.
Rabbi Shimon led the Jewish community in Eger for some 64 years. He and his community were deported to Auschwitz by the Nazis in 1944. Soon thereafter, at the age of 94, Rabbi Shimon was murdered by the Nazis together with his son, Rabbi Moses Sofer, and many others from the city of Eger.
The Chasam Sofer wittingly stated “Chadash Assur Min HaTorah” with the Reform movement. It’s clear that his Einiklach didn’t see this apply with reinstituting the mitzva of Techeiles in today’s times.