Boruch Dayan Emes: World’s Top Sofer, Rav Menachem Davidovitch zt”l Passes Away


By Rabbi Yair Hoffman for the Five Towns Jewish Times

The Five Towns Jewish Times sadly reports the passing of Klal Yisroel’s greatest Sofer Stam, Rav Menachem HaKohain Davidovitch zt”l. He was known as the Avi HaSofrei Stam. Rav Davidovich was approximately 85 years old. He was a Chassid of Toldos Avrohom Yitzchok. The current Rebbe is HaRav Avrohom Yitzchok Cohen in Meah She’arim.

The current method of writing that virtually all Sofrim now use was promulgated by him. There is a very terse Bais Yoseph that describes how the letter Pay is written – that there is a chof inside of it. For centuries, no one wrote the Pay in the manner that Rav Karo had meant. It was Rav Davidovitch that figured out that the Pay should be written with a solid back outside rather than a broken one. He presented his findings to Rav Yitzchok Weiss zt”l, the author of the Minchas Yitzchok and the Gaavad of the Eidah Chareidis.

Rav Weiss declared Rav Davidovich’s re-discovery correct and since then virtually all Sofrim make the Pay in this method. We no longer write it like the Mishna Brurah recommends.

There are other halachos that he had promulgated. His explanations and illustrations of when a letter has become invalid have been accepted by every religious Jewish community – from litvish to Chassidish.

Six months ago, Rav Davidovich was hospitalized with a stroke at Hadassah Ein Kerem. He went to rehab in Hadassah Har HaTzofim. He was unable to communicate but he was able to respond with yes and no. He had a fall a few weeks ago. He passed away on Friday night.

Avrohom Gutman a sofer from Ramat Beit Shemesh would go to him for continuing education in Safrus, as did many others.

The Sefer of his rulings is called Minchas HaSofer. It came out in 5775. He would give shiurim every Tuesday night at the Puppa Shtiebel in Batei Ungarim.

He lived on Avinoam Yeled mispar 8, in Geulah (corner of Yechezkel and Yoel) next to the Satmar Shtiebel – where they are sitting Shiva.

When he had kidney problems he took it upon himself to say additional shiurim on Rechov Chazon Ish in Beit Shemesh.

He made sure never to miss shiurim, even if he had a wedding of a grandchild. The shiur was always between eight and nine p.m. In Beit Shemesh the shiur began between 8:30 and 9:00 PM.
He was completely open about sharing his knowledge with others.

He is buried in Har HaZeisim, near his grandmother (Rebbitzen Hess).

The levaya took place at 1:00 AM. Rav Ulman of Givat Shaul from the Eida Chareidis spoke at the Levaya. Rav Roth, his son-law, also spoke. The Maspidim said that he was Moiser nefesh all the years for Safrus. He was very close to Rav Doshinsky. He was also close to the Divrei Emunah. He wrote him a sefer Torah but refused to take money for it. Rav Aharon Samet from the Avrohom Yitzchok Kehilla also was Maspid.

Rav Davidovich passed away on the 23rd of Sivan. One of the maspidim cited the pasuk, in Esther 8:9 – On the 23rd of Sivan they called the SOfrei HaMelech. In Kaballah it is brought down that whenever the word Melech is used in the Megillah it also refers to Hashem. He most certainly was one of the Sofrim of Hashem. His legacy will endure for the ages.

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  1. ???
    Looks like a big mixup happened here. First, the beis yosef says to make a beis inside the peh, not a chof. Second, it is the mishnah berurah that brings down the sefer kesuvah tamah who says that the back of the peh should be unbroken, contrary to the way it was always written, thou Rabbi Hofman is somewhat right because the new peh became the norm due to the fact that Rabbi Dovadovitz zatza”l was the teacher of most sofrim. But luckly a lot of sofrim today whent back to the original peh, for reasons that I’m not going write here for they don’t belong on this platform.
    But overall thanks again for another great article!