Ask about this item

Lot 11

Halachic Responsum Handwritten and Signed by Chacham Tzvi – Apta, 1716

Handwritten leaf, autograph of the Chacham Tzvi, signed "Tzviash" (acronym of Tzvi ben Yaakov Ashkenazi). Apta (Opatów), 1716.
Halachic responsum pertaining to laws of a Chametz mixture which was owned by a Jew over Passover. The first few lines containing a preliminary version of this responsum were crossed out, and the final version was written between the lines. This responsum was published in the responsa book by his son, Divrei Rav Meshulam (Korets, 1783), section 9, amongst responsa copied from a manuscript of Chacham Tzvi Ashkenazi, and was printed based on that, with a few errors, in the Tosafot Chadashim section of Responsa Chacham Tzvi, section 33 and in the new edition of Responsa Chacham Tzvi (with Likutei He'arot, Jerusalem, 2000) part II, section 79.
R. Tzvi Ashkenazi – the Chacham Tzvi (1658-1718) was a foremost Torah scholar of his times, leading Halachic authority and holy kabbalist (on his tombstone in Lviv, his son the Yaavetz engraved the epitaph: "Unique in his generation… the great and pious Torah scholar… great and awe-inspiring Kabbalist"). He was born in Alt-Ofen (Óbuda, Budapest) to parents who fled Vilna in the wake of the Chmielnicki massacres. He studied under his grandfather, the Shaar Efraim, and under R. Eliyahu Cobo, a Torah scholar of Salonika. From there, he went to study under Turkish Torah scholars, who ordained him Chacham, and was since known as Chacham Tzvi. He served as rabbi of Sarajevo, Altona and Hamburg. In 1710, he was appointed rabbi of Amsterdam, where he published his book Responsa of Chacham Tzvi (Amsterdam, 1712). In 1714, following his opposition to the Sabbatean Nechemia Hayun, he was compelled to leave Amsterdam and flee to London. The Sephardi community in London wished to appoint him Chief Rabbi, but he preferred to continue to Poland, which he reached by travelling through Hanover, Berlin, Breslau and Apta. In 1717, he was appointed rabbi of Lemberg (Lviv). His biography was published in the book Megillat Sefer composed by his son the Yaavetz (acronym of Yaakov ben Tzvi)
His descendants include: His son R. Yaakov Emden – the Yaavetz, who dedicated his life to perpetuate his father's battle against Sabbateanism; his son-in-law R. Aryeh Leib Rabbi of Amsterdam, his son R. Efraim of Brody, his son R. Meshulam Zalman of Ostroh (author of Divrei Rav Meshulam), and others. Many prominent Torah scholars and Chassidic leaders claim descendance of the Chacham Tzvi, and many of them mention it in their books: R. Yosef Shaul Nathansohn (who cites "my grandfather Chacham Tzvi" in dozens of places in his responsa Shoel UMeishiv), R. Simcha Zissel Ziv-Broide the Saba of Kelm (see: Chochma UMussar, I, p. 57), R. Chaim of Sanz (who mentions his grandfather Chacham Tzvi in many places in his books Divrei Chaim). The tombstone of the Divrei Chaim mentions his lineage: "of holy descent of the Maharshal and Chacham Tzvi" (a tradition of Sanz Chassidim attests to the great Segula of mentioning their ancestor Chacham Tzvi on their tombstone).
[1] leaf. 30.5 cm. Approx. 35 handwritten lines and signature (the signature appears in the center of the page). Thick, high-quality paper. Very good condition.