Online Auction 44 - Chabad

A Special Chabad Auction on the Occasion of "Yom HaBahir", Yud (the 10th of) Shevat – Day of Passing of the Rebbe Rayatz, and Day of the Ascendancy to Leadership of the Lubavitcher Rebbe"

Copper Fire Prevention Pail Which Stood in the Lubavitch Courtyard

Opening: $300
Sold for: $525
Including buyer's premium

Large wide and low tub made of copper. With handle.
Letter of authenticity enclosed (handwritten note, in English), signed in Hebrew by Rebbetzin Chana Gurary (1899-1991), eldest daughter of Rebbe Rayatz of Lubavitch: "I hereby gift… the copper fire prevention pale[!] made of copper that my grandfather had in the courtyard. In Lubavitch there was always fear of fire. Horses stood ready in the Droshka in case a fire broke out. Before leaving Lubavitch my grandfather the Rashab told me to take some items to remember Lubavitch. I took one of the water pales of copper". Dated – 14th February 1990.

Fires in Lubavitch
As was prevalent in those times and places, every so often large fires would erupt, destroying the wooden houses with thatched roofs. In Lubavitch as well, several such large fires broke out over the years. The most famous of them was the fire which occurred in Elul 1856, in the times of the Tzemach Tzedek. The fire destroyed most of the houses, including the rebbe's court and the homes of the Tzemach Tzedek and his sons. Many precious books and tens of thousands of manuscript leaves of the Tzemach Tzedek were consumed. Another famous fire occurred in Liadi in 1810, in the times of the Baal HaTanya. The fire caused extensive damage to property, but most tragically, it destroyed many manuscripts of the Baal HaTanya, including most of the manuscript of his Shulchan Aruch. Other fires broke out in Lubavitch in the times of the Maharash and his son Rebbe Rashab.
Throughout his life, Rebbe Rashab guarded his books and writings with extreme precaution, as he once wrote: "The books and manuscripts are literally the life of my soul". The Rashab himself arranged thousands of books in the bookcases of the library in Lubavitch, considering them the inalienable assets of the entire Jewry. Whenever he travelled, he would give over the responsibility of guarding the writings to his son the Rayatz, accompanied with many instructions and warnings.
The rebbes of Chabad took various precautions over the years to protect the precious books and manuscripts, including horses which stood ready for immediate travel, storing the manuscripts in metal-lined suitcases, and more.

As Rebbetzin Chana Gurary described during the "Seforim Case":
"The kisovim are sacrosanct to the family, my grandfather [the Rashab] and my father [the Rayatz] sacrificed very much for the kisovim. They used to take them along with them summertime on vacation, and put them in boxes with metal inside. The boys used to follow and watch it. They used to take it along in the summertime on vacation when they went away for three months… When my father was arrested and imprisoned he said you must save lives and the Kisovim. Nothing alse mattered to him... Kisovim should remain with the family. Even my great-grandfather [the Maharash], then, they were burning the towns around, had horses ready 24 hours around the clock in case it would be necessary to flee to save the kisovim" (from the examination protocols).
Her son R. Shalom Dov Ber (Barry) Gurary also spoke similarly in a video interview he held in 1997. He describes the difficult days he and his family spent in Warsaw under German bombardment, the care his grandfather Rebbe Rayatz took to protect his precious manuscripts, and how they protected them from fires in Lubavitch: "The reason they were always packed [the manuscripts] in an attaché case, is that in the years that he remembered and that I remember, house fire were not so uncommon. So very precious things used to be kept always ready to move. In fact, in Lubavitch, I remember being told that there were periods when they had the horses in the droshky, arranged so that the horses were put into their proper place in the droshky, so that one could ride, drive away quickly. So one could take away some of the very important things out of a fire" (interview).

Maximal diameter: 31 cm. Good condition. Bends and abrasions.

"Items and Objects of "Beis Rabbe