Auction 42 - Rare and Important Items

Kedushat Levi, by Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berdychiv – Slavita, 1798 – First Edition Printed During the Author's Life – Impressive Copy on Bluish Paper

Opening: $50,000
Sold for: $95,000
Including buyer's premium
Kedushat Levi, Chassidic articles. Slavita, 1798. First edition, printed by the author.
Articles on Chanuka and Purim (the chapters of the articles are called Kedushot), explanations on the Agaddot of Savi D'Vei Atuna, and other compilations [novellae on the Talmud by the author's father and son].
Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berdychiv (1740-1810, Encyclopedia L'Chassidut 3, pp. 17-23), one of the most glorious figures of the Chassidic movement who was famous by his cognomen "Advocate of the Jewish people". According to Chassidic lore, at Rabbi Levi Yitzchak's birth, the Ba'al Shem Tov offered his disciples to drink "lechaim" saying that a great soul has entered this world whose future task is to be an advocate for the Jewish people. He was born to his father Rabbi Meir Av Beit Din of Husakiv (Ukraine) a descendent of the Maharsha and a scion of the ancient dynasty of 36 rabbis. In his youth, he lived in the city of Lubartów and studied with the author of the Pri Megadim. At that time, he met Rebbe Shmelke of Nikolsburg who influenced him to become a Chassid and to travel to the illustrious Magid of Mezritch. From a very young age, Rabbi Levi Yitzchak served in the rabbinate of several communities (Ryczywół, Żelechów, Pinsk). In some places, he was pursued by the Mitnagdim because he was associated with the Chassidic movement. From 1785, he began to serve as the Rabbi of the city of Berdychiv, where he established an important Chassidic center and taught Torah to a multitude of disciples. In Berdychiv, he became famous as one of the foremost Chassidic leaders of his generation and was active until his death. Besides his piety and Torah knowledge, he was known as a symbol of Ahavat Yisrael (love of his fellow Jew) and as an advocate for all Jews including the sinners and offenders. Dozens of stories are told of his justification of every Jew in any state. These tales became inalienable assets of Chassidic lore and are the source of Rabbi Levi Yitzchak's cognomen "Advocate of the Jewish people". The tsaddikim of his generation greatly revered and acclaimed him. Rabbi Shmelke of Nikolsburg called him "my disciple in revealed Torah and my teacher and rabbi of the hidden (parts of the Torah)" and he used to say that even Rabbi Levi Yitzchak's mundane conversations were full of Torah secrets and yichudim. The Chozeh of Lublin said that he sets aside one hour each day to thank G-d for sending a soul like Rabbi Levi Yitzchak to this world and at Rabbi Levi Yitzchak's death, Rabbi Nachman of Breslov alleged that the light of the world was extinguished and darkness had ensued. Rabbi Levi Yitzchak's poems and prayers are well-known including his prayer G-t Fun Avraham which many recite every Motzei Shabbat.
This is the first edition of the book Kedushat Levi printed by Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berdychiv himself. The book is named after the articles of Kedushot on Chanuka and
Purim which constitute the main part of the book. In 1806, the book was reprinted in this format in Zolkva during the author’s life.
Approximately one year after Rabbi Levi Yitzchak’s death, his sons and grandsons published another edition of the book and added novellae on the weekly portions of the Torah from writings left by the author (Berdychiv 1811). Thereafter, the book has been reprinted in many enlarged editions. Later, a commentary on Pirkei Avot which was found in the estate of the Magid of Kozhnitz was printed as a third part of the book.
According to the tradition handed down among Breslov Chassidim, some of Kedushot on Chanuka and Purim of this work were written by the Tsaddik Rebbe Natan of Nemirov, the famous disciple of Rebbe Nachman of Breslov at the time Rebbe Natan studied from Rabbi Levi Yitzchak in Berdychiv. The style of the Kedushot are discernable by their length and their style of writing which are different from some of the articles on the Torah.
Torah scholars and tsaddikim testify that the segula of the book Kedushat Levi is very profound and it has the power to influence the reader with fervor and devotion of love and fear of G-d. They also say that just possessing the book eliminates harsh judgments and constitutes a protection from harmful elements. Rebbe Avraham Yehoshua Heshel – the Rabbi of Apta [in his approbation on the Berdychiv edition 1815] writes: “And certainly the merit of the author and the holiness of these books will provide protection and shelter wherever they will be…”. Similar inferences were written by Rabbi Aharon of Zhitomir in his approbation of this edition. The rabbis of Mukacheve [in their approbation to the Mukacheve edition 1939] wrote: “It is known and accepted by the tsaddikim of each generation that the holy book Kedushat Levi has the segula to sweeten any harsh decrees or judgements”.
A complete copy on bluish paper. 30, 22 leaves. 19 cm. Good-very good condition. High-quality paper, whole leaves. Spotting. Tiny worm holes on the title page and on several leaves, several tears. Pasted on the title page is a strip of paper stamped with the censor’s authorization. New elaborate leather binding.
Stefansky Chassidut, no. 507.
Rare and Important Items