Auction 92 Part 1 Rare and Important Items

Leaf Handwritten by Rabbi Shlomo Eger – Draft Letter to His Father Rabbi Akiva Eger and Torah Novellae – Warsaw, 1807

Opening: $1,000
Estimate: $3,000 - $4,000
Sold for: $2,250
Including buyer's premium

Leaf handwritten by R. Shlomo Eger, containing notes of Torah novellae and a draft letter. Warsaw, 1807.
Leaf handwritten by R. Shlomo Eger, with additions and deletions.
The leaf begins with an interesting draft letter addressed to his father R. Akiva Eger, dated 28th Tammuz (August 3) 1807, in which he reports on military and political events taking place in Warsaw, with the retreat of the Prussian and French forces in preparation for the creation of the Duchy of Warsaw (following the Treaty of Tilsit, signed in July 1807 – see below).
Further in the letter, R. Shlomo adds information about rabbis and philanthropists in Poland, mentions a wedding to take place on 24th Av, and relates about a certain rabbi who had come to Warsaw to publish his book.
The rest of the leaf and the verso contain drafts of Torah novellae on Tractate Gittin. Inscription in a different hand: "Copied". A different date is mentioned between the lines (presumably relating to that particular note): "Sunday Parashat Behar 1807".
The writings of R. Shlomo Eger were published in "Responsa of R. Shlomo Eger – Rulings and Writings" (published by Mosad HaRav Kook, Jerusalem, 1983-1985), based on a manuscript copying produced by his son R. Yisrael Eger and his descendants (who presumably marked this leaf as "copied"). The present novellae were published based on these copyings in Responsa of R. Shlomo Eger (part II, Writings, section 13). The printed version contains several errors which can be corrected based on the present manuscript, such as missing characters and words, and even the omission of an entire line (21 words). In the printed book, the editor quotes the copyist, who wrote at the foot of the copying: "The letter is addressed to his father R. Akiva Eger, yet from the contents of the letter, it appears that it is not so…". In fact, from the present original manuscript, it appears that the Torah novellae are not a direct continuation of the draft letter at the beginning of the leaf.
R. Shlomo Eger (1785-1852), leading Torah scholar of his times, second son of R. Akiva Eger (and brother-in-law of the Chatam Sofer). His illustrious father held him in high esteem, as he praises him in a letter to R. Yaakov Gezundheit: "G-d granted me a son of great stature like a cedar" (Responsa and Novellae of R. Akiva Eger, Jerusalem 1947, section 22). In ca. 1801, he married Rebbetzin Rivka Golda, daughter of the wealthy Hirschsohn family of Warsaw, and settled there. In his father-in-law's home, R. Shlomo continued applying himself to his Torah studies, and became one of the most prominent and wealthiest Torah scholars of Warsaw. After he lost his fortune in the Polish revolution of 1831 (which he supported together with the Torah leaders of Poland, R. Chaim Davidson and R. Berish Meisels), he was appointed as rabbi of Kalisch. In 1840, he succeeded his father as rabbi of Posen. He edited and published his father's responsa and novellae, and included some of his own novellae. His writings were also published in the books Gilyon Maharsha on the Talmud and Shulchan Aruch; Responsa of R. Shlomo Eger, two parts, published by Mosad HaRav Kook (Jerusalem, 1983-1985) and Sefer HaIkkarim, two parts (Jerusalem, 1991-1996).


[1] leaf, written on both sides. Approx. 23.5 cm. Fair-good condition. Stains. Wear and some open tears. Marginal paper repairs.


The Establishment of the Duchy of Warsaw in July 1807, Following the Treaties of Tilsit – Contemporary Jewish Report
The present draft letter was written in Warsaw on August 3, 1807. About a month earlier, on July 7 and July 9, two agreements (the treaties of Tilsit) were signed between the French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte, the Russian Emperor Alexander I, and the King of Prussia Frederick William III. As part of these agreements, the Kingdom of Prussia had to relinquish almost all the Polish territory it had annexed during the Second and Third Partitions of Poland in the late 18th century; Napoleon Bonaparte then created the Duchy of Warsaw, a protectorate of France, on this territory. Napoleon appointed his ally, King Frederick Augustus I of Saxony (grandson of Augustus III king of Poland), as its ruler. Two weeks later, in Dresden on 22 July 1807, Napoleon divided the Duchy of Warsaw into several administrative regions, which would be managed by the Senate and the Council of State. The Duchy of Warsaw only lasted for a few years; following Napoleon's downfall, it was handed over to the Russian Empire at the congress of Vienna in 1815.
The present letter was written by R. Shlomo Eger, who was living in Warsaw at the time, to his father R. Akiva Eger, who served then as rabbi of Märkisch Friedland (presently Mirosławiec, Poland, West Pomerania).
In this letter, dated early August 1807, R. Shlomo Eger reports on these historic events as they were taking place, shortly after the retreat of the victorious French forces and the defeated Prussian forces from Polish territory, and several days before the King of Saxony and his troops entered Warsaw, capital of the Duchy.
R. Shlomo Eger informs his father that the Prussian and French troops had left, and that the King of Saxony was due to arrive on the 15th. He also mentions that the "vice king" would be Polish, that the seven ministers who would be ruling Poland were still in Dresden, and that the famous Marshal Davout was currently in the Duchy.
The letter indicates that the seven ministers appointed in Dresden had not yet reached Warsaw at the beginning of August. As R. Shlomo informed his father, the "vice king" was indeed a Polish noble and not one of the king's men from Saxony (in October 1807, the Polish noble Stanisław Małachowski was appointed president of the Council of State and head of the council of the Duchy of Warsaw, and in December 1807, Małachowski was appointed president of the Senate).

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