Auction 63 - Rare and Important Items

Letter of Appointment to Emissary Rabbi Yitzchak Zerachya Azulai, Chida's Father – Jerusalem, 1741 – Signed by Leading Jerusalemite Sages, Including the Signature of the Author of Chazon Nachum, Author of Admat Kodesh, Author of Chut HaMeshulash, Author of Pri HaAretz and Author of Pri HaAdamah

Opening: $10,000
Estimate: $15,000 - $20,000
Emissary letter, addressed to the sages and dignitaries of the Padua community in Italy, appointing R. Avraham ibn Asher and R. Yitzchak Zerachya Azulai as emissaries to Italy and to Western Europe on behalf of the Jerusalem community, signed by Jerusalemite sages. Jerusalem, [1741].
Charming scribal writing, calligraphic signatures of Jerusalemite sages. Signed first by the Rishon L'Zion, R. "Eliezer Nachum", author of Chazon Nachum [1662-1745, renowned rabbi and head of yeshiva in Turkey, immigrated to Eretz Israel and was appointed Rabbi of Jerusalem after the passing of R. Binyamin HaCohen Ma'ali]. Following his signature are signatures of the members of his Beit Din: R. "Nissim Chaim Moshe Mizrachi", author of Admat Kodesh (ca. 1690-1749, Rishon L'Zion after R. Eliezer Nachum), R. "Ye'uda son of R. Amram Diwan", author of Chut HaMeshulash [died ca. 1752], R. "Yisrael Meir son of R. Yosef Mizrachi", author of Pri HaAretz [died after 1749, brother of R. Nissim Chaim Moshe Mizrachi. Head of the Beit Ya'akov Yeshiva], R. "David Yekutiel HaCohen", R. "Yitzchak Aruch", R. "Ya'akov Ashkenazi" and R. "Meyuchas Bachar Shmuel", author of Pri HaAdamah and Mizbach Adamah [1695-1771, served as Rishon L'Zion after the passing of R. Ya'akov Yisrael Algazi].
The letter is addressed to "Our brothers… in the city of Padua…" and describes at length the troubles and suffering of the Jerusalem community. The sages appoint R. Avraham ibn Asher and R. Yitzchak Zerachya Azulai to collect funds from the Padua Jewish community to support the settlement in Jerusalem. Inscribed on the verso - "For the cherished community in the city of Padua…".
R. Yitzchak Zerachya Azulai (1702-1765), for whom this emissary letter was written, was a leading Jerusalemite sage and Kabbalist and member of the Beit Ya'akov Beit Midrash. Together with his brother-in-law, R. Yonah Navon, he headed the Gedulat Mordechai Yeshiva founded by the notable Mordechai Talok. Having served as dayan in prominent Batei Din in Jerusalem, his signature appears on Jerusalem's regulations. The famous Chida was his eldest son and he often cites his father in his works. R. Yitzchak Zerachya was the first of the glorious four-generation dynasty of emissaries who travelled to foreign countries collecting funds on behalf of communities in Eretz Israel. His son, the Chida, was a famous emissary, as were his grandsons, R. Avraham Azulai and R. Refael Yeshaya Azulai (the Chida's sons), and R. Rafael Yeshaya's grandson, R. Yehuda Zerachya Azulai.
R. Zerachya's companion was R. Avraham ibn Asher (died in 1772), ra'avad of Jerusalem, head of the Yefa'er Anavim Yeshiva. In 1771 (after the passing of R. Meyuchas Bachar Shmuel, who signed this letter), he was appointed Rishon L'Zion and Rabbi of Jerusalem, but died one year later in an epidemic. Already in 1734, he traveled as Jerusalem's emissary, and reaching Constantinople printed his book Sha'arei Kedusha by R. Chaim Vital which he copied from a manuscript in Egypt. He continued on his own, fulfilling the mission documented in this letter, after R. Yitzchak Zerachya Azulai fell ill upon arriving in Constantinople and was compelled to return to Eretz Israel.
For further information about their travels, see: E. Ya'ari, Sheluchei Eretz Israel, pp. 389-391. Ya'ari published a different emissary letter written for the two rabbis.
Double leaf. 33.5 cm. Good condition. Stains. Folding marks. Small hole in the center of the leaf.
Oriental Rabbis – Manuscripts, Letters and Signatures