Auction 63 - Rare and Important Items

Letter from Rebbe Yissachar Dov of Belz – HaMaharid – Blessings "May G-d Raise his Prestige Speedily in all his Matters"

Opening: $10,000
Estimate: $20,000 - $30,000
Sold for: $30,000
Including buyer's premium
Letter containing three lines handwritten and signed by Rebbe "Yissachar Dov of Belz". Belz, [no date indicated].
Letter confirming receipt of funds "for the Beit HaMidrash purposes", the first lines were handwritten by one of the Rebbe's attendants, and the three concluding lines are in the Rebbe's own handwriting, extending his blessings: "the words of his friend who awaits G-d's speedy raising of his prestige in all areas, and blesses him with all good. Yissachar Dov of Belz".
Rebbe Yissachar Dov Rokeach – HaMaharid (1854-1926) was a foremost Chassidic leader of his times and leader of Orthodox Jewry in Galicia. The third Rebbe in the Belz dynasty, he was a son of Rebbe Yehoshua Rokeach of Belz and son-in-law of R. Zushe Twersky (son of Rebbe Aharon of Chernobyl). He settled in Chernobyl after his marriage and studied Torah. Known as an outstanding Torah scholar, he was held in high esteem by the leading Halachic authorities of his times (see for instance in Responsa Beit Yitzchak by R. Yitzchak Schmelkes of Lviv). In 1878, he returned to Belz from Chernobyl to assist his father and was appointed as the latter's successor in 1898, with thousands of Belzer chassidim accepting his authority.
During the course of his leadership, which spanned over thirty years, tens of thousands of followers joined his court. Belz Chassidism extended to Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Transylvania, apart from the many thousands of Chassidim who flocked to him from all over Galicia and Poland. Belz Chassidism was unique for its community of hundreds of "sitters" - Torah scholars who sat unceasingly in the Belz study hall, studying Torah and Chassidism. His influence on Jewish life in Poland was extensive, and he headed the Orthodox Jewry public institutes including the Machzikei HaDat organization. He battled fiercely against all Enlightenment and Zionist movements, even opposing Agudat Yisrael. He banned any change in community procedures or in the study orders of the Boys' schools and study halls.
In 1914, with the outbreak of WWI, he escaped to Ratzfert (Újfehértó), Hungary, later settling in Munkacs (Munkachevo). In 1921, he returned to Galicia, first settling in Oleszyce near Jarosław, since Belz had been severely affected by the war, only returning to Belz in 1925, after his home and the Beit Midrash had been refurbished. This letter was written in Belz, but does not mention any date (it was possibly written between 1894-1914, or in 1925-1926, after he returned to his Beit Midrash in Belz).
[1] leaf. approx. 15 cm. Fair condition. Stains. Large marginal tears, not affecting text. Professionally restored, mounted on paper for preservation.
Letters bearing the handwritten signature of Rebbes of Belz are scarce.
Chassidic Luminaries – Manuscripts, Letters and Signatures
Chassidic Luminaries – Manuscripts, Letters and Signatures