Auction 42 - Rare and Important Items

Letter of Responsum by Rabbi Eliezer Yitzchak Fried, Head of the Volozhin Yeshiva, 1838

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A long letter of Torah ideas, in the handwriting and with two signatures of Rabbi "Eliezer Yitzchak ben Rabbi Hillel" Fried, head of the Volozhin Yeshiva, Nissan 1838.
The letter was sent to his disciples in the Volozhin Yeshiva, Rabbi Shmuel Salant and his friend Rabbi Yosef Michel, who traveled to their city of Salant for Pesach and sent their rabbi a query about flour for matzot which became wet. At the end of the letter, Rabbi Eliezer Yitzchak writes that his father-in-law Rabbi Yitzchak of Volozhin agreed with his ruling: "All the above I have discussed with my father-in-law and he agreed." On the margins of the letter, Rabbi Eliezer Yitzchak asks about his friend "The outstanding Rabbi Zvi Hirsh", father of Rabbi Shmuel of Salant.
In 1837, Rabbi Shmuel of Salant married the daughter of Rabbi Yosef Zundel of Salant, one of the greatest disciples of Rabbi Chaim of Volozhin. After his marriage, he traveled to study in the Volozhin Yeshiva for several years and he would return to his home in Salant only for the festivals. This question was sent to his great teacher on the days preceding the Pesach festival.
Rabbi Eliezer Yitzchak Fried (1809-1853) was a member of the founding family of the Volozhin Yeshiva. He was the son of the daughter of the founder, Rabbi Chaim of Volozhin and son-in-law of his uncle Rabbi Itzele of Volozhin [his father the Torah genius Rabbi Hillel of Horodno served as Deputy Head of the Volozhin Yeshiva for ten years before he moved to serve in the Horodno rabbinate].
While his father-in-law Rabbi Itzele of Volozhin was still alive, he was appointed as Deputy Head of the yeshiva. After the death of his father-in-law, he was appointed as head of the yeshiva, a position he held only for a short
while before he died at a young age. After his death, his younger brother-in-law the Netziv was appointed as head of yeshiva.
From a young age he was known for his Torah proficiency. “All the Torah scholars of his times discussed various questions with him while he was yet a young man”. In his great diligence, he would review the whole Talmud once a month (quoted from his son’s introduction to the book Chut HaMeshulash with responsa of three generations: Rabbi Chaim of Volozhin, his son-in-law Rabbi Hillel Fried and his grandson Rabbi Eliezer Yitzchak). Most of his Torah novellae were never printed as his son writes of his last years: “About fourteen years before his death, he became extremely ill… and although his state of health was precarious and he was extremely weak, he was driven by his great love and desire to study Torah and he did not neglect its study… and he gathered strength to teach in the yeshiva twice a week. But due to his extreme weakness, he had not the strength to write everything and many of his novellae remained with his disciples and also those teachings which he did write, he did not have time to arrange them in their correct order for printing and some he did not have enough time to finish…”. This responsum was printed with variations in his book of responsa Chut HaMeshulash, Siman 52 (Vilna, 1882) and was printed fully in the book Torat Rabbi Shmuel of Salant, Part 1, pp. 78-80 (Jerusalem, 1998).
2 written pages, 23 cm. Good condition, foxing and creases.
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Rare and Important Items