Auction 83 - Part I - Rare and Important Items

Maggid Devarav LeYaakov – Likutei Amarim, by the Maggid of Mezeritch Korets, 1784

Opening: $1,000
Estimate: $3,000 - $5,000
Sold for: $1,500
Including buyer's premium
Maggid Devarav LeYaakov, Likutei Amarim, by the Maggid R. Dov Ber of Mezeritch (Mezhirichi). Korets, [1784]. Second edition, with additions by the author.
This edition includes over ten new essays composed by the author, which were not included in the first edition. The new essays were printed on the final six pages.
The title page states: "The book Maggid Devarav LeYaakov [the last letters of the name of the book are emphasized on the title page, alluding to the name of the author, R. Dov], selected discourses... pure sayings... hearken to the words of the king... every month and every week... from the great and holy Torah scholar.... R. Dov Ber, who was a preacher in Mezeritch and other communities...".
Both editions of this book were brought to print by R. Shlomo of Lutsk (author of Divrat Shlomo), close disciple and relative of the Maggid of Mezeritch. R. Shlomo wrote two comprehensive forewords to the book, which are renowned in the Chassidic world. The first portrays the elevated stature of his teachers, the Baal Shem Tov and the Maggid of Mezeritch, the Divine Inspiration which rested upon them and the lofty levels they reached. He characterizes the teachings of the Maggid as replete with allusions to writings of the Arizal and the Zohar, and describes the power of the Maggid's words to enthuse his many listeners in their worship of G-d.
The foreword continues with an account of the Maggid's testimony on all the kabbalistic teachings and lofty secrets his teacher the Baal Shem Tov taught him, including the language of birds, Holy Names and teachings of the book Raziel. The author relates that the Maggid showed him in that book some names of angels, testifying that the Baal Shem Tov knew how to use those names to determine every year, in the month of Nisan, which celestial administrators where appointed to govern the world, in order to know how to deal with them.
Later in the foreword, the publisher relates of his hesitance to print the book, and his exchange with his teacher on the matter. When his teacher inquired why he doesn't write down what he hears, he replied that he had seen some who record the rebbe's teachings, but fall very short of his intent, as they write according to their understanding. The rebbe told him to nevertheless record his teachings, assuring him that whatever results would be satisfactory.
These forewords were reprinted in his book Divrat Shlomo (Zhovkva, 1848). In an approbation by the Chozeh of Lublin for the book Divrat Shlomo, he relates to these forewords and writes: "His character has already become renowned through the foreword he composed for the book Likutei Amarim by our great master and teacher R. Dov Ber".
The first foreword also contains facts regarding the compilation of the book. It reports that the book was composed by several writers, the main part being copied from the writings of R. Zev Wolf of Horodna. However, the Tzemach Tzedek of Lubavitch was bearer of a tradition that the essay beginning with the words Olat Tamid (printed on p. 29a) was written by the Baal HaTanya when he was by the Maggid.
One of the additions included at the end of this edition is a question which the Maggid was asked on one of his essays, and the response given by the Maggid: "The holy rabbi and author was asked regarding the homily he gave over... and he responded...".
Over the years, a minor polemic regarding the attitude towards the book evolved between the Chatam Sofer and the Divrei Chaim of Sanz, concerning what is printed in this book about the Sefard and Arizal prayer-rite (p. 22a). The Chatam Sofer wrote in one of his responsa (Orach Chaim, section 16), that the book Likutei Amarim is not found in his community, but the passage he quoted from it is like "the teachings of the sealed book". To which the Divrei Chaim responded at length (Responsa Divrei Chaim, II, Orach Chaim, section 8), writing that "the Chatam Sofer's displeasure at Likutei Amarim is unfounded, perhaps because its author is a Chassidic leader, his words did not enter his ears...", and that the Likutei Amarim didn't write this on his own accord, rather based on teachings of early scholars well-versed in both revealed and hidden realms of the Torah.
Stamps on pp. 19b and 40a of the Kotnot Or synagogue of R. Meir Baal HaNes.
[3], 54 leaves. Approx. 19 cm. Fair condition. Stains. Open tears to title page and other leaves, affecting text and border, repaired with paper (with handwritten replacement). Worming (significant worming to several leaves), affecting text, repaired with paper. Leaves trimmed with damage to headings in several places. Stamps and handwritten inscriptions. New leather binding.
Stefansky Chassidut, no. 325.
Chassidic Books