Auction 42 - Rare and Important Items

Me’or Einayim / Yismach Lev – Slavita, 1798 – First Edition

Opening: $10,000
Sold for: $27,500
Including buyer's premium
• Me'or Einayim, Chassidic articles on the Torah, by Rebbe Menachem Nachum [Twersky] of Chernobyl. Slavita, [1798]. [Printed by Rabbi Moshe Shapira]. First edition. Approbations of Chassidic leaders: Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berdychiv, Rabbi Zusha of Annopol, Rabbi Ya'akov Shimshon of Shepetivka [on his way to Eretz Israel], etc. (Stefansky Chassidut, no. 308).
• Yismach Lev [Part 2 of Me'or Einayim], commentary on aggadot and midrashei Chazal [according to the order of the Talmudic tractates], by Rebbe Menachem Nachum [Twersky] of Chernobyl. Slavita, [1798]. [Printed by Rabbi Moshe Shapira]. First edition. (Stefansky Chassidut, no. 237).
Me'or Einayim is one of the most basic books of the Chassidic movement and one of the earliest Chassidic books presenting the teachings of the Ba'al Shem Tov and of the Magid of Mezritch. The author, the Magid Rebbe Menachem Nachum of Chernobyl (1730-1798, Encyclopedia L'Chassidut Vol. 3, pp. 168-175), one of the founders of Chassidism and the first Rebbe of the Chernobyl dynasty merited studying directly from the Besht and was a close disciple of the Magid of Mezritch. He served as a magid in Norinsk, Pogrpbisht and Chernobyl. His disciples convinced him to print his Torah thoughts and he appointed his disciple Rabbi Eliyahu ben R' Ze'ev Wolf Katz to print the writings "in the handsome elegant printing press which was established in Slavita…" [the printing house of Rabbi Moshe Shapira which was still in its initial stages]. Some say that originally the book was 18 times longer but at the time it was edited, Rabbi Nachum of Chernobyl instructed his disciples to burn many leaves and left only the words which "the shechina spoke from his throat".
The book was divided by his disciples into two parts, one on the Torah and compilations which was named Me’or Einayim and the second part is on Talmudical aggadot called Yismach Lev. The two parts were printed simultaneously in Slavita in the same year. In later editions, the two parts were combined into one. Rabbi Nachum of Chernobyl died while in the midst of preparing his book for printing.
Chassidic leaders revered the importance and holiness of this book and would study it every day and cherished it as protection. The Chozeh of Lublin and Rabbi Yitzchak of Skvira [the author’s grandson] are quoted as saying that the book has the hidden properties to light a person’s soul, similar to the holy Zohar. Rabbi Yitzchak Isaac of Komarno asserted that “If the book Me’or Einayim is not removed from before your eyes, all your words will be lofty and holy”.
Me’or Einayim: [2], 160 leaves (Leaves 23-26 were bound between Leaves 32 and 33). 19 cm. Good condition, spotting on several leaves. Professionally restored damages on title page (with minor damage to text) and on several leaves. New binding. Inscriptions in Oriental writing (on title page and on Leaf 10): “Meir Shlomo ben R’ Ya’akov Pirchi”.
Yismach Lev: Incomplete copy, [1], 1-10, 15-[34] leaves [lacking Leaves 11-14]. 19 cm. Overall good condition, with the exception of the last leaf which has restored tears and damages (with damage to text). New binding.
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