Auction 92 Part 1 Rare and Important Items

Meor Einayim (Chernobyl) – Slavita, 1798 – First Edition

Opening: $5,000
Estimate: $10,000 - $20,000
Sold for: $32,500
Including buyer's premium

Meor Einayim, Chassidic essays on the Torah, by Rebbe Menachem Nachum [Twersky] of Chernobyl. Slavita: [R. Moshe Shapira, 1798]. First edition.
Meor Einayim is a fundamental work of the Chassidic movement, and one of the first Chassidic compositions presenting the teachings of the Baal Shem Tov and the Maggid of Mezeritch. The author, the maggid R. Menachem Nachum of Chernobyl (1730-1798, Encyclopedia L'Chassidut, III, pp. 168-175), was one of the founders of Chassidut and the progenitor of the Chernobyl dynasty. He studied directly from the Baal Shem Tov and was a close disciple of the Maggid of Mezeritch. He served as maggid in Norynsk, Pohrebyshche and Chernobyl. He acceded to his disciples' entreaties to print his teachings and delegated the task to his disciple R. Eliyahu son of R. Zev Wolf Katz, instructing him to publish his writings in the "fine and exceptional printing press established in Slavita…" (the printing press of R. Moshe Shapira, then in its early years).
The book was allegedly originally eighteen times longer, but when arranging it for printing, R. Nachum of Chernobyl commanded his disciples to burn many leaves, leaving only the teachings which were divinely inspired. His writings were divided by his disciples into two parts, one part on the Torah, including selections, published under the title Meor Einayim (the present book), and a second part pertaining to Talmudic aggadot, named Yismach Lev. The two parts were printed in Slavita the same year. In later editions, the two parts were combined and published together, under the title Meor Einayim. R. Nachum of Chernobyl passed away during the course of the book's preparation for print.
Chassidic leaders ascribed great importance and holiness to the book, studying it every day and preserving it as a protection. The Chozeh of Lublin and R. Yitzchak of Skver (grandson of the author) reputedly said that the book has the power to light up the person's soul, similarly to the Zohar, and R. Yitzchak Izek of Komarno asserted that Meor Einayim should never depart from before one's eyes, as all the teachings it contains are lofty and holy.
Ownership inscriptions and stamps (indistinct): "…R. Moshe ---", "Belongs to R. Shimshon[?]".


[2], 160 leaves. 19 cm. Good-fair condition. Stains, including dampstains, traces of past dampness and dark stains. Worming affecting text, repaired in part with paper. Marginal open tears to title page and several other leaves, repaired with paper (several leaves were presumably supplied from a different copy and remargined for conformity). New leather binding.
Without Yismach Lev, which was printed concurrently.

Category
Chassidic and Kabbalistic Books