Mishnat Chachamim – Ostroh, 1796 – Signatures of R. Betzalel Margolies Rabbi of Ostroh – Unique Copy with Title Pages for All Six Orders

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Mishnat Chachamim, novellae on the Six Orders of the Mishnah, Parts I-VI, by R. Meshulam Feivish HaLevi Horowitz of Kremenets (father-in-law of R. Avraham HaMalach, and great-grandfather of R. Yisrael of Ruzhin). Ostroh: Aharon son of Yonah, [1796]. First edition. Six parts in six volumes. Unique copy with title pages for each of the six orders (see below).
On verso of the title page of Nezikin, ownership inscription (partially deleted), handwritten and signed by R. Betzalel Margolies Rabbi of Ostroh. Additional signature in the heading of leaf 1 of this part: "Betzalel Margolies".
R. Betzalel Margolies Rabbi of Ostroh (d. 1821; Encyclopedia L'Chassidut, I, pp. 364-365), son of R. Meir Margolies Rabbi of Ostroh (ca. 1708 – 1790; prominent disciple of the Baal Shem Tov and one of his first associates; author of Meir Netivim and Or Olam), and son-in-law of R. Yehoshua of Drohobych. Served at first as rabbi of Zvhil. After the passing of his father in 1790, he succeeded him as rabbi of Ostroh, a position he held for over thirty years, until his passing. He was renowned as a pious and humble Torah scholar and kabbalist. By virtue of his position as rabbi of Ostroh, he wrote approbations to many books, including prominent Chassidic works published in those times (as well as the present work). In his approbation to Shivchei HaBaal Shem Tov, he relates teachings of the Baal Shem Tov which he heard from his father: "...and as I heard from my father... who from his youth was one of the Torah scholars associated with the Baal Shem Tov, and R. Meir would frequently extol his virtues...". R. Betzalel was a talented author and poet, and wrote many of his approbations in form of poem (Mazkeret LiGedolei Ostroh, p. 271). He authored Keter Shabbat (unpublished). R. Betzalel was closely associated with R. Zusha of Anipoli, and would host him whenever the latter visited Ostroh. Some of his Torah thoughts are published in Siftei Tzadikim by R. Pinchas of Dinovitz.
The book opens with approbations by the Noda BiYehuda, the Haflaah, R. Shaul Rabbi of Amsterdam, R. Betzalel Margolies Rabbi of Ostroh, R. Refael HaKohen Rabbi of Hamburg and other rabbis. Approbations by R. Eliezer Kalir Rabbi of Kolín and R. David Tzvi Auerbach Rabbi of Kremenets (father-in-law of R. Natan of Breslov) appear at the beginning of Order Nashim.
The author, R. Meshulam Feivish HaLevi Horowitz (born ca. 1710, died in Kislev between 1785 and 1790), was born and lived his entire life in Kremenets (Eastern Galicia), where he taught Torah. In his approbation to this book, R. Eliezer Kalir attests that R. Meshulam Feivish was holy from birth, and praises him for his exceptional greatness in Torah. The Noda BiYehuda, in his approbation, uncharacteristically extolled his virtues, comparing him to the Torah scholars of early generations.
His daughter Gittel wed R. Avraham the Malach, son of the Maggid of Mezeritch (their grandson was R. Yisrael of Ruzhin). Many stories of this match circulate among the Chassidic dynasties of his descendants. Rebbe Chaim Meir Yechiel of Mogielnica relates that when the Maggid of Mezeritch sought "a daughter of a Torah scholar" for his son R. Avraham, he asked that Heaven reveal to him the greatest Torah scholar of that generation, and he was informed that R. Feivel of Kremenets was the one (Toldot HaNiflaot, Warsaw 1899, no. 123). Another source recounts: "…our grandfather, the great Maggid of Mezeritch desired to match the daughter of R. Meshulam Feivish with his son R. Avraham the Malach since she was the daughter of a Torah scholar who studied Torah in holiness and purity, and he sent several of his disciples to the rabbi to suggest the match" (Toldot HaMishnat Chachamim, p. 694, at the end of the book Mishnat Chachamim, Machon Beit Avot edition, Brooklyn New York, 2014. See there for more stories about this match, about his wondrous meeting with the Maggid of Mezeritch and about his veneration of the great holiness of the Maggid and of his son R. Avraham the Malach).


Copy in six volumes. Zera'im: [3], 33 leaves. Mo'ed: [1], 15 leaves. Nashim: [1], 22 leaves. Nezikin: [1], 20 leaves. Kodashim: [1], 24 leaves. Taharot: [1], 45, [1] leaves. Final two leaves of order Taharot bound out of sequence. 19.5-20.5 cm. Overall good condition. Stains. Worming, slightly affecting text. Worming to several leaves of order Taharot, affecting text, and extensive worming to first two leaves of order Nezikin, affecting text. Leaves trimmed with damage to headings in several places. New bindings (uniform).


This volume includes six title pages – one at the beginning of each order. The first is a general, engraved title page. The next two are title pages printed especially for Orders Mo'ed and Nashim (bearing the titles of the orders). The fourth one, bound before Nezikin, is identical to the first engraved title page. The last two, bound before Kodashim and Taharot, are general title pages, without engravings. The Bibliography of the Hebrew Book records a copy with four title pages only (without title pages before Kodashim and Taharot).

Category
Chassidut – Books of Important Ownership