Auction 83 - Part I - Rare and Important Items

Responsa of Rabbenu Yitzchak HaLevi, Brother of the Taz – Neuwied, 1736 – Copy of R. Meir Margolies Rabbi of Ostroh, Author of Meir Netivim, Disciple of the Baal Shem Tov and One of His "Sixty Warriors" – Inscription of His Son Rabbi Betzalel Rabbi of Ostroh, Listing Their Lineage Up to the Family of the Taz

Opening: $8,000
Estimate: $10,000 - $15,000
Sold for: $10,000
Including buyer's premium
Responsa of Rabbenu Yitzchak HaLevi (brother and teacher of the Taz), Part I. Neuwied, 1736. First edition.
Copy of R. Meir Margolies, author of Meir Netivim, disciple of the Baal Shem Tov and one of his "sixty warriors", which he gave to his son R. Betzalel Margolies Rabbi of Ostroh. Owner's signature at the top of p. 10a (using the "י" of the page numeral): " Meir", in square script, presumably handwritten by the Meir Netivim. Inscription on the title page, handwritten by R. Betzalel Margolies, attesting that he received this book from his father the Meir Netivim, and listing their lineage up to R. Yeshaya HaLevi Rabbi of Dubno, brother of the author of this book and of the Taz: " I received this responsa book as a gift from my father the outstanding Torah scholar... R. Meir Margolies, grandson of R. Yeshaya Rabbi of Dubno, brother of the author and of the Taz. So are the words of his son, Betzalel Margolies".
On the approbation leaf following the title page (on the blank side), R. Betzalel records their lineage in further detail: " Betzalel son of R. Meir, son of R. Tzvi Hirsh Margolies, son-in-law of the leader of the entire diaspora R. Mordechai Mordush Auerbach of Germany, son-in-law of R. Tzadok Shebreshiner a leader of the Council of the Four Lands, son-in-law of R. Yeshaya HaLevi Rabbi of Dubno, brother of R. Yitzchak HaLevi author of this book".
There is an additional inscription at the top of the same page, also handwritten by R. Betzalel, torn and partly lacking.
R. Meir Margolies (1700/1708-1790) was a leading disciple of the Baal Shem Tov and one of the first to cleave to him, as early as 1737, before the latter became famous. Reputedly, his teacher the Baal Shem Tov requested that he write his name in the siddur he prayed from, to enable him to mention R. Meir in prayer, and the latter did so. His signature in the siddur of the Baal Shem Tov was preserved until this day (Kevutzat Yaakov, Berditchev 1896, p. 52b; MiBeit HaGenazim, Brooklyn 2010, p. 230). R. Meir refers to his teacher the Baal Shem Tov in several places in his books as "my teacher" and "my colleague". In his book Sod Yachin UBoaz (Ostroh, 1794), he describes the level of learning Torah for the sake of Heaven: " I was instructed by my teachers who were prominent in Torah and Chassidut, headed by my friend the pious R. Yisrael Baal Shem Tov... and from my youth, when I attached myself with bonds of love to my teacher and friend R. Yisrael Baal Shem Tov... I knew with absolute certainty that his conduct was in holiness and purity, piety and ascetism... occult matters were revealed to him...". In his book Meir Netivim (Part II, end of Parashat Vayigash), he quotes a segulah from his teacher for dissipating anger: "I learnt from my teacher that a wonderful segulah for dissipating anger is to say the verse...". His son R. Betzalel, his successor as rabbi of Ostroh, wrote in his approbation to Shivchei HaBaal Shem Tov (Berditchev 1815 edition): "...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...". Rebbe Yitzchak Izek of Komarno attested in his book Netiv Mitzvotecha (Netiv HaTorah, Shevil 1): "Our teacher R. Yisrael son of Eliezer... he was accorded sixty warriors, souls of righteous men, to protect him, and one of them was the Meir Netivim".
R. Meir Margolies was a leading and prominent rabbi in his times. In his youth, he served as rabbi of Yazlovets and Horodenka. In 1755, he was appointed rabbi of the Lviv region. In 1766, he was appointed by the King of Poland as chief rabbi of Ukraine and Galicia. In 1776, he received an official letter of appointment from the King of Poland, Stanisław August Poniatowski (the rabbinical appointment, in gilt letters, is preserved until this day in the Dubnow archives in New York). In 1777, he was appointed, in addition to his position as rabbi of the Lviv region, as rabbi of Ostroh and the vicinity. R. Meir was a member of the famous Brody Kloiz most of his life. He was closely attached to the Kloiz Torah scholars, and quotes their teachings extensively in his book.
R. Meir authored several prominent compositions in revealed and kabbalistic realms of the Torah, in Halachah and in homily. His series of books was named Or Olam, and includes his books on Halachah, homily and Kabbalah: His renowned book Responsa Meir Netivim, two parts (Polonne 1791), Sod Yachin UBoaz (Ostroh 1794), HaDerech HaTov VehaYashar (Polonne 1795) and Kotnot Or (Berditchev 1816).
His son, R. Betzalel Margolies (d. 1821), first served as rabbi of Zvhil (Novohrad-Volynskyi), and after the passing of R. Meir in 1790, he succeeded him as rabbi of Ostroh, a position he held for over thirty years. He was renowned as a great Torah scholar and kabbalist, pious and humble. During his tenure, he penned dozens of approbations, some in the form of a poem. He authored Keter Shabbat (unpublished). R. Betzalel was very close to R. Zusha of Anipoli, and whenever R. Zusha came to Ostroh, he would stay at his home.
The lineage inscription found here was published (with a picture) in Kerem Shlomo, Iyar-Sivan 1989, pp. 44-45.
[2], 31 leaves. Lacking final two leaves. 30.5 cm. Fair condition. Stains and wear. Worming and tears to title page and other leaves, affecting text.
Variant: the approbations on verso of title page do not appear in all copies. In some copies, a leaf with the approbations was attached to the verso of the title page.
The book is bound with:
Torat Chaim, novellae on Tractates Bava Kama, Bava Metzia, Bava Batra, Eruvin, Sanhedrin, Shevuot, Pesachim, Avoda Zara and Chulin, by R. Avraham Chaim Schorr. Frankfurt an der Oder, [1734].
[1], 103, 105-148 leaves. Engraved title page. Fair condition. Stains and wear. Worming. Tears to title page, affecting engravings. Tears to several other leaves, affecting text.
2 books in one volume. New leather binding.
Manuscripts and Letters – Chassidic Luminaries