Online Auction 44 - Chabad

A Special Chabad Auction on the Occasion of "Yom HaBahir", Yud (the 10th of) Shevat – Day of Passing of the Rebbe Rayatz, and Day of the Ascendancy to Leadership of the Lubavitcher Rebbe"

Telephone of Rebbe Rayatz – In Riga and Warsaw

Opening: $1,000
Sold for: $2,750
Including buyer's premium

Telephone used by Rebbe Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn, the Rayatz of Lubavitch, while living in Riga and Warsaw, in the early 1930s.
Early brass candlestick rotary dial telephone. Separate transmitter (mouth piece) and receiver. United States, after 1920 (engraved on the back of the mouth piece: Patented in USA November 1910; various dates are engraved on the base of the phone – patent dates of various parts of the phone, the latest one being 21st September 1920).
Letter of authenticity enclosed (handwritten note, in English), signed in Hebrew by R. Shalom Dov Ber (Barry) Gurary (1923-2005), only grandson of Rebbe Rayatz (son of his daughter Rebbetzin Chana Gurary and her husband R. Shemaryahu Gurary – the Rashag): "I hereby gift… the first telephone my grandparents [Rebbe Rayatz and Rebbetzin Nechama Dina] had. When my grandfather visited America in 1929-30 he bought this phone in Boston and took it back to Riga. He used it until we moved to Otwock. There was no good lines there and he stopped using it. Even when we were in Riga - it was so expensive to make a call that he hardly used it". Dated – 2nd February 1989.

The Visit of Rebbe Rayatz to the United States
Some two years after his release from the Soviet prison and settling in Riga, Rebbe Rayatz made a trip to the United States. The purpose of the visit, which lasted for close to a year (Elul 1929-Tammuz 1930), was to raise awareness of the plight of Soviet Jews and to encourage and strengthen American Jewry.
Wherever he went, the Rayatz campaigned to strengthen and fortify Torah observance, and propagandized for Shabbat observance, laying tefillin and establishing Torah classes. He founded Agudas Chassidei Chabad and women's societies to promote Taharat HaMishpacha. On Shabbat, he would hold gatherings and deliver Chassidic teachings, and on weekdays, he would convene various meetings and receive people in private audiences. Towards the end of the trip, the Rayatz met with Herbert Hoover, president of the United States, in the White House (on 14th Tammuz). During their meeting, the Rayatz thanked the president for the freedom of religion given to American Jewry and for the help his government provides to Jews throughout the world.
The Rayatz ended his visit on Thursday, 21st Tammuz 1930. He set sail from the port of New York on the SS Bremen. After spending several weeks in the Marienbad health spa, the Rayatz returned in the middle of Elul 1930 to his home in Riga.

The visit to Boston
Towards the end of his trip, the Rayatz paid a two week visit to Boston (19th Sivan-3rd Tammuz 1930), during the course of which he held meetings with leaders and politicians, received people for private audiences, convened meetings and Hitvaaduyot and delivered sermons before the large crowds which gathered in the Beit El and Ahavat Yeshurun synagogues.
The 2nd July issue of the Yiddish newspaper Morgen Journal describes the Rayatz's visit in Boston: "The visit of the Rebbe of Lubavitch in Boston was a huge spiritual success. Beginning from the first reception… on 15th June until the farewell on 29th June, each of his appearances was met with a huge audience. His residence on 104 Crawford St. was, from the moment he arrived until he left, a central place for all those who turned to him. Young and old, rich and poor, Chassidic and Mitnagdim, all came to see the rebbe of Lubavitch and hear Chassidic teachings from him or his son-in-law R. Gurary" (Yiddish). According to the enclosed letter, the Rayatz purchased the present telephone during his visit to Boston, and brought it back with him to Riga.

Riga, Warsaw and Otwosk
Rebbe Rayatz arrived in Riga on 25th Tishrei 1927 and resided there for six years. In 1933 he moved to Warsaw and later, in 1935, to the nearby town Otwosk (Otwock), where he remained for four years, until the end of Elul 1939. In each place he lived, the Rayatz devoted himself to strengthening and preserving Judaism. As mentioned in the enclosed letter, Rebbe Rayatz used the present phone mainly while living in Riga and Warsaw, but stopped using it in the small town of Otwosk, where the phone lines were poor and unclear (Igerot HaRayatz contain several references to the use of the telephone during his stay in Otwosk, though all seem to indicate that the lines were poor and conversations were difficult to hold).

Height: approx. 30 cm; maximum diameter of base: 13.5 cm. The mechanism was not examined. Minor defects.

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