Tzror HaMor – Venice, 1545 – Copy of the Chiddushei HaRim of Ger – With Signatures of his Grandsons, the Sfat Emet and the Siftei Tzaddik

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Tzror HaMor, kabbalistic commentary on the Torah, by R. Avraham Saba. Venice: Marco Antonio Justinian, Tishrei 1545. Second edition.
This copy belonged to the first Gerrer Rebbe, R. Yitzchak Meir Alter (the Chiddushei HaRim), and bears the inscriptions and signatures of his grandsons R. Aryeh Leib Alter (the Sfat Emet) and Rebbe Pinchas Menachem Justman of Piltz (Pilica), author of Siftei Tzaddik.
On the front flyleaf, an ownership inscription signed by the Siftei Tzaddik: "G-d has granted me [this] from the estate of my grandfather the Rebbe, I am an atonement for his resting place, Pinchas Menachem Mendel son of R. B.E. of Ger" [the phrase "I am an atonement for his resting place" (Hareini Kaparat Mishkavo) customarily used during the first year after a parent's death, indicates that this inscription was penned within the year of the Chiddushei HaRim's passing]. Stamps of the Siftei Tzaddik appear at the top of the first leaf of Bereshit and at the end of Shemot: "Pinchas Menachem son of R. B.E. Justman of Ger". The ownership inscription of the Sfat Emet, "G-d has granted me [this], Aryeh Leib", appears in the top corner of the first leaf of Bereshit. This copy also bears ownership inscriptions, signatures and stamps of R. Avraham Abba Bomatz of Lodz (son-in-law of the Siftei Tzaddik); his inscription reveals how he came to possess the book: "G-d has granted me this precious book, which I have received from the rebbe in exchange for a different book, Avraham Abba Bomatz here in Ger – from Lodz" (apparently, the Siftei Tzaddik inherited the book from the estate of his grandfather the Chiddushei HaRim, and later gave it to his brother-in-law the Sfat Emet. Eventually the book was given back to R. Avraham Abba Bomatz by one of the Gerrer Rebbes – the Sfat Emet or perhaps his son the Imrei Emet).
Several other signatures and stamps (some early) appear on the first leaves, including the signature and stamps of R. Mordechai Mottel Katz Zilberstein of Kalisch. The blank page facing the title page bears a kvitel inscription of "Reuven Yisrael, son of Chana, HaLevi of Kalisch", who it seems gave the book to his teacher the Chiddushei HaRim (R. Reuven Yisrael Frankel of Kalisch was the son of the Kotzker chassid R. Shmuel Frankel of Kalisch and son-in-law of the wealthy R. Yehuda Leib Kushmirak of Kalisch).
A scholarly handwritten gloss appears on p. 7a. A number of textual corrections by several different writers can also be found throughout the book (the corrections on p. 35b are written in handwriting similar to that of the Chiddushei HaRim, see enclosed material for comparison). A censor's deletion appears at the end of Parashat Tazria (p. 97b), and a censor's stamps and signature appear on the title page.
R. Yitzchak Meir Alter, the first Gerrer Rebbe and author of Chiddushei HaRim (1799-1866, Encyclopedia L'Chassidut, II, pp. 413-423), was one of the greatest scholars of Torah and Chassidut in his generation. He was raised in the home of the Maggid of Kozhnitz and became his close disciple. At the age of 13, he moved to his father-in-law's house in Warsaw and studied under R. Aryeh Leib Zünz. Shortly, he became known throughout Poland as "the prodigy from Warsaw". After the passing of the Maggid of Kozhnitz, he became one of the primary disciples of R. Simcha Bunim of Peshischa. Then, with R. Simcha Bunim's passing, he accepted the authority of his colleague R. Menachem Mendel of Kotzk, influencing most of the Chassidim to follow his lead. In 1859, R. Yitzchak Meir was appointed as the Kotzker Rebbe's successor and moved to nearby Ger (Góra Kalwaria). In Ger, he served as rabbi and established the Gerrer Chassidic court, which flourished with thousands of followers during his seven-year tenure. His works of responsa and novellae in halachah and aggada are called collectively Chiddushei HaRim (abbreviation of R. Yitzchak Meir), the moniker which he later came to be known by.
R. Yehuda Aryeh Leib Alter, the second Gerrer Rebbe and author of Sfat Emet (1847-1905, Encyclopedia L'Chassidut, II, pp. 8-16), was a prominent Rebbe and leader of Polish Jewry. Under his leadership, the Gerrer Chassidut grew to become the largest and most influential Chassidic dynasty in Poland. When his grandfather the Chiddushei HaRim died in 1866, R. Yehuda Aryeh Leib was appointed, as per his grandfather's testament, to become rabbi of Ger at the young age of 19. The Chassidim wanted to appoint him Rebbe as well, however he adamantly refused, instead joining a group of Ger Chassidim who accepted the leadership of R. Chanoch Henich HaKohen of Aleksander (a disciple of the Kotzker Rebbe). When R. Yehuda Aryeh Leib would travel to see him each year, the Aleksander Rebbe (who was very old at that time) showed great respect for the young man and would seat him at the head of the table. Then, when the Aleksander Rebbe died in 1870, the Chassidim repeated their request that the Sfat Emet serve as Rebbe. After much imploring on the part of the Chassidim, the Sfat Emet accepted their request. Interestingly, since the Sfat Emet refused to sit at the head of the table, it became customary for future Gerrer Rebbes, as well, to sit in the middle of the table and not at its head. Notwithstanding his original refusals to serve as Rebbe, after accepting the post he employed his brilliance and wisdom to elevate and strengthen his multitudes of Chassidim, counseling them in matters both spiritual and material. As his reputation grew, tens of thousands more – from all over Poland and the neighboring countries – began to flock to Ger in quest of the Sfat Emet's counsel and guidance. Before long, the Gerrer Chassidut had developed into the largest Chassidut in Poland, with approximately 100,000 people coming to visit each year. In 1899, a special railway line was launched between Ger and Warsaw to service the thousands of Chassidim who thronged to Ger. This railway was dubbed "The Rebbe's Line" and the Sfat Emet personally participated in funding its construction. The Sfat Emet's classic work on the Torah, renowned for its depth and originality, is quite likely the Chassidic book which has achieved the most popularity in circles unaffiliated with Chassidut, such as the Lithuanian yeshiva world. The profound Talmudic novellae of the Sfat Emet are likewise widely studied.
Rebbe Pinyele of Piltz – R. Pinchas Menachem Justman (1848-1920) was a holy Chassidic Torah scholar, a leader of Polish Jewry and one of the founders of Agudath Yisrael. He was the son of R. Binyamin Eliezer (son-in-law of the Chiddushei HaRim) and the son-in-law of his uncle R. Avraham Mordechai (son of the Chiddushei HaRim). He lived in Ger and was one of the foremost Chassidim of his brother-in-law, the Sfat Emet. After the latter's passing, the Chassidim wanted to appoint R. Pinchas as Rebbe, however he refused and instead moved to Piltz to serve as rabbi there. Even after he moved to Piltz, Chassidim continued to throng to him in attempt to declare him their Rebbe, and after their many entreaties he did agree to accept the position. However, he remained faithful and subject to the leadership of the new Gerrer Rebbe, the Imrei Emet, and all communal matters were managed jointly by the two. R. Pinchas wrote Siftei Tzaddik on the Torah, as well as other works. His illustrious son-in-law was R. Avraham Abba Bomatz of Lodz.
[2], 3-165 leaves. 29.5 cm. Good-fair condition. Stains. Title page heavily stained, with marginal damage (mounted on paper for preservation). Marginal damage to final leaves (repaired with paper). Library stamps. New leather binding.
Manuscripts and Letters – Chassidic Luminaries