Auction 63
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Lot Number 13

Manuscript Composition – 22 Pages Handwritten by the Noda BiYehuda, R. Yechezkel HaLevi Segal Landau – Lengthy Halachic Responsum – Including Passages Not Printed in his Book – Responsum which Stirred Up the Torah World at that Time

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233,700$
Opening Estimate
120,000$ $150,000-300,000$
Lot Number 13

Manuscript Composition – 22 Pages Handwritten by the Noda BiYehuda, R. Yechezkel HaLevi Segal Landau – Lengthy Halachic Responsum – Including Passages Not Printed in his Book – Responsum which Stirred Up the Torah World at that Time

"Kuntres Geder Ervah" – Handwritten composition (22 large pages), lengthy halachic responsum handwritten by R. Yechezkel HaLevi Segal Landau, Rabbi of Prague, author of Noda BiYehuda. An early version of the responsum appearing in section 72 of his book Noda BiYehuda, part Even HaEzer. [Brody, ca. 1744]. With many handwritten additions in the margins by the author from various periods.
This famous responsum is one of the earliest responsa composed by R. Yechezkel Landau, and it is the lengthiest one in Noda BiYehuda – Mahadura Kama printed in the author's lifetime (Prague, 1776, Even HaEzer part, section 72). This is the most famous responsum of the Noda BiYehuda, which earnt him worldwide fame as an outstanding Torah scholar, and shook up the Torah world at that time. The Noda BiYehuda innovated in this responsum new principles in laws of testimony, which aroused against him leading Torah scholars worldwide (over one hundred questions and difficulties were raised by leading Acharonim on this responsum, many of which are quoted in the Likutei He'arot section of the Noda BiYehuda published by Machon Yerushalayim). The Tzemach Tzedek of Lubavitch quoted his grandfather the Baal HaTanya regarding this responsum, that the Noda BiYehuda was unique in his generation for his rulings, and even though many of the leading Torah scholars of his times contested this ruling, it was accepted as halachically applicable (see following article).
The difficult affair this responsum pertains to, occurred ca. 1744 (as results from his book Doresh LeTzion, homily 13, see enclosed material), when he was 30 years old, residing in Brody. This responsum contained his halachic ruling prohibiting to her husband a woman about whom severe testimonies of adultery were received. Reputedly, the Noda BiYehuda and R. Avraham Gershon of Kitov (brother-in-law of the Baal Shem Tov) were persecuted by the relatives of this woman, compelling R. Yechezkel Landau and R. Gershon of Kitov to leave Brody. R. Yechezkel Landau went to serve as rabbi of Yampil, and R. Gershon of Kitov travelled to Constantinople and from there immigrated to Eretz Israel (see following article).
The responsum pertains to the principles of laws of testimony, regarding severe matters of adultery, and was written as a complete composition, magnificently built in perfect order. The Noda BiYehuda first records his final conclusion and ruling: "This woman is prohibited to her husband with the severe prohibition mentioned in the Torah… and we must meticulously clarify according to the Talmud and Poskim… all the details of any permission one could raise… and come to the conclusion that none are substantial…". The Noda BiYehuda then lists six clauses which first came to mind when he began studying the matter, which could allow her, however after in-depth study of the Talmud and Rishonim, no permission whatsoever subsisted. He then continues to thoroughly and comprehensively refute all six clauses of permission, one by one, leaving the prohibition unchanged.
Over the course of the years between the writing and the publishing of this responsum, the Noda BiYehuda rearranged it. The body of this manuscript contains the main part of the responsum neatly recorded, which the author later corrected, inserting his handwritten additions and lengthy glosses in the margins. Most of the glosses in the margins of this manuscript were later published in his book, but two of them were not (the first appears on p. 5a, and the second on p. 9a, on the right-hand side of the page).
An additional leaf containing an addendum relating to what was written on p. 3b, begins with the words "Concerning the first permission which in the following leaf, page two…". On the verso of this leaf, at the top of the page, three inscriptions appear: "Kuntres Geder Ervah", "Kuntres", "Responsa of our master and teacher…".
This manuscript is an early version of the responsum, since the printed edition of this section contains many passages which this manuscript does not. Some of the wording differences are presumably corrections the author made before printing, on the other hand, notwithstanding the many additions contained in the printed edition, this manuscript bears special importance for clarifying the correct and original version of the author's words. By comparison, many words and even entire sentences were found to be incorrect in print, beginning with the first edition printed in the author's lifetime, until recent revised editions (including the Machon Yerushalayim edition). Some of the mistakes are regular printing mistakes, which sometimes pervert the meaning, and some are censor omissions and 'corrections' (see Hebrew description).
The lengthy glosses added in the margins of this manuscript were printed in Noda BiYehuda, generally in 'windows' in the body of the text, entitled Hagahah (Hagahat Harav Hamechaber), but some were integrated in the text, sometimes resulting in errors of reference.
R. Yechezkel HaLevi Segal Landau (1713-1793) was a leading Halachic authority of all times, which the entire Jewish nation relied upon. From a young age, he was renowned as a leading Torah scholar of his generation. From the age of 13 until 30, he resided in Brody, which was a Torah center in those times, home to the celebrated Kloiz – Beit Midrash renowned for the study of all realms of Torah, and for the famous compositions on the Talmud, in Halacha and in Kabbala which it produced.
He served for ten years as the rabbi of one of the four Batei Din in Brody. During his stay in Brody, he became close to the Kloiz scholars, including R. Chaim Sanzer and R. Gershon of Kitov (brother-in-law of the Baal Shem Tov). During those years, he studied the Arizal's writings together with R. Chaim Sanzer, a leading scholar in the Kloiz.
In ca. 1745, he went to serve as rabbi of Yampola (Yampil), and in 1754, he began serving as rabbi of Prague and the region. In Prague, he led his community fearlessly, becoming a foremost leader of his generation. He established a large yeshiva there, in which he educated thousands of disciples, including many of the leaders of that generation (his disciple R. Elazar Fleckeles, author of Teshuva MeAhava, eulogized him: "He edified several thousands of disciples, including hundreds of rabbis and dayanim". Olat HaChodesh HaShlishi, 17, p. 85a). Thousands of questions were addressed to him from far-flung places. Approximately 850 of his responsa were published in Noda BiYehuda. His books published in his lifetime, Responsa Noda BiYehuda – Mahadura Kama and Tzelach on Tractate Pesachim and Berachot, earned him worldwide fame already then (Noda BiYehuda – Mahadura Tinyana, printed after his demise, Prague 1711, includes hundreds of his responsa to questions addressed to him from various places, regarding his first book).
The Chida in Shem HaGedolim describes him as an exceptionally outstanding Torah scholar who disseminated much Torah through his books and disciples, and mentions the acuity and extensive Torah wisdom apparent in his responsa and books. The Noda BiYehuda himself wrote in one of his responsa, regarding one of his novellae, that in his opinion, it was a true Torah thought (Even HaEzer, Mahadura Tinyana section 23, 2). The Chatam Sofer relates to this responsum in one of his responsa (part II, Even HaEzer, section 95): "And the words of G-d are in his mouth, truth".
11 leaves + [1] additional leaf. 22 leaves handwritten by the Noda BiYehuda. 32.5 cm. Overall good condition, the additional leaf in fair-good condition. Stains and creases, marginal wear to some leaves. Folding marks to the additional leaf, with dark stains to the folding marks, slightly affecting one line of text.

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Sold For
233,700$
Opening Estimate
120,000$ $150,000-300,000$

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