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Auction 63 Lot Number 8

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Manuscript on Parchment – Hilchot HaRif on Many Tractates – Spain, 14th Century – “Accurate Alfas” Copy of Rabbi Shlomo Luria, the Maharshal, with his Signatures and Hundreds of his Glosses – Copy of Rabbi Feivish of Kraków, Teacher of the Bach

Thick manuscript volume on parchment, Hilchot Rav Alfas (the Rif) on Tractates Sukkah, Yoma, Moed Katan, Shabbat, Eruvin, Chullin, Halachot Ketanot, Hilchot Niddah, Order Nashim and Order Nezikin; with Pirkei Avot. [Spain, ca. 14th century]. Neat, square Sephardic script by two scribes.
The last page contains signatures of R. Shlomo Luria – the Maharshal: "So says the young Shlomo son of R. Yechiel Luria of Poznań, named Shlomo R. Yitzchak". Followed by another signature (partly deleted): "Acquired with my money, so says the young Shlomo [Luria?]". The margins of the manuscript contain hundreds of glosses in Ashkenazic script from that period. Based on our examination and comparisons with his compositions, we have determined that the glosses contained in this manuscript were handwritten by the Maharshal, and this seems to be the manuscript the Maharshal refers to several times in his compositions as "Accurate Alfas" or "Parchment Alfasi".
Additional signatures and ownership inscriptions appear at the end of the volume, including ownership inscriptions of R. Meshulam Feivish Rabbi of Kraków - teacher of the Bach - and of his sons.
This is a uniquely significant historic item – a manuscript volume on parchment, presumably written in Spain in the 14th century, which reached the study halls of Poland in the 16th century, and was in the possession of the Maharshal, who signed his name on it and annotated it, using it as an accurate copy on which to base his corrections.
The Manuscript:
Square Sephardic script, characteristic of the 14th century. Copied by two scribes. The first scribe copied the first half of the volume (pp. [1a]-[266a]) and marked his name, Yaakov, in several places (pp. [6b], [16a], [27b], [45a], [98b], [141b], [145b], [260a]). The second scribe, Chizkiyahu Kohen son of Yitzchak HaKohen, copied the second half of the volume (pp. [266b]-[455a]), marking his name in several places (pp. [290a], [298a], [388a], [388b], [400a], [444b], [445a], [446b]; on p. [395a] he marked "LaKohen", and on p. [449a], "Kahana"), and signing his name in the colophon on p. [455a]: "I, Chizkiyahu Kohen son of R. Yitzchak HaKohen, completed this book, the composition of HaRav Alfasi, from Tractate Ketubot, Chapter HeArel until here, for R. Moshe HaLevi, may G-d grant him the merit of studying from it, him and his descendants until the end of all generations, Amen – May we be strong and grow stronger, may the scribe not be harmed, now and for posterity…". The words "R. Moshe HaLevi" appear in faded or erased ink. The first page of the manuscript contains the completion of Tractate Rosh Hashanah, followed by the beginning of Tractate Sukkah. The manuscript is comprised of the complete Hilchot HaRif to Tractates Sukkah, Yoma, Moed Katan, Shabbat, Eruvin, Chullin, Halachot Ketanot, Hilchot Niddah, Order Nashim and Order Nezikin. Tractate Avot was copied at the end of the manuscript.
Signature of the Maharshal:
The last page (p. [455b]) contains the signature: "So says the young Shlomo son of R. Yechiel Luria of Poznań, named Shlomo R. Yitzchak". The Maharshal signs several responsa in Responsa Maharshal with the identical wording, for instance in section 36: "The words of Shlomo son of R. Yechiel Luria, named Sh.R. [= Shlomo R.] Yitzchak"; he likewise signed in the initials of the riddle he composed for the order of the Passover Seder (Responsa Maharshal, section 88): "Shlomo son of R. Yechiel Luria named Shlomo R. Yitzchak…". The Maharshal was given the appellation "Shlomo R. Yitzchak" after his grandfather, R. Yitzchak Kloiver of Worms, whom he studied Torah from in his youth. Below this signature, another signature of the Maharshal appears (partly deleted): "Acquired with my money, so says the young Shlomo [Luria?]". The two signatures end with a similar curlicue tending downwards from the Aleph of the word Luria.
Glosses of the Maharshal:
The pages of the manuscript contain hundreds of glosses (in the margins and between the lines) in early Ashkenazic script, which we have identified as the actual handwriting of the Maharshal. The identification of the Maharshal's handwriting was concurrently determined by Dr. Meir Raffeld and Dr. Chaim Bentov, by comparing the writing with an established handwriting of the Maharshal (see: M. Raffeld, Netivei Meir, 2013, pp. 287-288, note 12). The glosses appear mainly on the pages of Tractates Ketubot, Bava Kama and Makot. Most of the glosses consist of copyings of the words of Rishonim, mainly the Rashi commentary on the Rif and Piskei HaRosh, but several glosses are original, signed "N.L." (Nir'a Li – so it seems to me). In these original glosses, we found several instances which parallel with what the Maharshal wrote in his composition. There is also correspondence between this text of the Rif and the text that the Maharshal established according to the "Old Alfas" in his possession.
Most of the glosses are copyings from teachings of the Rishonim, apart from 16 original glosses signed "N.L." (two of these glosses are trimmed). Some of the glosses are signed "R." = Rashi, and consist of copyings of the commentary on the Rif ascribed to Rashi; others are signed "A." = Asheri, containing copyings of Piskei HaRosh (which relate to Hilchot HaRif). In several places, he cites other sources: "To[safot]"; "Semag"; "Haga BeA[sheri]"; "R. Niss[im]"; in one instance he quotes the Tur; and in several places he brings from "M.O." =
Mordechai Österreich. On p. [172a], he cites a passage of Tosefot HaRashbam (published in Shamma Yehuda Friedman, Tosafot of the Rashbam to Alfasi, Kovetz Al Yad 18, 1975, pp. 202-203). In some places, the Maharshal corrects the text of the Rif.
As mentioned, by examination and meticulous comparison of the manuscript and glosses against the works of the Maharshal, several parallels were found. In two instances, we found brief marginal glosses in this manuscript which were expounded into an entire section in his work Yam Shel Shlomo. See Hebrew description for a detailed report.
Glosses by other writers:
P. [116b] contains a gloss in early Ashkenazic script, in a different handwriting than the other glosses, ending: "So it seems in my humble opinion".
Pp. [423b] and [419a] contain glosses in early Sephardic cursive script (omissions from the text of the Rif).
Copy of R. Meshulam Feivish Rabbi of Kraków: Ownership inscriptions of R. Meshulam Feivish Rabbi of Kraków and of his sons appear on the last page, p. [455b]: "R. Meshulam known as Feivish, Rabbi"; "R. Feivish son of Yisrael Shmuel, Shmuel son of R. Meshulam known to all as R. Feivish"; "Yosef son of R. Meshulam"; "Yisrael son of R. Meshulam".
R. Meshulam Feivish son of R. Yisrael Shmuel was the rabbi of Kraków ca. 1608. Seemingly, he served previously as rabbi of Brisk, where he was the teacher of R. Yoel Sirkis, author of Bayit Chadash – the Bach, who mentions him: "And so I was taught by my teacher R. Vish (Feivish) of Brisk, Lithuania" (Bach, Orach Chaim 276). In Halachic literature (such as in the Taz, in Eliyahu Raba and others), many halachic rulings are quoted in his name, and his responsa appear in Responsa Bach, Responsa HaGeonim Batra'ei and others. After his passing, his disciple the Bach succeeded him in the rabbinate of Kraków. His son R. Shmuel, whose signature appears here, served as rabbi of Premisla. See enclosed material for more details.
Other ownership inscriptions:
In the margin of p. [221b], two inscriptions in Ashkenazic script appear: "I am Yaakov son of Natan Mashe". The last leaf (leaf [455]) contains additional ownership inscriptions in Ashkenazic script. On the recto: "So says Aharon son of Yisrael"; "I studied in this in the community of [---], so says [---]". On the verso: "Yeshaya…"; "Yokev son of Elyakum known as Getz of Poznań in 1632"; "Binyamin Wolf son of R. Yisrael Moshe".
On the first page, the stamp of "Study hall of the Ashkenazic community in London – Jews' College". Several pages bear stamps of "Daniel son of R. I. – D.I." (the famous philanthropist R. Daniel Yoffe of Berlin, also known as Daniel Itzig, leader of the Berlin community in the late 18th century. He maintained in his home a library of books and manuscripts, and offered financial support to Torah scholars who came to study in his home and library. R. Yosef Teomim, the Pri Megadim, composed most his books in the home of Daniel Yoffe, as he mentions in the prefaces to his books).
The Maharshal – Biography:
The Maharshal – R. Shlomo Luria (ca. 1510-1573), was the Rabbi and yeshiva dean of Lublin and a spiritual giant of Polish Jewry at the beginning of the Acharonim era. A leading Halachic authority and commentator to the Talmud of all generations. He belonged to a generation of Torah scholars such as the Beit Yosef, the Rama and the Arizal. He was presumably born in Brisk, Lithuania, to a family descending from Rashi. In his youth, he moved to Poznań where he was raised by his grandfather – R. Yitzchak Kloiver of Worms, and studied Torah under him, earning him the appellation "Shlomo R. Yitzchak". He disseminated Torah in Brisk and in Ostroh. After the passing of R. Shalom Shachna, Rabbi of Lublin, he succeeded him as rabbi and yeshiva dean.
With his Torah authority and hundreds of disciples, he established the largest Torah center in Poland and its surroundings. In his battle against the Pilpul method of Torah study prevalent at the time, he established his own approach to study. Many of the generation's leading Torah scholars and rabbis of Polish communities were his disciples, including R. Yehoshua Falk HaKohen author of Sema, R. Shlomo Efraim of Luntschitz author of Kli Yakar, R. Chaim of Friedberg brother of the Maharal of Prague, R. Eliyahu Baal Shem of Chelm, R. Binyamin Salonik author of Responsa Masat Binyamin, R. Moshe Mat of Premisla author of Mateh Moshe, and the Shelah.
The leading Torah scholars of his and subsequent generations spoke in effusive terms of his greatness and enormous impact. The Rama, his friend and relative, was also a leader of Polish Jewry in those times and headed a large yeshiva in Kraków. The two exchanged halachic correspondence which sometimes developed into fierce polemics, yet the Rama nevertheless related to him with great reverence and submission, describing him as "fitting to be relied upon like Moshe who heard the Torah directly from G-d".
The famous miracle which occurred to him is recounted by the Chida in Shem HaGedolim (entry Shlomo Luria): One night, while he was studying, his candle burnt low and was about to extinguish, but a miracle transpired and it continued burning until dawn broke. The Maharshal alludes to this miracle in the preface to his book Yam Shel Shlomo, writing that he once received a sign from Heaven through a candle, encouraging him to continue in his studies.
Apart from his expansive commentary work Yam Shel Shlomo, he authored many other significant compositions, including his responsa book (Responsa Maharshal), Kabbalistic works and others. Part of his study methodology was investigating and clarifying the correct text of the classical books, and several of his works consist of corrections of textual errors. The most renowned of them is Chochmat Shlomo, in which he establishes the correct wording of the Babylonian Talmud – a composition which was later integrated in all printed editions of the Talmud.
The Maharshal possessed a particularly extensive library, including many manuscripts, which he utilized for correcting the Talmud (see: R. Y.L. Kliers, The Maharshal's Library, HaMaayan 49, 4 – Tammuz 2009). The famous proofreader of the Kraków printing press, R. Shmuel Pihem, in the foreword to the second edition of Chochmat Shlomo (Kraków 1582), describes the Maharshal's way of work, how he obtained early parchment manuscripts of Talmud, Rashi and Tosafot, and based on them and on the halachic works of Rav Alfas, the Rambam, Semag, Semak, Baal HaTurim, Baal HeAruch and responsa works of Rishonim and Acharonim, he corrected all textual errors, refining and clarifying everything with his pure mind.
Several times in his works, the Maharshal corrects the text based on an "Old Alfasi" or "Parchment Alfasi" which he possessed. This volume is probably the one the Maharshal used when correcting. It is noteworthy that the Maharshal used the Rif's composition extensively in his studies, and there is almost no leaf in Yam Shel Shlomo which does not contain a mention of the Rif.
R. Yair Chaim Bacharach, author of Chavot Yair, writes in one of his responsa (Responsa Chavot Yair, section 43) concerning a rabbi who attempted to contradict the Maharshal's teachings: "...[the Maharshal's] pure soul undoubtedly stemmed from the Atzilut spheres… and he has already been pronounced to have the ability, should the Torah be forgotten, to restore it with his in-depth study… I will not be able to concur with him, far from me to cause offense to G-d's anointed one…". In another responsum (ibid, section 44), he lauds the Maharshal: "From Shlomo until Shlomo, no one arose like Shlomo". In the approbation of the Prague rabbis to Yam Shel Shlomo, they write of the Maharshal: "Almost all the prominent Torah scholars of our times are his disciples and glean from his teachings".
The epitaph on the tombstone of Rebbe Chaim of Sanz, the Divrei Chaim, famously includes: "Of holy descent of the Maharshal". A prevalent Chassidic tradition attests that this was done at the behest of the Divrei Chaim, since the name of the Maharshal has the ability to dispel spiritual impurities.
[455] parchment leaves. Lacking the beginning. Most gatherings contain 6 sheets (12 leaves). 23 cm. Overall good condition. Stains. The first and last leaves are worn and damaged. Small tears in several places. Large tear to leaf [84]. Lower margin of leaf [283] cut out, not affecting text. Margins trimmed, affecting some of the glosses and the titles with the names of the tractates at the top of the leaves. Several natural holes. Red stained edges. New leather binding, with gilt blocking.
Provenance:
1. Collection of the Beit Din and Beit Midrash – London, manuscript no. 10.
2. Christie's – New York, June 1999, lot 7.

Opening275,000$ Sold For393,600$ Including buyers premium

Auction 63 Lot Number 9

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Manuscript, Ir David, by R. David Oppenheim – Author’s Autograph – Unprinted Composition

Manuscript, Ir David, compilation of Chazal teachings in halacha and aggada, with novellae and explanations, by Rabbi David Oppenheim. [Prague, ca. early 18th century].
Manuscript of a monumental composition authored by R. David Oppenheim, comprising a compilation of midrashim and Chazal teachings arranged according to topics, with additions of novellae and explanations. R. David did not succeed in bringing this work to print, and until today it has not been printed (see: H. Michael, Or HaChaim, Frankfurt, 1891, p. 315). Various sections of this composition exist in a number of libraries around the world.
The composition is named "Ir" (= city) and its entries are called "Batim" (= houses, the composition is also called "Sefer HaBatim" [Book of Houses]). A number of manuscripts exist with the "Batim" arranged in alphabetical order, written by a copier, and each of the "Batim" is divided into sub-sections named "Chadarim" (= rooms). This autograph manuscript is from the initial stage of writing, and the entries are not written in any special order but put onto paper as the author happened to write them. Large sections of this manuscript are handwritten by the author, and some sections were written by a copier, at times with amendments and additions in the author's handwriting. Above each section, the author wrote the type of "Bayit" to which the section belongs.
In two places, the author refers to his other books. On p. [15a]: "See my book Yad David at length". On p. [33b], he mentions "my book Yalkut David, leaf 79".
Various novellae and short notes appear on the last leaves, later crossed out (apparently because they were copied elsewhere).
The renowned R. David Oppenheim (1664-1736) was a prominent leader in his times. Outstanding Torah scholar, rabbi and head of yeshiva, kabbalist and posek, wealthy and influential in the Emperor's court. He was a disciple of R. Gershon Ashkenazi, author of Avodat HaGershuni, of R. Yaakov Katz, father of the Chacham Zvi, and of R. Binyamin Epstein, author of Nachalat Binyamin. He had a close relationship with R. Yair Chaim Bacharach, author of Chavot Yair, exchanging with him halachic correspondence. In 1690, while still in his twenties, he was appointed Rabbi of Nikolsburg (Mikulov) and the country of Moravia. Twenty years later, he was appointed Rabbi of Prague, eventually officiating as Chief Rabbi of entire Bohemia. In Prague, he served as rabbi for over 25 years until his death. He wrote about 20 halachic and aggadic books, including Responsa Nish'al David. Only a few of his compositions were printed. Exceptionally wealthy (he inherited his wealth from his father-in-law and from his uncle, R. Shmuel Oppenheim), he had close ties with the Emperor's court and with all the top governing officials. While his books remained in manuscripts, he was very supportive of Torah scholars and assisted them in printing their books. R. David dearly loved books and privately compiled the most important Jewish library in his times, containing thousands of volumes of rare books and manuscripts encompassing a large span of years. After his death, his library was offered for sale and was purchased by the Oxford University Bodleian Library in England.
[80] written leaves (and many more blank leaves). 19 cm. Good condition. A few stains. Light wear. New leather binding.

Opening25,000$ Sold For44,280$ Including buyers premium

Auction 63 Lot Number 10

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Tur Orach Chaim, with Beit Yosef – Signature of R. David Lida Rabbi of Amsterdam – Numerous Glosses

Tur Orach Chaim, by Rabbeinu Yaakov ben Asher, with the Beit Yosef commentary, by R. Yosef Karo. [Venice: Zuan (Giovanni) Griffo, 1566. Lacking title page and first leaves – third edition of the Beit Yosef on Orach Chaim, printed in the lifetime of the author R. Yosef Karo].
Flowery ownership inscription on the first page, in early Ashkenazic script (part of the inscription was deleted): "The blessed G-d with infinite wisdom, granted me this Tur Yoreh De'ah, may He bestow upon me an understanding heart and wisdom, every moment and every hour… so is the prayer of David, the small one, son of R. Aryeh Leib". This is presumably the signature of the renowned R. David Lida Rabbi of Amsterdam, who was a rabbi, Halachic authority, Kabbalist and author of many books, a leading Torah scholar of the 17th century.
The margins contain dozens of lengthy glosses, in Ashkenazic script by several writers, and presumably a large part of them were handwritten by R. David Lida. Some of the glosses pertain to interesting Halachic questions (see Hebrew description), and some contain completions, corrections of printing errors and omissions, and sources.
The Kabbalist R. David Lida (1632?-1696) was a foremost rabbi in his generation. He served as rabbi of several important communities, and was a prolific writer. He was a disciple of the renowned Torah scholar, R. Heschel of Kraków, and a contemporary of the Shach and the Taz. Born is Zwoleń, Volyn, to R. Aryeh Leib and his mother, sister of R. Moshe Rivkes, the Be'er HaGolah, he was also a relative of the Shelah. From 1671, he served as rabbi in several Lithuanian and German cities, including Lida. In 1677, he was appointed rabbi of Mainz, and from 1681, served as rabbi of the Ashkenazi community in Amsterdam, concurrently with R. Yaakov Sasportas who was rabbi of the Sephardic community in Amsterdam.
R. David Lida composed many books on Halacha, Kabbalah and homily: Ir David, Shomer Shabbat, Divrei David, Chalukei Avanim, Sod Hashem, Sharbit HaZahav, Ir Miklat, Migdal David and others. His approbations and forewords appear in many of the books printed in his generation, including the approbation he accorded in 1692 to the printing of Turei Zahav (Taz), by R. David HaLevi (also a disciple of R. Heschel of Kraków. It is interesting to note that their graves are adjacent in the Lviv cemetery). Biographers of R. David Lida note that he authored a composition named Be'er Mayim Chaim on the four parts of Shulchan Aruch, also mentioning a special composition of commentary to Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim, though neither were ever published. It is possible that the handwritten glosses appearing here served as the basis for those compositions. It is also noteworthy that some of the topics discussed at length in his glosses here on the laws of Shabbat, are mentioned briefly in his book Shomer Shabbat (Amsterdam, 1687 – this book was reprinted in Zhovkva 1806 at the initiative of the Maggid of Kozhnitz and with his approbation).
His book Ir Miklat, on the 613 commandements and their reasons, was printed in many editions, some of them with the glosses of the Chida. In 1671, the book was printed in Ungvar (Uzhhorod), at the initiative of Rebbe Tzvi Hirsh of Liska, who added an interesting foreword, dubbing this book, which contains a brief commentary on the Mitzvot according to Kabbalistic teachings, an incredibly beautiful composition - a flawless pearl.
In 1683, R. David was dismissed from the Amsterdam rabbinate, by some members of the community, who opposed and harassed him. They accused him of Sabbateanism, as well as plagiarism regarding his book Migdal David (see below). R. David travelled to Poland to present proofs of his innocence before the sages of the Council of the Four Lands. The Polish rabbis vindicated him, and demanded the Amsterdam community reinstate him in his position. Upon his return to Amsterdam, the case was investigated by the Sephardi rabbis, who also declared him innocent, but he left Amsterdam a short time later, returning to Poland and wandering from city to city, writing and publishing his books. In his preface to his book Migdal David, he recounts how he lost his great wealth due to the persecution he endured in Amsterdam. R. David published a polemic booklet named Be'er Esek (Frankfurt an der Oder, Elul 1684), where he presents the assertions of his innocence he submitted before the Council of the Four Lands, as well as the letters from the rabbis, presidents of the Council, and from the rabbis of Kraków, Lublin and Poznań, who describe the greatness of R. David, and issue a ban on any other rabbi taking the position he was unjustly dismissed from. The holy Kabbalist R. Yitzchak of Poznań commended him: "A great Torah scholar, whom we know from his youth until now… R. David Rabbi of Amsterdam, truly a holy man…". Some of R. David Lida's books aroused much controversy. His book Migdal David on Megillat Ruth (Amsterdam, 1681) raised a great polemic at that time, alleging he concealed the identity of the true author of the composition, R. Chaim HaKohen of Alleppo (R. Chaim HaKohen is only mentioned in the preface to this book, and only in allusion. In subsequent generations, the Yaavetz and the Chida both issued criticism on this fact). His book Siddur Yad Kol Bo, printed in Frankfurt am Main in 1687, also aroused much controversy, due to the integrating of teachings from foreign sources (the book was impinged upon by the publisher who implanted his own additions, unbeknownst to the author's son, R. Petachya of Lida, who brought it to print after his father's passing).
Leaf 24b of the last pagination and the last leaf contain ownership inscriptions, doodles and quill attempts ("Yekutiel Efraim Zalman son of R. Shaul…", "Isak son of R. Pinchas Reich…", and more).
7-24; 460 leaves. Lacking first 6 leaves. 34.5 cm. Varying condition, most of the leaves in good-fair condition. Stains and wear. Worming in several places. Large tears to the first and last leaves, affecting text. Last leaf detached. Without binding.
Litterature: A. Freiman, R. David Lida and his Self-Justification in Be'er Esek, Jubilee Book in Honor of Nachum Sokolow, Warsaw, 1904, pp. 455-480; S. Asaf, The Internal Matters of Polish Jewry, BeOholei Yaakov, Jerusalem 1943, p. 67; R. Y. Halperin, Pinkas Vaad Arba Aratzot, Jerusalem 1945, section 418.
The handwriting and signature of R. David Lida (from later periods, after the passing of his father R. Aryeh Leib), appear in the Oxford-Bodleian manuscript no. 103 – see enclosed photocopy. The flowery style of the ownership inscription and of the signature is typical of R. David Lida's style of writing in the prefaces to his many books and in the numerous approbations he accorded to the books of the scholars of his generation. The expression of the signature "David the small one" appears in the preface to his book Divrei David (Lublin 1671). In that same preface, his father is already mentioned as deceased, while in the signature on this Tur, R. David mentions him with the blessing for longevity, indicating that this book came into R. David's possession before 1671, and prior his appointment as rabbi of Lida.

Opening2,000$ Sold For27,060$ Including buyers premium

Auction 63 Lot Number 11

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Halachic Responsum Handwritten and Signed by Chacham Tzvi – Apta, 1716

Handwritten leaf, autograph of the Chacham Tzvi, signed "Tzviash" (acronym of Tzvi ben Yaakov Ashkenazi). Apta (Opatów), 1716.
Halachic responsum pertaining to laws of a Chametz mixture which was owned by a Jew over Passover. The first few lines containing a preliminary version of this responsum were crossed out, and the final version was written between the lines. This responsum was published in the responsa book by his son, Divrei Rav Meshulam (Korets, 1783), section 9, amongst responsa copied from a manuscript of Chacham Tzvi Ashkenazi, and was printed based on that, with a few errors, in the Tosafot Chadashim section of Responsa Chacham Tzvi, section 33 and in the new edition of Responsa Chacham Tzvi (with Likutei He'arot, Jerusalem, 2000) part II, section 79.
R. Tzvi Ashkenazi – the Chacham Tzvi (1658-1718) was a foremost Torah scholar of his times, leading Halachic authority and holy kabbalist (on his tombstone in Lviv, his son the Yaavetz engraved the epitaph: "Unique in his generation… the great and pious Torah scholar… great and awe-inspiring Kabbalist"). He was born in Alt-Ofen (Óbuda, Budapest) to parents who fled Vilna in the wake of the Chmielnicki massacres. He studied under his grandfather, the Shaar Efraim, and under R. Eliyahu Cobo, a Torah scholar of Salonika. From there, he went to study under Turkish Torah scholars, who ordained him Chacham, and was since known as Chacham Tzvi. He served as rabbi of Sarajevo, Altona and Hamburg. In 1710, he was appointed rabbi of Amsterdam, where he published his book Responsa of Chacham Tzvi (Amsterdam, 1712). In 1714, following his opposition to the Sabbatean Nechemia Hayun, he was compelled to leave Amsterdam and flee to London. The Sephardi community in London wished to appoint him Chief Rabbi, but he preferred to continue to Poland, which he reached by travelling through Hanover, Berlin, Breslau and Apta. In 1717, he was appointed rabbi of Lemberg (Lviv). His biography was published in the book Megillat Sefer composed by his son the Yaavetz (acronym of Yaakov ben Tzvi)
His descendants include: His son R. Yaakov Emden – the Yaavetz, who dedicated his life to perpetuate his father's battle against Sabbateanism; his son-in-law R. Aryeh Leib Rabbi of Amsterdam, his son R. Efraim of Brody, his son R. Meshulam Zalman of Ostroh (author of Divrei Rav Meshulam), and others. Many prominent Torah scholars and Chassidic leaders claim descendance of the Chacham Tzvi, and many of them mention it in their books: R. Yosef Shaul Nathansohn (who cites "my grandfather Chacham Tzvi" in dozens of places in his responsa Shoel UMeishiv), R. Simcha Zissel Ziv-Broide the Saba of Kelm (see: Chochma UMussar, I, p. 57), R. Chaim of Sanz (who mentions his grandfather Chacham Tzvi in many places in his books Divrei Chaim). The tombstone of the Divrei Chaim mentions his lineage: "of holy descent of the Maharshal and Chacham Tzvi" (a tradition of Sanz Chassidim attests to the great Segula of mentioning their ancestor Chacham Tzvi on their tombstone).
[1] leaf. 30.5 cm. Approx. 35 handwritten lines and signature (the signature appears in the center of the page). Thick, high-quality paper. Very good condition.

Opening30,000$ Sold For41,820$ Including buyers premium

Auction 63 Lot Number 12

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Sheyarei Knesset HaGedolah – Handwritten Glosses of Rabbi Yaakov Emden

Sheyarei Knesset HaGedolah, Orach Chaim, by R. Chaim Benveniste. Constantinople, [1729]. Second edition.
Copy of R. Yaakov Emden – the Yaavetz. Many glosses in his handwriting, some long and scholarly, often containing sharp and outspoken criticism: "…This makes no sense…", "This is not difficult because…", "I do not know what possessed him, it seems that he was confused", etc. Some glosses were slightly trimmed in the process of trimming the margins.
Similarities to some of the content of these glosses can be found in his book Mor U'Ketzia [expanded and with variations, for example see: Mor U'Ketzia, Orach Chaim, end of Siman 10; end of Siman 271; Siman 487; etc. However, this book contains a long gloss, in Siman 489, the content of which is not printed in Mor U'Ketzia].
R. Yaakov Yisrael Emden – the Yaavetz (1698-1776), eldest son of R. Tzvi Ashkenazi, author of Chacham Tzvi. An exceptional Torah scholar in all facets of Torah, a leading sage in those years who boasted many outstanding scholars. He is considered one of the most prominent sages of the later generations. Famous zealot, he staunchly fought the followers of Sabbatai Zevi and the Frankists (upon suspecting that Rabbi Jonathan Eybeschutz joined the Sabbateans, he did not hesitate to open a fierce battle against a famous accepted Torah scholar and pamphlets supporting and opposing R. Jonathan shook the entire Jewish population in those days). The Yaavetz wrote dozens of compositions, which he himself printed in the private printing press he established in his home in Altona. His halachic works, Mor U'Ketzia and Responsa She'elat Yaavetz, his rulings in the siddur Amudei Shamayim and his composition Lechem Shamayim on the Mishnah are often cited in books of rabbinic rulings. While studying, R. Yaakov was accustomed to writing sharp profound glosses in his books. The glosses he wrote on the pages of his Talmud were printed in the Vilna editions of the Talmud.
[2], 143; 7 leaves. 31 cm. High-quality paper. Good condition. Stains. Dark dampstains on leaves 87-88. Worming to several leaves. New, elegant, leather binding.

Opening10,000$ Sold For27,060$ Including buyers premium

Auction 63 Lot Number 13

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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.

Opening120,000$ Sold For233,700$ Including buyers premium

Auction 63 Lot Number 14

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Letter from Rabbi Tevele of Lissa – To the Lissa Community Leaders – Horchov, 1775

Lengthy, interesting letter from the renowned Torah scholar R. David Tevele, Rabbi of Lissa (Leszno), addressed to the Lissa community leaders prior to his arrival to serve as rabbi of the city. Horchov (Horokhiv; Galicia), Rosh Chodesh Av eve, 1775.
This letter was written at the end of his tenure as rabbi of Horchov, and in his signature, he already refers to himself as rabbi of Lissa: "David Tevele of Brody, Rabbi of Lissa". R. David Tevele writes of his love for Lissa (then a city abounding with Torah scholars), and about the extensive amount of money he disbursed in his preparations for moving from Horchov to Lissa (which is in a different country), writing that it was all worthwhile for the merit of joining the Lissa community. He refers to his wife's illness, and to the difficulties involved in the move, noting that he very much hopes to reach Lissa in time for the date mentioned in his rabbinic appointment.
R. David Tevele, Rabbi of Lissa (d. Tevet 1792), a leading Torah scholar in the times of the Noda BiYehuda, was the son of R. Natan Notte, Rabbi of Brody, and one of the ten Brody scholars involved in the Cleves divorce polemic. He served as rabbi of Zaslov (Iziaslav) and Horchov, and in ca. 1774 was appointed rabbi of the great city of Lissa. This letter however, written in the summer of 1775, explicitly states that he had not yet actually arrived in Lissa. Another important dayan served in his Beit Din in Lissa, also named David Tevele, and their signatures sometimes appear together on one court ruling, with one signing as "David Tevele son of R. M. of Gritz", and the other (the rabbi of the city) signing "David Tevele of Brod".
All the leading Torah scholars of the generation accepted his authority, and from all corners of the country, people came to be judged before him and hear his Torah view. R. David Tevele issued approbations to many books, and letters from him and halachic rulings in his name are quoted in various responsa books. He exchanged halachic correspondence with the leading Torah scholars of his generation, especially with the Noda BiYehuda, R. Meshulam Igra, R. Chaim Kohen of Lvov, R. Meir Posner of Schottland author of Beit Meir, R. Meir Weill of Berlin and R. Akiva Eiger (who was his cherished disciple in Lissa in his youth). One of his famous disciples is R. Baruch Fränkel, author of Baruch Taam.
He was reputed for the battles he waged against the Haskalah movement, and became famous for his opposition of the 'enlightened' Naftali Herz Wessely and his books (correspondence between him and the Haflaa on this matter was recently published, see Beit Aharon VeYisrael, 46, pp. 147-156, and 44, pp. 114-131; 45, pp. 127-133).
He endeavored to quieten the polemic against the Chassidic movement, his words carrying weight amongst the leaders of his generation. Historic literature of Polish Chassidism includes two stories relating to this: Shem HaGedolim HaChadash (Maarechet Gedolim, letter P, entry R. Pinchas author of Haflaa), records that R. Tzvi Hirsh HaLevi, author of Likutei Tzvi, possessed a letter written by the Haflaa to R. David Tevele of Lissa, requesting the latter speak to R. Yosef of Posnan, to ask his father-in-law, the Noda BiYehuda, rabbi of Prague, not to upset the holy R. Michel of Zlotchov, who's intents are solely the sake of Heaven, testified R. Shmelke of Nikolsburg, therefore he shouldn’t be disrupted from his worship.
A different source recounts that when Noda BiYehuda, opposing the book Toldot Yaakov Yosef, wished to issue a ban commanding the book to be burnt, R. Shmelke and his brother the Haflaa wrote to R. Tevele of Lissa requesting he quieten the polemic, and R. Tevele wrote a letter to the Noda BiYehuda asking him not to quarrel with disciples of the Baal Shem Tov and of the Maggid of Mezeritch, whose ways differ from ours, yet they intend for the sake of Heaven. The Noda BiYehuda obeyed him and withdrew (Shem HaTov, Petrikev [Piotrków Trybunalski] 1905, p. 94, section 85, quoting the introduction to Nefesh David).
In his book Nefesh David on the Torah, printed in Premisla (Przemysl) in 1878, R. David Tevele quotes a thought in the name of the Maggid of Mezeritch (Nefesh David, Parashat Vayeira, p. 6a).
[1] double leaf, approx. 22.5 cm. Written by a scribe and signed by R. David Tevele. Good-fair condition. Damage to the center of the text, repaired with adhesive tape. Stains and creases. Folding marks. On the verso of the leaf: Address and wax seal remnants.

Opening1,000$ Sold For11,070$ Including buyers premium

Auction 63 Lot Number 15

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Leaves Handwritten by Rabbi Yaakov of Lissa, Author of Netivot HaMishpat – Sections from his Work Beit Yaakov on Tractate Ketubot

Two leaf fragments (from a bindings geniza), containing novellae pertaining to topics in Tractate Ketubot, handwritten by R. Yaakov Lorberbaum, Rabbi of Lissa (Leszno), author of Netivot HaMishpat and Chavat Daat. [Lissa, ca. 1820].
Sections of Beit Yaakov, his work on Tractate Ketubot (leaf 5 and leaves 12-13) and on Shulchan Aruch Even HaEzer, laws of Ketubot (section 68). Author's autograph, with additions and deletions. Beit Yaakov on Tractate Ketubot and on Shulchan Aruch, laws of Ketubot was published in the author's lifetime (Hrubieszów, 1823). The results of our research suggest that these leaves are preliminary drafts in preparation of the composition, with many differences in the wording of these leaves in comparison with the wording of the printed edition.
The famed Torah scholar R. Yaakov Lorberbaum Rabbi of Lissa (1770-1832), was a foremost rabbi and halachic authority in his times. A close friend of the Ketzot HaChoshen and R. Akiva Eiger, he served also as dean of the Lissa yeshiva, and many of the leading Torah scholars in Poland and Prussia (Germany) were his disciples. A prolific author, his works include: Netivot HaMishpat, Chavat Daat, Beit Yaakov, Torat Gittin, Mekor Chaim, Derech Chaim and others. He challenges the Ketzot HaChoshen extensively in Netivot HaMishpat, and the Ketzot HaChoshen refuted some of his objections in the booklet Meshovev Netivot (more recent edition of Netivot HaMishpat [Lviv, 1835; an in editions from 1990 onwards], contain additions based on manuscripts, clarifications and responses to the words of the Meshovev Netivot). The works of R. Yaakov of Lissa were accepted as halachically applicable, and according to the tradition of dayanim, his rulings are followed even when he differs from other great Torah scholars of his generation.
[2] double leaves, damaged [sections from 8 written pages]. Varying size: Approx. 23X19 cm; approx. 20.5X19 cm. Poor condition. Leaves torn and trimmed. Worming affecting text. Glue stains

Opening5,000$ Sold For6,765$ Including buyers premium

Auction 63 Lot Number 16

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A Letter Handwritten and Signed by Rabbi Akiva Eger – Posen, 1820

Handwritten leaf, copying of an endorsement by Tiktin rabbis of a halachic ruling by the city's rabbi, author of Agudat Ezov, followed by a letter of endorsement handwritten and signed by R. Akiva Eger. Posen, Adar 1820.
The leaf opens with a copying of the endorsement of Tiktin dayanim of two rulings permitting women to reunite with their husbands by the rabbi of the city, R. Moshe Ze'ev Margaliot. Members of the Beit Din, R. "Yehuda Leib son of R. Y.L. Kahana" and R. "Aryeh Leib HaLevi" begin their endorsement with praise of the rabbi of the city, R. Moshe Ze'ev, asserting the truth of all his teachings.
This copying is followed by three lines of endorsement handwritten and signed by R. Akiva Eger, praising R. Moshe Ze'ev and approving his ruling without any doubt whatsoever. Dated: "Thursday, the 16th of Adar 1820 in Posen, Akiva Ginzman".
This letter was printed in Moshe Ze'ev Margaliot's Agudat Ezov responsa, Even HaEzer, Vilna 1885, Section 2. [See ibid. Sections 1-2 with the two responsa of R. Moshe Ze'ev, the focus of these endorsements. The endorsements are printed there in Siman 2 together with another responsum by R. Akiva Eger in which he resumes a discussion on this treatise]. Apparently, this leaf was originally included in a pamphlet with copies of the responsa of the author of Agudat Ezov sent to R. Akiva Eger for his opinion. The latter endorsed the content and sent it back. Later the content of this leaf was printed in the book Agudat Ezov, preceded by several lines of introduction. Two sections of the second letter by R. Akiva Eger on this topic were copied on the verso.
[1] leaf. 20 cm. Good condition. Stains. Damage and tears to margins, slightly affecting a few letters.

Opening20,000$ Sold For24,600$ Including buyers premium

Auction 63 Lot Number 17

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Complete Booklet of Novellae in the Handwriting of the Chatam Sofer – Ten Handwritten Leaves – Pressburg, 1826

"B'Ezrat Hashem, Novellae of Halacha and Tosafot to Tractate Bava Metzia 45b Sugya Matbe'a Naasa Chalifin, Pressburg… 23rd Marcheshvan [1826]".
Complete 10-page booklet containing Torah novellae handwritten by the author of the Chatam Sofer on the treatise of Matbe'a Naasa Chalifin. Autograph, with several handwritten erasures and additions in the margins, all in his own handwriting. At the top of each leaf, the Chatam Sofer wrote the title: "B'Ezrat Hashem, Bava Metzia 45b Sugya Matbe'a Naasa Chalifin".
First printed in the Chatam Sofer responsa, Part 7, Siman 35 (later printed again in the Chatam Sofer novellae on the Talmud, Bava Metzia, Jerusalem 1991, p. 11 and on).
[10] leaves. 19 and a half pages (more than 500 lines) in the handwriting of the Chatam Sofer. 24 cm. Good condition. Stains. Dark stains in a few places. Tear to bottom left corner of leaf 8, not affecting text. Separate leaves.
Out of love and reverence of the teachings of the Chatam Sofer, his descendants and disciples kept his autograph writings as a segula for Yirat Shamayim and for deliverance (see following text).

Opening100,000$ Sold For123,000$ Including buyers premium

Auction 63 Lot Number 18

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Handwritten Leaf from a Booklet of Responsa of the Chatam Sofer – With his Signature

Large leaf, written on both sides, from a booklet of the responsa of the Chatam Sofer, handwritten and signed by the Chatam Sofer. Mattersdorf (Mattersburg), [early 1800s].
Leaf from a booklet of responsa by the Chatam Sofer. Autograph with erasures, revisions and additions between the lines and in the margins. On the recto is the end of a responsum written by the Chatam Sofer to his disciple with guidance in the principles of proper conduct and honoring sages. His signature appears at the end: "Signed here in Mattersdorf Erev Shabbat Parshat Re'eh… Moshe Sofer of Frankfurt am Main", followed by another passage [crossed out]: "I forgot to warn the already cautious… 'The cow wants to nurse more than the calf wants to suckle', and this warning does not contain any new halacha. I will inform you of something which took place in our neighborhood and is related to your issue and which seems to me to be the halachic ruling, and this is what happened".
On the verso, the Chatam Sofer copies a responsum he wrote in the past regarding a community which held elections to appoint a rabbi. After a candidate was elected, many votes were discovered to be invalid since the voters received bribes to vote for the chosen contestant: "Thereafter, the members of the community complained to me claiming that now they do not want this rabbi due to the improper course of events. The dispute flared and the community was divided into two. I took upon myself to bring peace to the ravaged community to bring them to a compromise for the honor of the Torah and for the sake of peace…".
The first letter was printed in the Chatam Sofer responsa, Part 6, Siman 59, and the second was printed in the Chatam Sofer responsa, Part 5 – Choshen Mishpat, Siman 160. The passage connecting the two responsa was omitted from the book of responsa and later printed in Likutei Teshuvot Chatam Sofer, Siman 81.
The city of Mattersdorf appears in the signature of the Chatam Sofer on this leaf, attesting that these responsa were written in the early 1800s during his tenure as rabbi there (until 1807), before he officiated as Rabbi of Pressburg.
[1] leaf, [2] written pages (approx. 70 lines handwritten by the Chatam Sofer). 29 cm. Good condition. Stains, wear and minor tears to margins. Folding marks.
Out of love and reverence of the teachings of the Chatam Sofer, his descendants and disciples kept his autograph writings as a segula for Yirat Shamayim and for deliverance (see page 48).

Opening25,000$ Sold For36,900$ Including buyers premium
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