The Auction was held on 13/11/18
Download PDF VersionDownload PDF
Parchment manuscript, Kiddush Levana, with Yiddish instructions and kabbalistic practices. [Germany], 1726. Illustrated title page.
Small format. Brown and black ink on parchment. Square (vocalized) and semi-cursive Ashkenazic script. Enlarged initial words, one with hollow letters and one colored with gold ink. An illustrated title page opens the manuscript, with the name of the owner (who ordered the manuscript) in the center and note of the year: "Belongs to… Yoel son of R. Lima Segal, 1726".
The following inscription appears at the top of the page following the title page: "See my sons, who are scrupulous in observing the mitzvah of Kiddush Levana". This is followed by a section beginning with: "The Kabbalists have written that performing the mitzvah of Kiddush Levana on Motzei Shabbat in festive attire is a great mitzvah…".
Instructions in Yiddish, in semi-cursive Ashkenazic script. For example, before the words "Baruch Yotzrech, Baruch Osech", are instructions to recite these words three times and to have the intent that the initial letters compose the name "Yaakov".
Written on p. [7b]: "The Kabbalists say that one should also recite chapter 67 in Tehillim and shake out the hems of their clothing to chase away the 'kelipot' and this is a great and awesome secret".
The back endpaper bears a late penciled inscription: "This Kiddush Levana was given to me as a gift by my father in 1878".
 leaves. 12.5 cm. Good-fair condition. Stains and wear. Early binding, velvet-covered wood, partially damaged.
Illuminated Manuscript on Parchment, with Gold Leaf Illuminated Initial Words – Seder Tikunei Shabbat by the Arizal, including Songs for Shabbat and Shabbat Evening – Pressburg, 1744 – With Original Leather Binding
Illuminated manuscript on parchment, Seder Tikunei Shabbat by R. Yitzchak Luria Ashkenazi (the Arizal). Pressburg, 1744.
Stated in the lower part of the title page: "Written here in Pressburg in 1744".
Pocket format. Ink on parchment. Original leather binding with clasp, with fine floral ornaments.
Illustrated title page depicting an architectural facade consisting of two columns with a cornice, flanked with the images of Moshe and Aharon, and topped with a medallion containing the image of David playing a harp. The initial words within the manuscript are illuminated with miniature floral motifs, several initial words are overlaid with gold leaf, with engraved ornaments to some of them.
This manuscript is inscribed upon 36 parchment leaves. Vocalized square Ashkenazic script, of varying sizes, and semi-cursive (Rashi) script, particularly for the instructions.
The manuscript contains: Laws of reciting the weekly portion, the Psalms of Kabbalat Shabbat, the piyyutim Lecha Dodi and Shalom Aleichem, Order for the first meal, the Seder Tikkun for the day meals (including sections of Shir HaShirim and of Mishnayot Tractate Shabbat), Kiddush and Zemirot, the Seder Tikkun for Shabbat evening, with songs for Shabbat evening.
This Tikkun Shabbat manuscript, with its illustrated title page and ornaments, is characteristic of the Moravian school of art active in the 18th century. The illustrator of this manuscript was presumably familiar with books produced by members of this school: Aaron Wolf Schreiber Herlingen of Gewitsch, Meshulam Simmel of Polna and others.
 + 1 empty, parchment leaves (70 written pages). 11.5 cm. Good condition. Stains, mainly to the margins. Gilt edges. Original leather binding, with embossed ornaments and original silver clasp. Slight damage and cracks to binding.
Regarding the artists of the Moravian school, see: Shalom Sabar, Seder Birkat HaMazon, Vienna, 1719/20 – The Earliest Known Illuminated Manuscript by the Scribe-Artist Aaron Wolf Schreiber Herlingen of Gewitsch, in Zechor Davar LeAvdecha: Essays and Studies in Memory of Prof. Dov Rappel, edited by Shmuel Glick and Avraham Grossman, Jerusalem: The Center for Jewish Educational Thought in Memory of Dov Rappel, Lifshitz College, pp. 455-472 and plates 8-17.
Esther scroll inscribed on parchment and a parchment leaf with the scroll's blessings, written and illustrated by the scribe Yehiel Menahem ben Avraham Urbino of Mantua. Gazzuolo (a town 20 kilometers from Mantua), Adar 1776.
"HaMelech" scroll (most columns begin with the word "HaMelech", king), with fine crown-shaped decorations above each appearance of "HaMelech".
Preceding the first column is a large illustration depicting some scenes from the scroll's narrative, against the background of an urban European scene showing, among other things, towers, spires and a fountain. Appearing alongside the illustrations are the relevant Biblical verses (in Hebrew) – "gather all the beautiful young virgins to the harem in Susa the capital, under custody of Hegai", "so they hanged Haman" and "thus shall it be done to the man whom the king delights to honor". At the bottom of the illustration, on the parchment's margin, the author signed his name as follows: "By he who performs holy service in Gazzuolo, the young scribe Yehiel Menahem son of Urbino, Thursday 9th Adar, ".
Apparently, while writing and illustrating the present scroll, Urbino had before him an Esther scroll printed in Venice in 1746, with magnificent frames – detailed engravings – by the Italian author and craftsman Francesco Griselini. The illustration preceding the first column is based on Griselini's illustration. Similarly, in the illustration depicting Jerusalem, appearing at the bottom of the leaf of blessings, Urbino apparently took as a model a similar illustration printed in the Amsterdam Haggadah of 1695.
We know of three manuscripts by Yehiel Menahem ben Avraham Urbino, who was the scribe and cantor of the Ashkenazi synagogue in Mantua in the 1740s: two are compilations of the "year-round customs" of the Great Ashkenazi Synagogue in Mantua (attended by, among others, some of Mantua's rabbis, including Rabbi Yehuda Briel, Rabbi Yaakov Saraval, Rabbi Azriel Yitzhak HaLevi and Rabbi Shmuel Chaim Sinigalia). These two compilations are kept in the Meir Benayahu collection and the collection of the New York Theological Seminary. The third manuscript, "Seder HaHoshanot" of the Ashkenazi community in Mantua, is kept in the Bill Gross collection.
For additional information on the scribe Yehiel Menahem ben Avraham Urbino, see the essay by Rabbi Z.Y. Dunner, "Seder of the Year-Round Customs of the Ashkenazi Community in Mantua, Italy" (in "Min HaGenazim", edited by Rabbi Shalom Hillel, vol. 6, pp. 106-109).
Leaf of blessings: ca. 24X21 cm. Right margin cut in a non-uniform manner. Stains, creases and small tears to margins. Height of parchment in the scroll: 24 cm. Tears to beginning of first membrane. Stains. Placed in hard wooden case with velvet lining on the inside.
Esther scroll on gevil, in a luxurious case decorated with damascene work. Near East (Syria/Iraq), 19th century (dedication from 1853).
Ink on gevil; Repoussé brass, inlaid with silver and copper (damascene work).
Scribal writing (STaM) characteristic of the Syrian-Iraqi region in the late 19th century, on light brown gevil, 18 lines per column.
Rolled on a brass handle and inserted in a large case decorated with damascene work, in dense geometrical and vegetal patterns. At the top and bottom of the case are bands of text (in Hebrew) that complement each other: "There was a Jew in Susa the capital / whose name was Mordecai, the son of Jair, son of Shimei, son of". At the center of the case, inside four stylized medallions, is the verse "The Jews had / light and gladness / and joy and honor", followed by "and the year 5613 (תרי"ג)" (a sign whose meaning we could not decipher is inscribed inside the letter ר).
Parchment height: 21 cm. Fair-good condition. Some tears and defects. Repairs in a number of places. Height of case: 41 cm (including handle). The bottom end of the handle is broken. A piece is missing from the top end (where the cover fits onto the case, with a new screw). Some pieces are missing from the inlay.
Ketubah documenting the marriage of the groom Yosef son of the late Yaakov Teixeira de Mattos, with the bride Yehudit daughter of the late Avraham Chizkiya Nunez Henriques. Amsterdam, Netherlands, 4th Tammuz, [July] 1723. Bearing two signatures of Chacham Shlomo Ayllon, Rabbi of the Spanish-Portuguese community in Amsterdam.
Spanish-Dutch parchment Ketubah, adorned with a high-quality copper engraving: In the right and left margins are two vases containing large bouquets, on which various birds and animals are perched. These are topped by images of a bride and groom in contemporary attire (on the right) and a mother with two children (on the left; an allegory of Caritas [charity]). The text is written in Sephardic script and appears between two rounded pillars entwined with branches, crowned with an arch. On both sides of the arch are two Cherubs holding a drapery bearing the inscription "B'Siman Tov". At the bottom of the engraving is a large Rococo cartouche in which the Tena'im were written.
Two inscriptions in Latin characters appear in the bottom margin - on the left: "27 Adar Seni A° 5453 Yom Sabat Kodes", and on the right: "H. Y. Aboab", referring to the date of the death (27th Adar II 1693) of Chacham Isaac Aboab (da Fonseca, the III), revered rabbi of Amsterdam.
The inspiration for this copper engraving was the design of two Dutch ketubot created in 1648 and in 1654 by the artist and engraver Shalom Mordechai Italia. Shalom Italia, who arrived in Holland from Mantua, was also known for creating two Scrolls of Esther and portraits of Jacob Judah Leon Templo and of Menasseh ben Israel.
At the bottom of the ketubah are the signatures of the groom (in Latin characters) and of the witnesses: "Shlomo son of R. Yaakov Ayllon", "Yaakov ibn Yakar Bondia". The first signatory is Chacham Shlomo Ayllon, Rabbi of the Spanish-Portuguese community in Amsterdam. His signature (together with that of the second witness) appears again at the end of the Tena'im, inscribed in the lower cartouche. The Ketubah and the Tena'im mention the name of the notary who drew up this contract – "the famous notary… Peter Iscabali…".
R. Shlomo Ayllon (ca. 1660-1728), born in Salonika (or Safed), served as emissary of the Safed community in Europe, residing also in Izmir, Turkey and in Livorno. He was later appointed Chacham of the Spanish-Portuguese community (the Marrano community) in London. From there, he moved over to serve as rabbi of the Spanish-Portuguese community in Amsterdam, alongside Chacham Tzvi, then rabbi of the Ashkenazi community. He was suspected of Sabbateanism, resulting in his involvement in polemics on that topic in London and Amsterdam. His rulings and responsa are quoted in halachic books. Some of his writings are extant in manuscript (see enclosed material).
41X34 cm. A few stains. Creases. Minute marginal tears.
1. Ketubbah: Jewish marriage contracts of the Hebrew Union College Skirball Museum and Klau Library, by Shalom Sabar (NY, 1990), pp. 265-270.
2. The Oeuvre of the Jewish Engraver Salom Italia, by Mordechai Narkis, in: Tarbitz, Vol. 25, Issue 4, Tammuz 1956, pp. 441-451; Vol. 26, Issue 1, Tishrei 1956, pp. 87-101.
3. HaKetubah B'Iturim, by David Davidowitz. Tel Aviv: A. Levine-Epstein, 1979, pp. 21-24.
The Book of Lamentations, an illuminated manuscript on parchment. Written and illustrated by Shlomo Yedidya Seelenfreund. Jerusalem, [1940s-50s].
The title page bears a medallion with the word "Eichah" and an illustration of the city of Jerusalem burning, in black and red; under it: "Shlomo Yedidya Seelenfreund, Jerusalem". On each of the following pages, the text appears within a decorative frame. The illustrations and titles of the frames reflect the text.
Shlomo Yedidya (Salamon Seelenfreund) was born in 1875 to Elazar Ze'ev Lajos HaKohen Seelenfreund and to Léni, née Weiszburg, in Szentes, Hungary. Two years later his father was appointed dayan by the Szeged community and the family moved there. At the age of 16, he left Szeged and moved to Budapest to start his education as an artist. He studied in the school of arts and worked in printing presses and in various graphic design workshops. Later on, Shlomo Yedidya left Hungary and stayed in Rome, Paris and Germany, studying in various art workshops. When he returned to Hungary, he established a workshop and got married (ca. 1898) to Shoshana, also née Weiszburg. Through publicity in art periodicals, he became known as an artist and a teacher of the arts. He was invited to design and decorate the new Neological synagogue in Szeged, inaugurated in 1903. He held solo exhibitions and took part in group exhibitions in Szeged (1910) and in Budapest. Moved to Eretz Israel in 1921 with his family, settled in Jerusalem and started a workshop which was open to visitors on Saturday. Later, the family joined the small moshav Beit Talma in Emek HaArazim (close to Motza, near Jerusalem), where they built a house and grew some field and garden plants.
During the 1929 riots, on Saturday, August 24, the house and its contents were burnt - including plans, works of art and equipment - and whatever remained was stolen. The family was evacuated from the house on time and was saved. In 1940, after wandering between apartments in Tel Aviv, Shlomo Yedidya and his son, Yehuda, settled in Givatayim. In 1947, Shlomo and his wife Shoshana moved to the Yavneh retirement home in Tel Aviv. When the War of Independence broke out and the Egyptians bombed Tel Aviv, their room was hit while they were away and many of Yedidya's works were destroyed. Shoshana Yedidya passed away in 1958. Three years later (1961) Shlomo Yedidya passed away. (The biography of Shlomo Yedidya is based on an essay by Timna Rubinger, published by the Memorial Museum of the Hungarian Speaking Jewry in Safed. The essay includes a lot more information about Yedidya).
 leaves. 14 cm. Original leather binding, somewhat worn, with a decorated metal clasp. Good condition. Leaves partly detached. A single worming hole to inner binding, front endpaper and title page.
Shiviti Leaf with LaMenatze’ach Menorah Illustration, Commentaries and Segulot – Printed on Parchment by the Kabbalist Rabbi Avraham Alnakar – Livorno, 1793 – First Menorah Printed on Parchment Following the Words of the Chida
Shiviti leaf with a LaMenatze'ach Menorah, including commentaries and segulot, by the kabbalist R. Avraham Alnakar. [Livorno, 1793].
Copper-engraving on parchment, two pages side by side. At the top of the right-hand page, the Shiviti text with Holy Names appears. The center of the page is occupied by a fine illustration of the Menorah and its utensils, with Kabbalistic commentaries and allusions to the LaMenatze'ach Psalm. The left-hand page bears a horseshoe arch-shaped ornamented border, surrounded by Kabbalistic allusions.
A long passage by the author, R. Avraham Alnakar, was printed within the arch, describing the segula of the LaMenatze'ach Psalm in the form of a Menorah. He mentions the words of his close colleague, the Chida, on the importance of writing this Psalm specifically on parchment: "…to be zealous every day to recite the LaMenatze'ach BiNeginot Psalm handwritten on parchment in the form of a Menorah, since its segula is well-known… as it says in Tziporen HaShamir by the Chida…". This printing was presumably effected following the words of the Chida, the first known source recording the significance of writing the LaMenatze'ach Menorah on parchment.
R. Avraham writes that he left the Menorah branches hollow, in order to subsequently complete the verses by hand, since the verses of the Psalm need to be handwritten rather than printed. A copy exists with the Psalm filled in by hand, however in this copy, the Menorah branches remain empty, and only the first verse was inscribed above the branches.
R. Avraham further writes that he toiled extensively over the drawing of the Menorah with all its details, and instructs how and what to intend when contemplating the Menorah. He then brings ten distinctive segulot of reciting the LaMenatze'ach Psalm in form of a Menorah, especially from a handwritten one. Amongst the segulot: "Whoever sees this Psalm every day in form of a Menorah will find favor in the eyes of G-d and man…"; "If it is illustrated on the Holy Ark in a synagogue, it will protect the congregation from all harm"; "Whoever says it from a handwritten text at sunrise, no adverse incidents will occur to him"; "Whoever recites it from a handwritten text seven times - it is as if he is receiving the Shechina, and he will never lack sustenance…"; "Whoever recites it from a handwritten text during the days of the Omer counting after the blessing of the Kohanim, no harm will befall him the whole year…"; "Whoever says it seven times while travelling, will go in peace and with success", and more.
The year of printing appears at the foot of the page, at the end of his words.
R. Avraham Alnakar (1740-1803), rabbi and kabbalist, was a Torah scholar of Fez. In his travels, he reached Livorno, Italy, where he settled and became close to the Chida. In Livorno, he published a machzor with a commentary he composed, first named Machzor Katan, and later published as Zechor L'Avraham. He arranged the machzor with the assistance and guidance of the Chida. This machzor is highly widespread and was reprinted in many editions. The printing of this Menorah may have also been under the guidance or encouragement of the Chida. Toldot Gedolei Yisrael U'Geonei Italia (Neppi-Ghirondi, p. 47) mentions a "Commentary on the Menorah" printed in Livorno by R. Avraham, referring to this sheet (see: M. Narkiss, Biur al HaMenorah shel Avraham Alnakar, Kiryat Sefer 11, 4 , p. 506).
 parchment leaf. 26X17.5 cm. Good condition. Light stains. Bound in paper wrappers with thread (with holes in the center for binding). Minor marginal tears, not affecting text.
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.
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 ) 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.
 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 . Lower margin of leaf  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.
1. Collection of the Beit Din and Beit Midrash – London, manuscript no. 10.
2. Christie's – New York, June 1999, lot 7.
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.
 written leaves (and many more blank leaves). 19 cm. Good condition. A few stains. Light wear. New leather binding.
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.
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).
 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.
Sheyarei Knesset HaGedolah, Orach Chaim, by R. Chaim Benveniste. Constantinople, . 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.
, 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.
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 +  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.
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).
 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.
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.
 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
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.
 leaf. 20 cm. Good condition. Stains. Damage and tears to margins, slightly affecting a few letters.
"B'Ezrat Hashem, Novellae of Halacha and Tosafot to Tractate Bava Metzia 45b Sugya Matbe'a Naasa Chalifin, Pressburg… 23rd Marcheshvan ".
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).
 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).
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.
 leaf,  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).
Large handwritten volume – Shemen Rokeach, novellae on Tractate Beitzah, and on various Talmudic treatises and subjects, Mahadura Kama of the printed book, handwritten and signed by the author R. Elazar Löw, Rabbi of Trietsch (Moravia). Trietsch, 1801-1803.
Most of the manuscript (approximately 70 leaves) contains novellae on Tractate Beitzah. Novellae on several treatises in Tractates Pesachim, Bava Metzia and Shevuot appear at the end of the manuscript. Most of the manuscript is handwritten by the author, only a few pages (about seven pages) were written by a scribe. Many deletions, revisions and additions between the lines appear throughout the manuscript.
For the course of two years, the author toiled over this composition while studying Tractate Beitzah with his disciples in the yeshiva, as evident from inscriptions at the beginning and end of this manuscript. Many ownership inscriptions appear on the front endpapers including a preface handwritten and signed by the author: "Here in Trietsch, Tuesday Rosh Chodesh Iyar 1801, halachic novellae of Tractate Beitzah... Elazar author of the Shemen Rokeach responsa and Sama D'Chayei and Torat Chessed and Zer Zahav, here in the Trietsch community". On p. 70a, at the end of his novellae on Tractate Beitzah, the author writes: "End of the novellae of Tractate Beitzah which I have studied here in the Trietsch Yeshiva, and have concluded on the 7th of Adar 1803. G-d should likewise give me the merit of arranging [novellae] on the rest of the tractates, and words of Torah should not cease from our mouths forever".
The novellae on Tractates Beitzah and Pesachim were printed during the author's lifetime in the book Shemen Rokeach (Prague, 1812), and some in his books, the Shemen Rokeach responsa, part 2 (Prague, 1802), Shaarei Chochmah – Shev Shemateta (Prague, 1807). This manuscript is the Mahadura Kama as the author himself writes in the printed book [see his book Shemen Rokeach on Tractate Beitzah (Prague 1812, p. 7a): "…These words have been copied verbatim from my writings in Mahadura Kama…". These same teachings can be found in this manuscript on p. 14b].
The author added dozens of passages and sentences to his printed book which do not appear in this manuscript. On the other hand, this manuscript contains dozens of sections (more than 22 pages, about one eighth of the manuscript), which to the best of our knowledge have never been printed. A detailed list of the pages with hitherto unprinted novellae is available upon request.
11 years elapsed from the beginning of writing the book on Tractate Beitzah until its printing. During those years, the author printed two books, Shemen Rokeach responsa, part 2 (Prague, 1802) and Shaarei Chochmah – Shev Shemateta (Prague, 1807). The author printed full sections of this manuscript in those books and did not reprint them in his book on Tractate Beitzah which was printed in 1812 (see enclosed list).
On p. 27a, the author copied two pages of the thoughts of his renowned scholarly son R. Binyamin Wolf Low, author of Shaarei Torah: "And I will hereby copy the teachings of my son… R. Binyamin Wolf…". The leaf with the copying of his son's teachings has lines crossing its length and width. At the side of the sheet, he writes: "That which my son has written… certainly this is the true explanation…". This leaf was printed in his book of responsa Shemen Rokeach, Part 2, Siman 18.
The author added a note to p. 14b: "At the time I was in Prague, I heard from Rabbi Isser'l Lisa, that the late R. Leib Rabbi of Holešov preceded me on this point, and he contradicted him…". This note also appears in the printed book, p. 7a, with his addition that he visited Prague in 1801 to bring part 2 of Shemen Rokeach responsa to print.
Various draft-like inscriptions on Talmudic topics fill the last four pages. Some are crossed out. On one of the last pages at the end of the book (p. [2b]), he writes: "And I heard from the venerable Rabbi Yosef of Paks" [disciple of the Chatam Sofer].
Rabbi Elazar Löw (1758-1837) a famous Torah scholar, officiated most of his life as rabbi of six prominent communities in the Moravian region. Headed a yeshiva and taught more than 1000 disciples, including many future Torah leaders. His son was the famed R. Binyamin Wolf Löw, author of Shaarei Torah. R. Elazar was a prolific writer and was famous for 13 large compositions which he authored (12 were printed in his lifetime). A large part of his writings deal with Talmudic rules and methods. He would continue pondering his Talmudic studies in his sleep and many of his novellae would appear in his dreams. Reputedly, his diligence and holiness were so pronounced that upon the ending of Yom Kippur he would not taste anything and would study throughout the night, and each year on that night, would merit the revelation of Eliyahu Hanavi (Zichron Elazar). His biographers write of the effectiveness of his prayers. Before his passing, he said that already 30 days after his death, prayers can be recited at his gravesite. In 1833, he was hit by lightning which damaged his eyesight and he became blind. From then until his death, he sat and studied from memory, portraying his exceptional memory of the entire Torah. The Chatam Sofer mentioned this in his eulogy: "He was blind for several years, however, this did not impair his amazing proficiency and sharpness in the least". The Chatam Sofer cites his books in several places although he was his contemporary. R. Mordechai Bennet was so amazed at his book Shaarei Chochmah-Shev Shemateta that he claimed that it "was not written by a human, rather by an angel and such a work has never appeared". Although, R. Elazar considered printing his books a G-dly mission, he never went into debt to print them: "He would not allow himself to print many books at once lest he would not be able to pay the expenses because printing was expensive. Therefore, each time, he would print a small part of his novellae until he paid the expenses and he allocated the profit from the printings towards printing more of his novellae. His only intention was to strengthen and fortify Torah study" (Beit Asher Ohel Sarah, p. 103, at the beginning of Menuchat Asher. Brooklyn, 1963). In his testament, he requested that the names of all his books should be written on his tombstone.
This manuscript contains dozens of citations from Ateret Paz on Sefer Moed. R. Low inherited this manuscript from his grandfather and teacher R. Pinchas Zelig Rabbi of Lask. The book Ateret Paz was printed on Seder Nashim (Frankfurt an der Oder, 1768). However, his book on Seder Moed has never been printed until today and remnants survive only in this composition by his grandson and his disciple. [A few examples out of many - on p. 10a, he writes between the lines: "As written by my grandfather in his book Ateret Paz on Seder Moed"; on p. 11b: "I saw this written by my grandfather on the book Ateret Paz on Seder Moed"; p. 74a: "My grandfather author of Ateret Paz explained this in a lengthy discussion…"].
The author writes in his book Shemen Rokeach (Prague, 1812) in his novellae on Tractate Berachot (p. 10a): "And I remember seeing in the writings of my grandfather the famous R. Pinchas Zelig, author of Ateret Paz… and these writings are in the possession of my son R. Binyamin Wolf Rabbi of Amshinov in Poland… If G-d gives me the privilege of attaining my grandfather's holy writings before this composition is published, I will print them in the last pamphlet". Apparently, at the time he wrote his composition on Tractate Berachot, he still did not have access to the manuscript of Ateret Paz on Seder Moed, but while writing his works on Tractates Pesachim and Beitzah, the manuscript was before him, since its content is frequently cited in this manuscript.
The first flyleaf bears an ownership inscription of one of his sons: "Belongs to me Yechiel Michel son of R. Elazar" and an ownership inscription of a daughter: "Esther daughter of the great Torah scholar…Elazar". Two ownership inscriptions appear on the page following the title page, one inscribed by a nephew: "This book belonged to my uncle… R. Elazar Rabbi of Trietsch, author of the Shemen Rokeach responsa…". The endpapers bear several ownership inscriptions in Latin letters: Isaac Low Singer, Meir Heller, Azriel, Avraham and other names.
, 16, 15, 16-85,  leaves. A small leaf is bound between leaves 43 and 44. A total of 179 written pages. 35 cm. Most leaves are in good condition. Dampstains and wear to the last leaves. Tears to two front endpapers, and to margins of the last four leaves, some affecting text. New leather binding.
Long handwritten letter (3 pages) of Torah teachings, signed by R. Bezalel Ronsburg, author of Horah Gaver, to his friend R. Shmuel Leib Kauder, author of Olat Shmuel. Prague, 1805.
The letter was written at midnight of Wednesday, "the 19th of Adar Sheni 1805". It contains Torah teachings with referrals to many books (Shita Mekubetzet, responsa of the Maharival, the Alshich, the Mabit, Maharanach, Maharit, Knesset HaGedolah).
Towards the end of the letter, he writes that the halachic ruling is as cited by the person who sent the question and he is not arguing the ruling, rather seeking the truth.
After his signature at the end of the letter, R. Bezalel requests that if his teachings are accepted, they be included in the book Olat Shmuel.
As far as we have searched, this letter is hitherto unprinted.
R. Bezalel Ronsburg (1762-1821), prominent Prague sage, close disciple of the Nodah BiYehuda. In the introduction to his book Horah Gaver, R. Bezalel writes that "Every Shabbat… I never missed learning Torah from him [the Noda BiYehuda]". He was also a disciple of R. Leib Fisheles in Prague and later of R. Elazar Kalir, author of Or Chadash of Kolín. Horah Gaver is the only book he printed during his lifetime. Many of his compositions and novellae were lost and recently his composition Chochmat Bezalel – Pitchei Nidah and a compilation of his responsa and novellae were printed (see below). His Talmudic glosses were printed in the Prague Talmud editions and later also added to the Vilna editions titled Glosses of R.B. Ronsburg. His commentary on the Rosh, Sde Tzofim appears in the Talmud editions as well.
R. Shmuel Leib Kauder, author of Olat Shmuel, the recipient of the letter, was also a Prague luminary and close dear companion of R. Bezalel Ronsburg. Many of the surviving responsa of R. Bezalel are addressed to R. Shmuel. This letter opens with lofty titles lavishly praising R. Shmuel Leib's Torah proficiency.
R. Bezalel compiled his responsa into one compendium, however only a small part survived. A compilation of his responsa was printed in the book Responsa and Novellae of R. Bezalel Ronsburg (published by Machon Yerushalayim, 1980; see ibid a long introduction of his history by R. Yosef Buksbaum). Many of the responsa in this compilation were sent to R. Shmuel Leib Kauder. In one responsum, (ibid, Siman 21), R. Bezalel writes to R. Shmuel Leib: "And if this is correct, put it into your book since I do not intend to compile my responsa". This responsum also ends with a request by R. Bezalel that R. Shmuel Leib add it to his book Olat Shmuel and indeed, R. Shmuel Leib often cites Torah teachings and letters of his friend R. Bezalel Ronsburg in his book.
Folded leaf,  written pages. 22.5 cm. Good condition. Folding marks.
Letter of ordination handwritten and signed by R. Meir Ash (Eisenstaedter). Ungvar (Uzhhorod), Tamuz 1846.
Rabbinic ordination accorded to R. Yaakov Tzvi Fleisig, disciple of the Chatam Sofer. He begins with noting that the Chatam Sofer had already commended him in his adolescence, attesting to his proficiency in Talmud and Halacha, which had only increased since then, in fulfillment of his teacher's expectations.
R. Meir Eisenstaedter – Maharam Ash (1780-1852, HaChatam Sofer V'Talmidav, pp. 296-303) was a foremost disciple of the Chatam Sofer and a leading Hungarian rabbi, son-in-law of R. David Deutsch Rabbi of Neustadt (Nové Mesto nad Váhom). He served as rabbi of several Hungarian cities, and from 1835, as rabbi of Ungvar. He authored Responsa Imrei Esh and other books. He studied under the Chatam Sofer for five years, and the Chatam Sofer attested that no disciple enlightened him like R. Meir did (HaChatam Sofer VeTalmidav, p. 297). A holy man, he fasted every weekday of the Shovavim period, and was known to benefit from divine inspiration. In 1831, he went to visit his teacher the Chatam Sofer, who expressed amazement at the extent of his disciple's retention of his teachings. He was very attached to his teacher the Chatam Sofer, and had a special room in his house, where he cloistered himself every day for a whole hour praying for the Chatam Sofer's longevity. From the day of his teacher's demise, he ceased this custom, perceiving with divine inspiration that the Chatam Sofer had passed away, and the latter appeared to him in wakefulness, as a Sefer Torah cloaked in black (HaChatam Sofer VeTalmidav, p. 299 and p. 301). The Ktav Sofer eulogized Maharam Ash as the foremost disciple of his father, the elite of the elite of his foremost disciples, in Torah, piety and character traits. He mentioned the account of the Chatam Sofer's amazement at his proficiency, recalling that the latter had exclaimed to those who were present that he had never seen such an erudite Torah scholar, with exceptional fluency in everything he had learnt, as if it was written before him (Drashot Ktav Sofer, pp. 197-199, Jerusalem 1972 edition).
The recipient of the ordination was R. Yaakov Tzvi Fleisig (1818-1900), a disciple of the Chatam Sofer and son-in-law of R. Meir Almash Rabbi of Mattersdorf, and brother-in-law of R. Asher Anshel Jungreis Rabbi of Csenger. From 1855, he served as rabbi of Freistadt (today Hlohovec-Galgoc, Slovakia) and from 1872, as head of the Vienna Beit Din.
This letter was printed in Kerem Shlomo, year 6, issue 7, p. 54; and passages from it were printed in HaChatam Sofer VeTalmidav (Bnei Brak, 2005, p. 234).
 double leaf, 21 cm. Approx. 17 autograph lines and signature. Fair-good condition. Tears to the folds and wear.
This lot has been withdrawn from the auction.
Brief letter signed by R. Refael Kohen, addressed to the leaders of the Three Communities (Altona, Hamburg, Wandsbek). [Hamburg], Av 1784.
Letter requesting and authorizing the transfer of his salary through his attendant: "Twofold greetings to the respected leaders of this community of Altona and Hamburg. Their honor should kindly give my attendant, bearer of this letter, the sum of three hundred and fifty Courant mark for my salary. Today, Wednesday, Av 10, 1784. So says Refael Kohen".
R. Refael HaKohen of Hamburg (1722-1803) was a leading Torah scholar in the times of the Noda BiYehuda, the Shaagat Aryeh and the Gaon of Vilna. Close disciple of the Shaagat Aryeh, and a teacher of R. Chaim of Volozhin. He served as rabbi and dean in Minsk and several other Lithuanian cities. In 1773, he went to serve as rabbi of Poznań, and in 1776, was appointed rabbi of the joint community of Altona-Hamburg-Wandsbek in Germany. His books include: Torat Yekutiel, Responsa VeShav HaKohen, Responsa She'elat HaKohanim Torah, Daat Kedoshim, Marpe Lashon and others. His biography was recorded in Zecher Tzadik (Vilna, 1879).
His father was R. Yekutiel Süsskind Katz, Rabbi of Riga and Lipland, scion of an established lineage of Kohanim named Katz (Kohen Tzedek – true Kohen, descendants of this family include many established Kohanim of Lithuania including: R. Zecharia Mendel Katz Rabbi of Radin, R. Yisrael Meir HaKohen the Chafetz Chaim, R. Dov Katz and R. David Kohen HaNazir). At the age of 12, he was already a disciple of his relative the Shaagat Aryeh, then dean of the Minsk yeshiva, and became one of his foremost disciples. When the Shaagat Aryeh left Minsk in 1742, R. Refael succeeded him at the young age of 19. He later served as rabbi of Rakaw (Minsk region), and in 1747, was appointed Rabbi of Vilkomir (Ukmergė), a position he held for ten years, with many outstanding Torah scholars studying under him. From 1757, he served as rabbi of the Upper Minsk region. R. Chaim of Volozhin studied under him in his youth (in one of his responsa, R. Chaim writes: "I, the small one, attended the eminent Kohen when he was in our country, and I am obliged in his honor just like the honor of Heaven". Chut HaMeshulash, section 9). In 1763, he acceded the Pinsk rabbinate (and in that period met with the Maggid of Mezeritch, see below). In 1773, he went to serve in the rabbinate of Poznań, and in 1776, of the Three Communities, which he directed for close to thirty years, with wisdom and assertiveness. He was reputed for his opposition of Moses Mendelssohn's Haskalah movement, issuing a ban on anyone who would read his German translation of the Torah.
R. Refael HaKohen was revered by all Jewish sects in that generation (excluding the Maskilim, who opposed him and circulated polemic books and lampoons against him), and refused to be involved in the dispute between Chassidim and their opponents. He was very friendly with R. Eliyahu, the Gaon of Vilna, who held him in high esteem, yet conversely met with the Maggid of Mezeritch (regarding this meeting and his attitude to the Chassidic movement, varying and contradictory traditions exist – see: R. Y. Mondshine, in his article R. Refael HaKohen of Hamburg and his attitude to Chassidism, Kerem Chabad, 1992, part IV, pp. 117-123; R. D. Kamenetsky, in his article R. Refael HaKohen and the Gra, Yeshurun, 21, 2009, pp. 840-857; R. D. Eliach, HaGaon, Part III, pp. 915-916 and note 65). R. Refael Natan Nata Rabinowitz, author of Dikdukei Sofrim, described him as a faithful friend of the Gaon of Vilna, even though deep down, he was somewhat inclined to the Chassidic way, and travelled to greet R. Ber in Mezeritch (R. N.N. Rabinowitz, Marginalia to Shem HaGedolim, Yeshurun, 23, Elul 2010, p. 273 – also regarding the continuation of the account of his debates with the Gaon of Vilna on this topic). Chassidic tradition relates that his familiarity with Chassidism and the celebrated meeting were a consequence of R. Zusha of Anipoli's visit to him, at the behest of his teacher the Maggid. Reputedly, R. Refael refused the Vilna Gaon's request that he join the ban on Chassidism (see preface of Beit Rebbi, Berdychiv, 1902, p. 10).
19X12 cm. 3 autograph lines. Good condition.
A similar letter from late 1784 appears in R. R. D. Dessler's Shenot Dor VaDor, 2, Jerusalem 2004, pp. 197-198.
Turei Even, on Tractates Rosh Hashana, Chagiga and Megillah, by R. Aryeh Leib Ginzburg, author of the Shaagat Aryeh. Metz, . First edition.
At the top of the title page is a dedication handwritten and signed by the son of the author, R. Asher Rabbi of Karlsruhe, who (in 1822?) awarded the book to a young Torah student for his excellent performance on a test by the city rabbi: "Testimony to a recent test I have administered to the children of the Talmud Torah of this city and I have found among them the child Koppel of Bruchsal erudite and comprehending the teachings of the sages and novellae in halacha and Tosafot. I gave him this nice book as a gift and I signed my name on Monday, Isru Chag of Pesach 1822 – Asher son of the author, Karlsruhe and the region".
R. Asher Ginzburg-Wallerstein, Rabbi of Wallerstein and of Karlsruhe (1754-1837), was an eminent Torah scholar, who already from a young age exchanged halachic correspondence with leading Torah luminaries of his time, such as the Noda BiYehuda, the Haflaah and the Or Chadash. Youngest son and beloved disciple of his father, the renowned author of Shaagat Aryeh, and his leading disciple in the Metz Yeshiva. Known for his sharpness of mind, his father attested that "his son is sharper in Torah study than he himself" (approbation of R. Gedalia of Metz, disciple of the Shaagat Aryeh, to the book Gevurot Ari).
Officiated as Rabbi in the Metz Yeshiva and later in the Niederwerrn Yeshiva. After the passing of his father, the Shaagat Aryeh, the Metz community begged him to succeed his father as rabbi, however, he adamantly refused. From 1788, he began his 25-year tenure as Rabbi of Wallerstein. In 1819, he relocated to the Karlsruhe rabbinate and served as Chief Rabbi of the entire Baden district.
Many prominent rabbis of Southern-Germany communities (Baden and Bavaria districts) were his disciples. He was the primary teacher of R. Yaakov Ettlinger, author of the Aruch LaNer and also taught R. Eliyahu Wilstetter (his successor in the Karlsruhe rabbinate), R. Eliyahu Hirsh Prager Rabbi of Bruchsal, and others.
During his lifetime, Torah study in Germany ebbed and R. Asher exerted himself to teach and disseminate Torah among Jewish youth as he writes: "…Therefore, I have decided to reinforce our holy religion, to protect the success of Jewish youth and to give honor and glory to those who succeed in their studies. I will test them and if I see that they succeed in their studies, I will honor them in public and call them up to the Torah with the title 'HeChaver'. Perhaps this will lead to competition among Jewish youth" (Beit Aharon V'Yisrael anthology, 50, p. 166, citing the Kerem Shlomo anthology, Year 7, Issue 7, p. 44).
The recipient of this gift was R. Ginzburg's disciple in his senior years, R. Yaakov Koppel Moshe HaLevi Lowenstein from Bruchsal, who later officiated as Rabbi of Gailingen and the region. In his youth, he studied in the Karlsruhe Yeshiva under the tutelage of R. Pilta Epstein, R. Aharon Ettlinger and his son R. Yaakov (author of Aruch LaNer). Later, R. Koppel studied in yeshivot in Mainz and Hanau and from 1825, in the Würzburg Yeshiva. The Kerem Shlomo anthology (Cheshvan 1982, p. 57) published a letter by the Aruch LaNer (who at that time taught in his father's yeshiva in Karlsruhe) to R. Avraham Bing, head of the Würzburg Yeshiva, recommending his friend R. Koppel, telling of their friendship: "…Most of our childhood, we were friends studying here in Karlsruhe under the tutelage of my father, my teacher, and he would pursue the study of wisdom and science as well. Afterward, he progressed to the yeshiva in Mainz and thence to the yeshiva of the Rabbi of Hanau…", (cited in the Yeshurun anthology, 8, p. 779). Eventually, R. Yaakov Koppel received rabbinical ordination (semicha) from his first teacher, R. Asher Wallerstein (see the Kerem Shlomo anthology, Year 2, Issue 8).
, 52, 51-56 leaves; 44; 48 leaves. 32 cm. High-quality paper and wide margins. Condition varies; good condition. Tear to the top of the title page (old paper repairs). Stains and dampstains. Light wear. Tears to margins of several leaves, not affecting text. Original binding with leather spine. Handwritten documents in the lining of the binding (these leaves were not removed and examined).
Autograph Manuscript – Novellae on the Bible, Talmud, Halacha and Customs – Includes Records of the Customs of Frankfurt am Main – Unidentified Author, Prominent Torah Scholar in Frankfurt in the Time of the Haflaa – Frankfurt am Main, 18th/19th Century
Large manuscript (thick volume, hundreds of leaves), novellae on the Bible, Mishnayot and the Talmud, commentary on the weekday, Shabbat and Festival prayers, customs and their reasons, and more. [Frankfurt am Main, ca. late 18th-early 19th century].
Hundreds of leaves handwritten by the author, with many deletions and additions. Complete and original composition by an author we were unable to identify, with mentions of his city – Frankfurt am Main. The author was presumably a leading Torah scholar of Frankfurt, during the tenure of R. Pinchas Horowitz, author of the Haflaa, as rabbi of the city.
The style of novellae is diverse, and includes novellae based on the allegoric approach: many Gematrias (association of words by their numeric value), interpretations according to Kabbalistic teachings and more. The volume contains novellae following the order of the Torah, from Bereshit until the end, novellae on Mishnayot – Orders Zera'im and Moed; novellae on the Talmud – on many tractates; commentaries to Tehillim, Megillat Esther, and to other books of the Bible; commentary to the Passover Haggadah; and more. Many leaves of the book bear the heading "Selections", and contain various novellae on prayers, piyyutim and customs. In several places, the author mentions his city, Frankfurt, and documents the city's customs and their rationales. For instance, on p. 151a: "and in the Bible printed here in Frankfurt…". On p. 176b: "The custom of reading the section regarding lighting the lamps in Parashat Behaalotecha on the eighth day of Channuka… and here in Frankfurt we do not have this custom, since…". On p. 265b: "Here in Frankfurt, the custom was to delay the Shabbat morning prayers in the synagogue, reciting the Shema after the 3rd hour of the day…". On p. 273a: "Here in Frankfurt, the custom isnot to recite KaKatuv Al Yad Nevi'echa, since…".
The author also documents (on p. 177b and p. 265b) a famous custom in German communities, named Jahreskaddisch (the Kaddish of the year), of singing the Kaddish on Simchat Torah in the tunes of the entire year (regarding this custom, see Minhagei Maharitz HaLevi [Dunner, Bnei Brak 2016], part I, pp. 394-395).
Another unique custom is recorded - Chomez'digen Borchu (Barchu of Chametz), of singing Barchu of the evening prayer at the close of Passover in the tune of Selichot days (p. 177a): "In the evening following the last day of Passover, we sing Barchu in a pleasant and stirring tune like during the High Holidays, since Chametz (leaven) is an allegory to the evil inclination, so we sing in this tune to be inspired, to be wary of the evil inclination, and to fortify our heart in worship of G-d" (regarding this custom, see Minhagei Maharitz HaLevi, part I, p. 174).
Several handwritten leaves were found interspersed in the volume, containing drafts and various notes of novellae. One of the leaves includes a lengthy and interesting inscription, documenting the author's initiative of establishing a detailed calendar for the years 1799-1800.
The last leaves are indexes to the contents of the manuscript, arranged by the author. An inscription in Latin characters appears on p. 284b (author's signature?).
1-142, 142-152, 152-174, 174-177, 179-284 leaves (the first leaf is blank). In total, 285 written leaves +  single leaves. High-quality paper. 34 cm. Good-fair condition. Stains and wear. Ink smudges. Wear to the page corners at the beginning and end of the book, affecting text. Detached leaves and gatherings. Original binding, damaged and detached.
Enclosed is an expert's report on the manuscript.
Manuscript by Rabbi Yitzchak HaLevi of Lemgo, and a Manuscript by his Disciple Rabbi Avraham Prins – Amsterdam, 18th Century – Novellae, Sermons, Letters, Notes and Memoirs – Important Historical Material Regarding the Ashkenazi Community of Amsterdam
Volume comprised of three manuscripts: · Manuscript of novellae and sermons, autograph of R. Yitzchak HaLevi of Lemgo, author of Toldot Yitzchak. · Manuscript of novellae, sermons and circumcision ledger handwritten by his disciple R. Avraham Prins of Amsterdam. · Copyings of letters and documents from that period, including letters addressed to the Pekidim and Amarkalim (officials and administrators in Amsterdam), and more.
The manuscripts were presumably bound in the beginning of the 1830s. The binding is imprinted with gilt letters: "Zera Yitzchak – Toldot Avraham". The volume contains invaluable Torah and historical material from Torah scholars and public leaders of Amsterdam in the 18th century. Below is an outline of its contents:
· Chiddushei Shas VeChiddushei Sugiot (Talmudic novella). Sermons on Halacha and Aggada: for Siyumim, in praise of the Torah and in praise of peace, for festivals and eulogies. Handwritten by R. Yitzchak Itzak HaLevi of Lemgo, a prominent Amsterdam Torah scholar and rabbi of Groningen. Amsterdam [ca. 1790]. Page 82b mentions "Admor HaGaon" (this may refer to R. Shaul Rabbi of Amsterdam, or to his son and successor R. Yaakov Moshe Lowenstam).
, 88 leaves, [1 index leaf]. Autograph of R. Yitzchak of Lemgo.
· Torah novellae and sermons. Familial and communal memoirs. Registry of circumcised babies (Mohel's ledger). Memoirs and copies of documents and letters regarding Eretz Israel. Writings about his teacher, R. Yitzchak of Lemgo. Testaments and eulogies. Handwritten by R. Avraham Prins of Amsterdam (1768-1851), a leading community activist and founder of the Pekidim and Amarkalim organization (officials and administrators in Amsterdam on behalf of the Jews in Eretz Israel), official and chief supervisor of all matters concerning Eretz Israel. [1810-1849].
147 written pages, in the handwriting of R. Avraham Prins. (Some of the signatures following the copyings may be autographic – original, not written by the copier).
R. Yitzchak Itzak (Segal) HaLevi of Lemgo (1748-1801) a prominent scholar of the Etz Chaim study hall of the Ashkenazi community in Amsterdam, was a disciple of R. Shaul of Amsterdam, and a close friend of his son R. Yaakov Moshe. He was amongst the prominent regular "learners" in the Beit HaMidrash and served as lecturer and dean of the yeshiva. In 1800, he was appointed rabbi of Groningen and its district.
His manuscripts underwent many vicissitudes, and numerous books and articles have been written on the subject. His great composition Toldot Yitzchak, commentary on the Tosefta, of which his disciple R. Avraham Prins (who succeeded him as head of the yeshivah) added a sample to Likutei Tzvi, Amsterdam 1809, disappeared and was only revealed to the public at auctions, first appearing in 1870 at the Friedrich Muller auction house in Amsterdam (Item 944) in three folio size volumes containing approximately 1600 leaves. In 1881, the same manuscript was offered as part of the estate of Levi Gutshlag Winifred of the Hague at the H.G. Baum auction house (Item 156). In ca. 1900, this manuscript reached the Rosenthaliana library in Amsterdam. In 1965, Joseph Onderwyser published a book in English named Mavoch (labyrinth) in which he describes in a very picturesque (and odd) manner his worldwide quest for the manuscript of the colossal work on the Tosefta, discovering it in an internal list of the Rosenthaliana library in Amsterdam. This book then raised a polemic in the press and in journals and eventually, a team of editors began publishing the commentary. So far, one volume has been published on Tractate Megillah, Jerusalem, 2002, by Machon Ofek. The volume is prefaced with a long article - the author's biography, and an account of
his tenure in the Amsterdam Beit Midrash.
This manuscript sheds light on the early history of R. Yitzchak of Lemgo's manuscript composition on the Tosefta: On p. 76 of his notebook, R. Avraham Prins documents the purchase of the manuscript at the sale of the estate of R. Yitzchak ben Mordechai of Lemgo, R. Yitzchak's nephew. He relates that it was he who bound it in three volumes "and in each volume I imprinted his name in gilt letters". He bemoans the fact that he lacks the means to publish the book. On p. 86, written at a later date, R. Avraham repeats the fact that since he realized that he was unable to publish the book, he bound it in three volumes so that his teacher's family members could study it (apparently, he returned the three volumes to the descendants of R. Yitzchak of Lemgo).
This booklet, handwritten by R. Yitzchak of Lemgo, is hitherto unknown and a discovery in its own right. R. Avraham Prins writes about it on p. 86 and about more letters "bound with this volume". Evidently, this volume was not offered at the same auctions in the 19th century at which the other three volumes by R. Yitzchak of Lemgo were sold. In addition, R. Avraham Prins' diary of memoirs and sermons discloses new details of the biography of his close teacher R. Yitzchak of Lemgo who taught him Torah and raised him in his home like his own son after he was orphaned.
The diary of the memoirs of R. Avraham Prins is of great significance, as it also reveals unknown details of the history of the Ashkenazi community in Amsterdam in the late 18th century and in the early 19th century.
Among them are details of the circumstances which led to the establishment of the Pekidim and Amarkalim (Officials and Administrators) organization, when a Jew left behind a will dedicating one third of his inheritance to the poor people of Eretz Israel. His heirs attempted to prevent the execution of the will, but R. Avraham together with R. Tzvi Hirsch Lehren endeavoured to collect the inheritance, initiating the establishment of the Pekidim and Amarkalim (pages 81-82). The copying of these Pekidim and Amarkalim documents is also unknown, as the book Igrot HaPekidim VeHaAmarkalim MeAmsterdam published in Jerusalem, 1965 only includes the letters sent from Amsterdam to Jerusalem, while these are copies of letters sent from Eretz Israel to Amsterdam. This material has not yet been sufficiently examined, but below is an outline of the letters' contents: Letters signed by R. Tuviah ben R. Shlomo, R. Natan Nata ben R. Menachem Mendel, R. Avraham Shlomo Zalman Shapira (Tzoref) and his son-in-law R. Aryeh ben R. Yerachmiel, treasurer and trustee. Letters from the rabbis of Hebron, Tiberias and Jerusalem.
A letter from Livorno containing a copy of a missive by R. Yisrael of Shklow, disciple of the Vilna Gaon to R. Shlomo Zalman Tsoref regarding the mission for locating the Ten Lost Tribes. (This letter is a new discovery in this enigmatic affair - See article by Dr. Aryeh Morgenstern, Sinai, 100, pp. 552-554).
Throughout the years, R. Avraham Prins recorded in this volume Torah and ethics thoughts, as well as eulogies for his offspring who died during his lifetime and wills he wrote at the age of 60 and 64. On p. 86, he wrote that "In Sivan 1838, I reached the age of 70". In his testament from 1849 he hints that he is 80 years old (p. 119), evidence to the fact he was born in 1768 or in 1769. R. Avraham Prins died in 1851.
Total of approx. 200 leaves (some are blank). 19.5 cm. Thick high-quality paper, very good condition. Original leather binding with gilt inscription and ornaments, in very good condition. Minor repair of tear to back cover. Ex-libris.
Letter (2 pages, approx. 40 lines) handwritten and signed by R. Yaakov Ettlinger, author of Aruch LaNer. [Altona, ca. 1868].
Responsum of Torah thoughts pertaining to the inspection of sacrifices and other topics, addressed to "my son-in-law the rabbi" (presumably his son-in-law R. Yisrael Meir Freimann, Rabbi of Filehne – see below), and signed at the end "so are the words of your father-in-law Yaakov".
The Aruch LaNer includes in his letter a copying from his novellae on Tractate Pesachim: "...so I wrote in my miscellany. And from here you see, my son-in-law, that my thoughts parallel yours, and you wrote well, particularly in the difficulty you raised… which indeed is an excellent question, and I heard it several years ago from a certain Torah scholar from Königsberg (whose name presently eludes me)…".
The letter is undated, but in his words the Aruch LaNer refers to new books printed in 1861-1868 (see Hebrew description).
R. Yaakov Ettlinger (1789-1872, Otzar HaRabbanim 9805), chief rabbi of Altona and the surroundings and rabbi of Altona, was a foremost leader of German Jewry and one of the strongest opponents of the Reform movement. In his youth, he served as lecturer in the yeshiva of his father, R. Aharon Ettlinger in Karlsruhe, and was one of the primary disciples of R. Asher Wallerstein, son of the Shaagat Aryeh and rabbi of the city. He also studied in the Würzburg yeshiva under R. Avraham Bing, and was a colleague of Chacham Yitzchak Bernays of Hamburg and R. Elazar Bergman of Jerusalem.
In ca. 1828, he was appointed dean of the yeshiva and rabbi of the Kloiz in Mannheim, and in 1836, went to serve as rabbi of the Three Communities (Altona, Hamburg and Wandsbek), where he established a prominent yeshiva. R. Yaakov Ettlinger dedicated his life to disseminating Torah, and leading German rabbis were his disciples, the most renowned ones include: R. Samson Refael Hirsch; R. Azriel Hildesheimer, R. Tzvi Binyamin Auerbach Rabbi of Halberstadt and author of Nachal Eshkol, R. Getsch Schlesinger dayan in Hamburg, R. Eliyahu Munk dayan in Altona and his son R. Yehuda Munk Rabbi of Marburg, R. Zev Yitzchak HaLevi Dunner of Köln author of LiChevod Amudei HaTorah, R. Moshe Weisskopf Rabbi of Paris, and other renowned disciples who were the glory of German communities in that generation.
He authored the following books: Aruch LaNer on Talmudic tractates, Bikurei Yaakov, Responsa Binyan Tzion, Minchat Ani on the Torah and others. He was the founder and author of the Orthodox periodical Shomer Tzion HaNe'eman. His books are studied until this day in Torah study halls, and his teachings are quoted extensively in Halachic literature. Already in his generation, he was considered a leading Halachic authority, and Halachic questions were referred to him from Jerusalem and throughout the Jewish world. R. Yosef Shaul Natansohn wrote in several dispensations for Agunot, that he will issue a permission only if the "Gaon from Altona" will concur with him (Shoel UMeshiv, Telitaa, part II, 216; part III, 87). He was the supreme authority amongst German rabbis, and even the great Torah scholar from Würzburg, R. Yitzchak Dov Bamberger wrote regarding him: "and since then, I would bring any difficulty before leading Torah scholars of the generation, R. M. Kargau and my mechutan R. Yaakov Ettlinger… before them I posed any difficult matter" (Responsa Yad HaLevi, Jerusalem 1988, p. 60). After his passing and that of the Ktav Sofer the same year, Rebbe Menachem Mendel of Deyzh termed them the righteous men of the generation (Maaglei Tzedek, I, Parashat Vaera).
The recipient of this letter was presumably his son-in-law R. Yisrael Meir Freimann (1830-1884), Rabbi of Filehne (Wieleń) and Ostrowo (Ostrów Wielkopolski, Posen Province), author of Anfei Yehuda on the VeHizhir book. He exchanged extensive correspondence with his father-in-law the Aruch LaNer on various topics, some of which was published in Responsa Binyan Tzion, mostly in part III of the new edition of Likutei Teshuvot – Binyan Tzion (Dvar Yerushalayim publication, Jerusalem 2002). This responsum was not published in the new edition of Binyan Tzion, yet it does contain a different responsum addressed to R. Shlomo Bamberger, in Elul 1868 (Responsa Binyan Tzion, part III – Likutei Teshuvot, section 121), criticizing and contesting the words of the Shoel UMeshiv in his approbation to the book of R. Bamberger, which was published that year. That responsum mentions that the Aruch LaNer previously corresponded with his son-in-law R. Yisrael Meir Freimann on the topic, and passages from this letter are cited in that responsum. It results therefore, that the recipient of this letter is his son-in-law R. Yisrael Meir Freimann, and that this letter was written prior to Elul 1868.
 leaf. 21 cm. 2 written pages, approx. 40 lines. Thin, blueish stationery, good condition. Creases and light stains.
Autograph manuscript of R. Samson Refael Hirsch – sections of his commentary to the Torah and of translations of verses from Bamidbar, written in German and Hebrew and arranged for print [Frankfurt am Main, ca. 1870s].
These sixteen leaves contain the commentary of R. Samson Refael Hirsch beginning with Naso, chapter 6 verse 19, until Behaalotecha chapter 10, verse 12; and the German translation of the verses of Naso, chapter 6, verse 22 through Behaalotecha chapter 10 verse 28.
Author's autograph, with deletions and additions. 32 large pages in close, small handwriting. The main part of the text is the lengthy commentary by R. Samson Refael Hirsch. The margins contain the translation of the verses to German, as well as additions and corrections to the commentary. (The text of the printed book incorporates these additions and corrections, and this manuscript is presumably the revised edition of the commentary, brought to print in 1876. The manuscript contains emphasized words, which were also emphasized in print). The composition was published in the author's lifetime in Frankfurt, between 1867 and 1878, and later published in further editions, in several languages.
R. Shimshon ben R. Refael Hirsch (1808-1888) was the legendary leader of German Orthodox Jewry and founder of the association of independent communities. He was a disciple of Chacham Bernays of Hamburg, and of R. Yaakov Etlinger, the Aruch LaNer of Altona. At the age of 22, he began serving in the rabbinates of Oldenburg, Emden and Nikolsburg. In 1850, he was summoned by eleven orthodox families in Frankfurt am Main to stand at the helm of the new orthodox community Adat Yeshurun. R. Samson Refael Hirsch was the first to attempt to stem the rapid spiritual decline of German Jewry, painstakingly rebuilding Orthodox Jewry in Germany. His Halachic and Torah authority earned him the undisputed position of leader of Orthodox Jewry in Western Europe. He invested great effort in establishing the independent communities in various German cities, and educated an entire generation to Torah and observance, through his discourses, books and essays (the Nineteen Letters, Horeb and others), which were originally delivered and written in German, and have since been translated and published in many editions, in Hebrew and other languages.
His magnum-opus is undoubtedly his expansive commentary on the Torah, which contains profound philosophical ideas of Jewish ideology, faith and ethics, composition which serves until this day as a basis for books on Jewish thought and for many lecturers. This work is a commentary on the Torah based on the teachings of Chazal and the early commentators, incorporating original ideas by the author, on man's duty in this world, which are supported by his profound knowledge in Kabbalah, "though he never mentions Kabbalistic works in his commentary, Kabbalists have already pronounced that his commentary on the Torah was profoundly influenced by the Zohar…" (Shemesh Marpeh, New York 1992, pp. 308-309). An eye witness testified that the draft notebooks of his commentary contain many quotations from the Zohar (ibid.), though in this manuscript, which contains the commentary prepared for print, the sources of those quotations were omitted. In his commentaries pertaining to Halachic topics, his distinct and comprehensive knowledge of Talmudic topics is apparent, including of subjects of Kodashim and Taharot. Reputedly, the Ktav Sofer, when he met him in his youth, was impressed with his erudition and the breadth of his knowledge of Talmud and Halacha, saying: "…whichever topic we discussed, anywhere in the Talmud and in Halacha, he was fluent" (Shemesh Marpeh, p. 290). In the approbations to his responsa work Shemesh Marpeh (New York, 1992), the leading Torah scholars of our generation describe the importance of R. Samson Refael Hirsch's works: "His famous compositions, in all of which his objective was to demonstrate the supremacy and truth of our holy Torah… and to establish religious observance without any deviation whatsoever from the tradition of our ancestors and teachers… (the words of R. Elazar Menachem Shach in his approbation); "A leader in Jewish thought, ceaseless in his endeavors to establish religious observance" (the words of R. Yosef Shalom Elyashiv in his approbation).
 leaves, written on both sides. 28-29 cm. Thin, high-quality paper, some leaves blueish. Good-fair condition. Stains and ink spillages. Tears and wear with slight damage to text. Without binding.
A letter of rabbinical ordination handwritten and signed by R. Azriel Hildesheimer – semicha ("yoreh yoreh yadin yadin") for his disciple R. Meir son of R. Wolf Austerlitz. Eisenstadt, .
R. Azriel's wax seal is imprinted in the margins under his signature.
R. Azriel Hildesheimer (1820-1899), an eminent rabbi, disciple of the author of Aruch LaNer and of R. Yitzchak Berneis of Hamburg. From 1851-1869, served as Rabbi in Eisenstadt, and introduced an innovative yeshiva integrating secular studies with Torah study, following the principle of Torah with Derech Eretz, provoking opposition and criticism both from the Reform Movement and from certain sects of the Orthodox community. Nonetheless, Hungarian and German Torah leaders perceived his greatness and supported his yeshiva. In 1869, he was appointed Rabbi of Berlin, wherein he established the Hildesheimer Rabbinical Seminary and stood at the helm of German Orthodox Jewry.
The recipient of the semicha, R. Meir HaLevi Austerlitz (died in 1913), officiated as dayan in Eisenstadt. Son of R. Binyamin Ze'ev Wolf HaLevi Austerlitz, dayan in Eisenstadt and son-in-law of R. Yechezkel Moshe Fishman Rabbi of Miskolc.
Double leaf, approx. 34 cm. Good condition. Stains. Folding marks. Tiny tears to margins.
Lengthy and interesting letter, handwritten and signed by R. Yisrael Lipschitz, author of Tiferet Yisrael. Danzig (Gdańsk), Yom Kippur eve, 1854.
Addressed to Sir Moses Montefiore and his wife Yehudit, and enclosing a copy of the book Tiferet Yisrael on Order Kodashim (printed in Königsberg 1850). The letter begins with wishes for a "year of blessing and success" and concludes: "…so are the words of the one who loves you and reveres you, who extends his blessings to you for the new year and for a good final sealing, and wishes you a joyous festival – Yisrael Lipschitz".
In the body of the letter, R. Yisrael expresses his gratitude to the Montefiore family for their financial support in publishing the book, and refers to mentioning Sir Moses Montefiore and his wife on the title pages, in blessing: "I hereby present you with my book on order Kodashim which G-d granted me… take a look and see my honored ones, your names mentioned in blessing… on the title page… and the merit of the Holy Torah… and the merit of those who study this holy book, will stand for you, honored couple, and may your memory be blessed throughout the land, from the extremities of the Rhine river until the borders of Russia and Turkey, which is how far, G-d be praised, these books have reached, and may your names upon the title pages of Tiferet Yisrael glow like the luminaries light up the sky…".
R. Yisrael Lipschitz (1782-1860) is renowned for his monumental composition Tiferet Yisrael on the six orders of Mishna, which was accepted by the entire Jewish world and has been reprinted in hundreds of editions until this day. He was the son of R. Gedalia Lipschitz author of Regel Yeshara, and grandson of R. Yisrael Lipschitz Rabbi of Cleves. An outstanding Torah scholar and a foremost leader of German Jewry, he sat studying Torah the entire day, bedecked in Tallit and Tefillin beneath his outer coat, and was renowned as a holy and G-d fearing man. He served as rabbi for over fifty years, in the communities of Dessau, Danzig and others. Apart from Tiferet Yisrael on the Mishna, he composed many other books, of homilies, novellae and Halachic rulings.
 leaf, approx. 27 cm. Approx. 24 autograph lines and signature, in neat calligraphic script. Thin, blueish-grayish stationery. Fair-good condition. Tears and creases. Adhesive tape repairs.
Leaf, handwritten on both sides – Two authorizations, accepting members to the Chevrat Mishnayot in the city of Volozhin, signed by the members of the society, including the signatures of R. Chaim of Volozhin, author of Nefesh HaChaim and of his eldest brother, R. Simcha of Volozhin. Volozhin, 1764.
This document was issued by the society of Torah study in Volozhin, in which R. Chaim of Volozhin participated. He signed this document at the age of 15, a decade before he was appointed Rabbi of Volozhin and many years before he established his famous yeshiva in the city.
On one side of the leaf is an authorization written on the 8th of Iyar 1764, accepting R. Shmuel son of R. Shimon to the Chevrat Mishnayot.
The last signature appearing on the leaf is "Chaim son of R. Yitzchak" – The signature of R. Chaim of Volozhin [next to his signature, the word "of Volozhin" was written in another handwriting].
The other signatures: "Mordechai son of Meir", "Aryeh Leib son of R. Yitzchak", "Simcha son of R. Yitzchak", "Moshe son of R. Yaakov", "Yeshaya son of Chaim Zecharya", "Avraham son of R. Aharon", "Shimshon son of R. Moshe".
On the other side of the leaf is an authorization for accepting R. Avraham Duber son of R. Yehuda Yidel and his son-in-law R. Avril and R. Yaakov his brother, dated Tuesday, the 11th of MarCheshvan 1764.
The last signature is: "Chaim son of R. Yitzchak" – Signature of R. Chaim of Volozhin.
The other signatures: "Zvi Hirsh son of R. H…", "Simcha son of R. Yitzchak", "Moshe son of R. Yitzchak", "Avraham son of R. Aharon".
Apparently the signature "Simcha son of R. Yitzchak" belongs to R. Simcha of Volozhin, eldest brother of R. Chaim.
R. Chaim of Volozhin (1749-1821), author of Nefesh HaChaim, Torah luminary who stood at the helm of Lithuanian Jewry and was active in advancing Torah study. Born in Volozhin, son of R. Yitzchak, a community leader, close disciple of the Vilna Gaon and founder or the Volozhin yeshiva, forerunner of Lithuanian yeshivot. In his youth, he was a disciple of R. Refael HaCohen of Hamburg, author of Torah Yekutiel at the time the latter officiated as rabbi in Minsk and continued his studies at the yeshiva of the Shaagat Aryeh during his second tenure in the Volozhin rabbinate. He then basked in the luminance of the Vilna Gaon, becoming his most prominent disciple and clinging to his venerable teacher for many years until the Gaon's passing. His companion and friend R. Yisrael of Shklow lavishly praised R. Chaim in the introduction to his work Taklin Chadtin, using superlative titles describing his Torah greatness and pure character.
In 1774, at about the age of 25, R. Chaim was appointed Rabbi of Volozhin and held this position until 1789. He then relocated to serve as Rabbi of Ukmergė (Vilkmergė), however due to opposition by a number of members of that community, he returned to Volozhin after only one year, officiating as rabbi until his passing. He was an active leader, wrote halachic responsa to great Torah scholars in his times and was the decisive opinion on current issues in his days. His yeshiva thrived under his management and drew disciples from all over Lithuania, becoming a prototype of other yeshivot founded throughout Lithuania. In contrast to his teacher, the Vilna Gaon, who severely opposed the Chassidic movement, R. Chaim believed that their intent was praiseworthy and their claims should be addressed. This led to his famous work "Nefesh HaChaim", outlining pure conduct and service of G-d according to exoteric and esoteric Torah teachings, following the teachings of the Vilna Gaon and his disciples.
R. Simcha of Volozhin and Nyasvizh, eldest brother of R. Chaim of Volozhin was an exceptional Torah scholar and diligently studied together with his younger brother day and night, both were disciples of the Shaagat Aryeh. If the oil lamp burned out, they would study Torah by moonlight as recounted by R. Itzele of Volozhin in his introduction to Nefesh HaChaim, telling the history of his father: "From his youth, he studied Torah with amazing diligence and at the age of 14, studied together with his elder brother, R. Simcha and they would study day and night…". R. Simcha guided his younger brother in the manner of toiling in Torah study. R. Yosef Zundel of Salant recounts that his teacher R. Chaim of Volozhin told him that he is grateful to his brother R. Simcha "for etching faith in his heart for 48 years with all that a man must know" (HaTzaddik Rabbi Yosef Zundel M'Salant V'Rabbotav, Jerusalem 1926, p. 113). Reputedly, he officiated in the rabbinate of a Lithuanian city (perhaps in Nyasvizh, his home for many years). At the age of 24, he wrote the book Kitzur Piskei Dinim similar to the format of Simlah Chadasha authored by the author of Tevu'ot Shor.
 leaf,  written pages. 19.5 cm. Fair-good condition. Stains, dark stains and ink smears. Wear and tiny tears to margins. Folding marks.
Handwritten leaf – letter of appointment, by notables of the Volozhin community appointing R. Chaim of Volozhin to a three-year tenure as Rabbi of their community from Iyar 1782 until Iyar 1785, with another letter of appointment appointing him to another three-year term, from Iyar 1785 until Iyar 1788.
On one side of the leaf is the first letter signed by dignitaries of the Volozhin community expressing their unanimous decision to appoint R. Chaim to the community rabbinate, signed by community leaders and rabbis: "Duber son of R. Yehuda Yedel", "Aryeh Leib son of R. Yitzchak", "Yonah Avraham son of R. Yehuda Yedel", "Shmuel son of R. Avraham", "Avraham son of R. Aharon", "Yehuda Leib son of R. Mordechai", "Dov Ber son of R. Yosef", "Aryeh Leib son of R. Yitzchak Isaac".
On the verso of the document is a similar text dated Monday, the 3rd of MarCheshvan 1785, extending R. Chaim's term in the rabbinate for another three years from the end of the previous term: "From the 4th of Iyar 1785 until the 4th of Iyar 1788…". Signed by community leaders and rabbis: "Avraham son of R. Aharon", "Dov Ber son of R. Yosef", "Ozer son of R. Naftali", "Yehuda Leib son of R. Mordechai", "Aryeh Leib son of R. Yitzchak Isaac", "Aharon Zelig son of R. Michael", "Shmuel son of R. Avraham".
R. Chaim of Volozhin (1749-1821), close disciple of the Vilna Gaon and founder or the Volozhin yeshiva, forerunner of Lithuanian yeshivot. Born in Volozhin to his father, R. Yitzchak, a community leader. In his youth, he was a disciple of R. Refael HaCohen of Hamburg, author of Torah Yekutiel, at the time the latter officiated as rabbi in Minsk and continued his studies at the yeshiva of the Shaagat Aryeh during the latter's second tenure in the Volozhin rabbinate.
In 1774, at about the age of 25, R. Chaim was appointed Rabbi of Volozhin and held this position until 1789. He then relocated to serve as Rabbi of Ukmergė (Vilkmergė), however due to opposition by a number of members of that community, he returned to the Volozhin after only one year, officiating as rabbi until his passing.
Following the common practice in those days, a rabbi was appointed for only three years (see the Chatam Sofer responsa, Orach Chaim, Siman 206: "The custom in most of the Diaspora is to write a rabbinic contract for a limited time, sometimes for three years and at times for five years. The reason for this is cited in Choshen Mishpat Siman 333, prohibiting a person to lease himself for more than three years, which changes his status from an employee to a slave and one is prohibited to enslave himself"). After three years, the community leaders would assemble to renew the rabbi's contract and would sign another three-year contract. These letters of appointment are for three years from 1782 to 1785 and from 1785 to 1788.
Double leaf,  written pages. 20.5 cm. Fair condition. Stains, dampstains. Wear and tears to margins. Folding marks.
Letter Written by Lviv Community Members to Their Rabbi, Author of Yeshuot Yaakov – Appointment of Rabbi Zvi Hirsch Charif, Succeeding Kabbalist Rabbi Meshulam Katz, Author of Ikar Tosfot Yom Tov – Lviv, 1810
Historical document – letter bearing 45 signatures of Lviv (Lvov) community notables, sent to the Rabbi of the city, R. Yaakov Meshulam Orenstein (author of Yeshuot Yaakov). Lviv, Adar Bet 1810.
The community members signed an appointment document requesting the city rabbi to appoint a Magid Mesharim (preacher) and posek in the city to succeed the holy kabbalist R. Meshulam HaCohen [died during Sukkot of that year], particularly requesting the appointment of R. Zvi Hirsh Charif (Heller) Rabbi of Brzesko (Brigel; author of Tiv Gittin) to fill this position. Historic document related to the history of the Lviv community [the history of the Lviv community has been lengthily documented in the book Klilat Yofi (Krakow, 1888, 1893), however this document of appointment is not mentioned there].
The letter contains praise of their late rabbi who led the community for many years. They also write of their wish to continue strengthening Torah study and describe their fervent wish to appoint a prominent Torah scholar to teach Torah in their community [in the end, R. Zvi Hirsch did not accept the position; he chose to head the Brody Yeshiva].
Kabbalist R. Meshulam Cohen Tzedek (1758-1810), author of Ikar Tosfot Yom Tov on the Mishnah and Pitchei Nidah on the laws of Nidah, officiated as Rabbi of Korets from 1788, succeeding his brother Kabbalist R. Yitzchak Isaac HaCohen, author of Brit Kehunat Olam, disciple of the Magid of Mezritch. In the early 1790s, he was appointed magid and posek of "out of town" Lviv [the name a large suburb of Lviv. Eminent Torah scholars officiated as rabbis of "out of town" and their status was similar to deputy rabbi of greater Lviv]. Descendant of Kabbalist R. Naftali Katz, author of Semicha Chachamim, he studied kabbalah extensively and published his brother's profound book Brit Kehunat Olam. He endorsed many books, including books with kabbalistic and Chassidic content and the books of the Admor HaZaken, Baal HaTanya.
R. Zvi Hirsch Heller (1776-1835, Encyclopedia L'Chachmei Galicia, Vo. 2, pp. 665-671), prominent Rabbi of Galicia and Hungary hailed as "R. Hirsch Charif" (the sharp), due to his genius and cleverness. Rabbi of Brzesko in Galicia and later head of the renowned Brody Yeshiva. Slanderous accusations compelled him to flee the city to Hungary, there he officiated in the Bonyhád, Uzhhorod and Óbuda (Alt-Ofen) rabbinates. Many leading rabbis were his disciples, such as R. Zvi Hirsch of Liska (Olaszliszka) and R. Shlomo Ganzfried, author of the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch. Author of the Tiv Gittin novellae and other compositions.
Large leaf. 38 cm. Written on both sides. Good condition. Stains and wear.
Collection of handwritten leaves, novellae on Tractate Bava Metzia – Daf 2-5. Autograph of 29 pages, handwritten by R. Nachum Weisfish of Shadik (Szadek). Jerusalem, 1847. The top of the first page contains an opening title: "Bava Metzia, [Daf] 2. Here in the holy city of Jerusalem, Tuesday Iyar 4, 1847". R. Nachum Rabbi of Shadik (1813-1868) was the son of R. Moshe Avraham Loew Weisfish and disciple of the Chemdat Shlomo, a leading Torah scholar in Poland, who granted him rabbinical ordination at the age of 18. He served as rabbi of Shadik, Poland for a few years, and immigrated to Eretz Israel in 1843 together with his two brothers, R. Asher Lemel Rabbi of Gołyń and R. Yaakov Yehuda Leib, following a dream they all three dreamt separately, instructing them to immigrate to Eretz Israel. In Jerusalem, he would sit for the main part of the day bedecked with Tallit and Tefillin, learning with great diligence. He founded Yeshivat HaRan, where he delivered scholarly lectures to the leading young Torah scholars of Jerusalem. He learnt Kabbalah together with R. Yosef Zundel of Salant from the Kabbalist R. Yehuda HaKohen. He passed away in a Cholera epidemic in 1868 and his epitaph on the Mount of Olives reads: "A holy and pure man, at the age of eight he began searching for G-d and devoted his whole life to Torah, fasts and ascetism. He studied Torah without respite, day and night. He merited to learn and teach, and edified many disciples… A pious and modest man…". This composition was presumably composed whilst learning with his disciples in Yeshivat HaRan, where he taught the tractates Ketubot and Bava Metzia only for approximately ten years. The novella were published based on a manuscript in his book Avnei Kodesh (Jerusalem 1971; Jerusalem 2012). 15 leaves. 21.5 cm. Written on both sides – a total of 29 autograph pages. Thick, dark paper. Fair-good condition. Stains and wear. Detached leaves. Damage to text at the margins.
Lengthy letter (approx. 65 lines) handwritten and signed by R. Yosef Shaul Natansohn, author of Shoel UMeshiv, addressed to R. Yaakov Shlomo Heilprin, a rabbi of Premishlan (Peremyshliany). [Lviv], Adar 1852.
Interesting halachic responsum, regarding disqualifying a Shochet in Premishlan. In this responsum, the Shoel UMeshiv discusses laws of testimony and dayanim, and responds to several responsa and polemic letters sent to him regarding this Shochet. This responsum discloses the interesting combination of R. Yosef Shaul's leadership. On the one hand, his resolute defence of the honor of the dayanim of the city, and his great concern for upholding Kashrut, on the other hand, his obvious considerateness and sensitivity for the dignity and livelihood of the disqualified Shochet (even adding in the address a special request to be particular not to deprive the emissary of his tip).
The Shoel UMeshiv writes his clear conclusion, prohibiting that Shochet to act as Shochet and Bodek in Premishlan, but on the other hand requests that the town find a different source of livelihood for his family. He writes with decisiveness yet compassion: "Accept my compassion for this person and his family, undoubtedly children depend on him, and these young sheep, what wrong did they commit, therefore my beloved friends, provide him with some source of income, until he repents, admits his wrongdoing and undertakes not to return to his foolishness, then he will be able to find sustenance for himself and his household, whether in this city or in different places. And it is very distressing that he was enticed to behave so, and lost his source of sustenance by his own fault… and until his fitness is established with unequivocal testimony, he is henceforth disqualified from ritual slaughtering. This too I do out of mercy for him, but there is no mercy in judgement, and I will not make my Torah a deception, and the One whose Name is truth should guide me in the path of the truth, since my whole aspiration is for truth".
In the lines of the address, an interesting note is added in the handwriting of the Shoel UMeshiv, requesting a tip be paid to the emissary transmitting this letter.
R. Yosef Shaul Natansohn (1808-1875) was a leading Torah scholar in Galicia. Already in his youth, he composed together with his brother-in-law R. Mordechai Zev Ettinger the books Mefarshei HaYam on Bava Kama and Magen Giborim on Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim. He sent responses to thousands of queries, and authored many books: Responsa Shoel UMeshiv – 15 parts; Divrei Shaul on the Torah, Rambam and Shulchan Aruch; Yadot Nedarim and others. From 1857, he served as Chief Rabbi of Lviv, which was the largest and principal Galician community. After his passing, he was eulogized by R. Shlomo Zalman Spitzer (son-in-law of the Chatam Sofer): "A leader of outstanding Torah scholars, master of the entire Jewish people… whom all the leading Torah scholars of our times addressed their questions to on difficult matters… he was holy from birth and was raised in holiness to Torah and worship of G-d… already 40 years ago, my father-in-law the Chatam Sofer praised him effusively and termed him a Gaon...".
The recipient of the letter: R. Yaakov Shlomo Heilprin (1827-1895), rabbi of Dunayev and Premishlan, was the son of R. Dov Berish Heilprin Rabbi of Premishlan. He maintained close ties with R. Yosef Shaul Natansohn, and judging by the large number of responsa addressed to him contained in Responsa Shoel UMeshiv, it appears that he was one of his confidants. He composed the booklet Yefeh Anaf on the history of the Heilprin family.
 double leaf, 21.5 cm. 2 written pages. Fair-good condition. Marginal wear. Creases and folding marks.
This responsum was printed based on this manuscript in Responsa Shoel UMeshiv seventh edition (Jerusalem, 1995), Yoreh De'ah section 2, pp. 108-110 (with a few errors).
Letter of blessings in honor of the 70th birthday of R. Azriel Hildesheimer, by rabbis and notables of the city of Kaunas (Kovne), including R. Yitzchak Elchanan Spektor, Rabbi of Kaunas, and R. Yitzchak Blazer, Rabbi of St. Petersburg. Kaunas, 1890.
A long letter on a large-format leaf. The first four lines are in the handwriting of R. Yitzchak Elchanan, followed by a letter in scribal writing with good wishes and blessings in honor of R. Azriel's 70th birthday.
The margins bear the signature and stamp of R. Yitzchak Elchanan Spektor and four signatures of Kaunas rabbis and notables: R. Yitzchak Meir Rabinowitz, Rabbi of Slobodka (then a suburb of Kaunas); R. Yitzchak (Itzele) Blazer, Rabbi of St. Petersburg"; R. Baruch Broide, Kaunas notable and follower of the Musar Movement and R. Zvi Hirsh Soltzovsky, son-in-law of R. Yitzchak Elchanan.
Beside the signatures of the Rabbis appears the stamp of Kollel Perushim in Kaunas with the inscription: "Society of founders of our People's philanthropists established by the Torah scholars of our times to support those who study Torah and to guide them in Torah learning and fear [of G-d] to train them to become Torah authorities".
R. Yitzchak Elchanan Spektor (1817-1896), a Torah luminary in his generation, renowned for his exceptional Torah knowledge, his diligence and outstanding piety. The supreme Torah authority of his times, he led Lithuanian and Russian Jewry for years with wisdom and compassion. Officiated in the rabbinate from ca. 1837 and in 1864, was appointed Rabbi of Kaunas (Kovne), his name spreading all over the world as a leading posek. His responsa and novellae are printed in his books Be'er Yitzchak, Nachal Yitzchak and Ein Yitzchak.
R. Yitzchak (Itzele) Blazer (1837-1907), prominent disciple of R. Yisrael of Salant, luminary in his days and disseminator of the Musar Movement. Officiated in the rabbinate of the capital city St. Petersburg and from 1862-1878, headed the Kovne Kollel. In his senior years, he moved to Jerusalem. Authored Pri Yitzchak Responsa and Kochvei Or which he published together with the book Or Yisrael by his revered teacher, R. Yisrael of Salant.
R. Yitzchak Meir Rabinowitz (1843-1891), Lithuanian Torah scholar, Rabbi of Žasliai, later of Slobodka (from ca. 1885).
The recipient, R. Azriel Hildesheimer (1820-1899), a leader in his times, was a disciple of the Aruch LaNer and of R. Yitzchak Bernays of Hamburg. He served as rabbi of Eisenstadt between 1851-1869 where he founded an innovative yeshiva integrating secular studies according to the Torah with Derech Eretz doctrine. This move drew opposition and criticism both from the Reform movement and from certain sects of Orthodox Judaism. However, the leading rabbis of Hungary and Germany recognized his greatness and backed his yeshiva. In 1869, he was appointed rabbi of Berlin, where he established the Rabbinical seminary, standing at the helm of Orthodox Jewry in Germany.
R. Yitzchak Elchanan and R. Azriel Hildesheimer developed a close relationship during their mutual activities on behalf of the Jewish People, R. Yitzchak Elchanan from his base in Russia and R. Azriel from Germany. Among other joint undertakings, they labored to assist Russian Jewry after the 1881 pogroms (Sufot BaNegev), establishing a relief committee for Russian Jewry in Berlin; both luminaries extended great efforts to annul decrees against the Jewish People from their respective countries.
 leaf. 36 cm. Good-fair condition. Stains. Folding marks, filing holes.
Lengthy and interesting letter handwritten and signed by R. Naftali Tzvi Yehuda Berlin – the Netziv of Volozhin. Volozhin (Valozhyn) 1890.
Addressed to R. Azriel Hildesheimer in Berlin, the letter contains heartfelt blessings in flowery terms, on the occasion of his 70th birthday – "May G-d add to him years of life, vitalize him, guard him and satisfy him… and may his fragrance be amongst his people like the wine of Harel and Ariel". The Netziv praises his accomplishments in the Rabbinical Seminary in Berlin: "I am like the masses of the Jewish nation, who know and understand that he has achieved much, by building and planting in Prussia (Germany) a place for the study of Torah and Halacha, an abode for the honor and service of G-d, and he is comparable to the glow of the stars, who illuminate the night for the multitudes. Therefore, I hereby extend by blessings and prayers, that G-d should help him build more pathways to serving Him and may the light of the merit of the Torah guide his ways, to draw after him the Jewish people pleasantly…".
The Netziv signs off the letter with a request from R. Azriel Hildesheimer to in turn bless him: "And may I as well be blessed with his blessings, to continue guarding the yeshiva, at the age when one already requires rest from old age. I, his friend who is loaded with a great deal of work. Awaiting G-d's salvation – Naftali Tzvi Yehuda Berlin".
R. Naftali Tzvi Yehuda Berlin – the Netziv of Volozhin (1817-1893), a foremost and outstanding Torah scholar of his generation, was the son-in-law of R. Yitzchak of Volozhin and his successor as dean of the yeshiva for decades. His father, R. Yaakov Berlin of Mir (1794-1868), immigrated to Jerusalem in 1854 and was one of the leaders of the Prushim community in Jerusalem.
Known for his great diligence and brilliance, the Netziv led the Volozhin yeshiva with devotion and love for many years, until the yeshiva became the main breeding ground for Torah leaders who were the glory of Lithuanian, Russian and Polish Jewry. With his noble personality and profound, thorough erudition, he produced generations of eminent Torah scholars, yeshiva deans, dayanim and rabbis. He was also engaged in public leadership and his opinion was conclusive for all community matters in Russia and Lithuania. He responded to halachic queries which many rabbis sent to him, customarily signing his letters in those years as "he who is laden with work". He composed many books, including HaEmek She'ela – novellae on She'iltot; HaEmek Davar on the Torah; Responsa Meishiv Davar; Talmudic novellae and commentaries on Halachic midrashim: Mechilta, Sifri and Sifra.
The recipient of the letter, R. Azriel Hildesheimer (1820-1899), a leader in his times, was a disciple of the Aruch LaNer and of R. Yitzchak Bernays of Hamburg. He served as rabbi of Eisenstadt between 1851-1869 where he founded an innovative yeshiva integrating secular studies according to the Torah with Derech Eretz doctrine. This move drew opposition and criticism both from the Reform movement and from certain sects of Orthodox Judaism. However, the leading rabbis of Hungary and Germany recognized his greatness and backed his yeshiva. In 1869, he was appointed rabbi of Berlin, where he established the Rabbinical seminary, standing at the helm of Orthodox Jewry in Germany.
 leaf, official stationery. 25 cm. 17 handwritten lines. Good-fair condition. Stains and creases. Minor wear.
Interesting letter handwritten and signed by R. Yechiel Michel HaLevi Epstein Rabbi of Navahrudak, author of Aruch HaShulchan, to his relative R. Yosef David [Shachor] Rabbi of Siemiatycze. Navahrudak, Shevat 1904.
In an interesting letter, R. Yechiel Michel announces the engagement of his granddaughter Rashke [orphaned daughter of his son-in-law R. Efraim Zalman Shachor-Warhaftig, brother of R. Yosef David recipient of this letter], with R. Yehonatan Nachumovsky, nephew of R. Eliyahu Chaim Meisel of Lodz. At the end of this joyful letter, R. Yechiel Michel blesses the recipient "that he should see pleasure and satisfaction from his progeny and their children forever".
The Aruch HaShulchan recounts all the details of the shidduch and the undertakings of all parties. He relates that his son R. Baruch Epstein of Pinsk [author of Torah Temima] suggested the match and describes the progress of the shidduch, completed in Vilna in the home of his son, R. Dov Ber [the orphaned bride was a niece to both him and his wife Lifsha (Shachor), from her paternal and maternal sides, see article by R. Eitam Henkin, Chapters in the history of the author of Aruch HaShulchan, Yeshurun, 27, p. 662].
R. Yechiel Michel Epstein (1829-1908), Rabbi of Navahrudak, leading Lithuanian posek. Authored Aruch HaShulchan on the four parts of the Shulchan Aruch and other books. Disciple of R. Eliyahu Rabbi of Babruysk and disciple of R. Itzele in the Volozhin Yeshiva. Son-in-law of R. Yaakov Berlin (the Netziv's father) and by second marriage father-in-law of the Netziv's brother-in-law.
The recipient, R. Yosef David Shachor (died 1906), grandson of R. Chaim Leib Shachor of Mir [brother-in-law of R. Yechiel Michel, sons-in-law of R. Yaakov Berlin of Mir]. His late brother was R. Yechiel Michel's son-in-law, sons of R. Alexander Ziskind Shachor of Ruzhany and Jerusalem. R. Yosef David was the disciple of his relative the Netziv of Volozhin. Served 11 years in the Antopal community and from 1900 as Rabbi of Siemiatycze.
Several letters by the Aruch HaShulchan to R. Yosef David Rabbi of Siemiatycze about the shidduch and marriage of R. Yosef David's niece were printed in the book Zecher Avot [containing the history of the Shachor family, Tel Aviv, 1993, pp. 286-289], however, this letter does not appear in the book and is hitherto unknown.
Postcard, 9X14 cm. 13 lines handwritten and signed by him. Good condition.
Lengthy letter handwritten and signed by R. Yaakov David Ridvaz. [Safed?], Shevat 1909.
Lengthy halachic responsum, regarding a "dispensation of one hundred rabbis" for a man whose wife does not conform with Jewish law. The letter itself consists of 27 lines in his handwriting, with some 30 lines of additions, written in the margins, between the lines and on the verso of the leaf.
The Ridvaz – R. Yaakov David Willowsky (1845-1913), was a prominent Torah scholar renowned since his youth as a leading Torah scholar in his generation. He served as rabbi in several places, including Slutsk, Chicago and Safed. He would commonly sign with the acronym Ridvaz (which originally stood for Rinat Yaakov David Ben Zev, yet later, when the name Refael was added to him during an illness, it simply stood for his initials Refael Yaakov David Ben Zev. See his preface to his book Responsa Beit Ridvaz). He composed many books, yet his magnum-opus remains his comprehensive commentary on Jerusalem Talmud, and most editions of Jerusalem Talmud include it. His granddaughter married the head of the London Beit Din, R. Yechezkel Abramsky, author of Chazon Yechezkel.
This responsum was published with variations (based on a different manuscript, not including the additions on the verso of this leaf), in Responsa Kerem Ridvaz (Jerusalem 1995).
 leaf. 27 cm. Written on both sides. Fair condition. Stains and tears. Repairs to paper.
Lengthy letter (4 pages) handwritten and signed by R. Meir Arik, Rabbi of Yazlovets. Yazlovets, days of Selichot 1912.
A halachic responsum concerning laws of a misguided betrothal, in a case when a person married an insane woman "who does not have any intelligence whatsoever, to distinguish between summer and winter, and she is like an animal in form of a human being…". The responsum was sent to R. Moshe Stern Rabbi of Polien (Poienile de sub Munte) and to his son-in-law R. David Sperber, posek in that city (a disciple of R. Meir Arik). R. Meir relates in it to a responsum by R. Shlomo Leib Tabak, author of Erech Shai, on this topic. This responsum was published based on a manuscript in Responsa Imrei Yosher HaChadash (Jerusalem, 1997), Even HaEzer section 78, pp. 71-72. R. Meir Arik concludes the letter with blessings for a good year: "I hereby seek their wellbeing wholeheartedly, and bless them with a good inscribing and sealing. Meir Arik, Rabbi of this city".
R. Meir Arik (1855-1925), a leading Galician Torah scholar, served as rabbi of Yazlovets, Buchach and Tarnów. He was a disciple of R. Yaakov of Rimalov (Hrymailiv) and of the Maharsham. From 1885, he served as rabbi of Yazlovets, in place of his teacher the Maharsham who moved to Berezhany. From 1912, he served as rabbi of Buchach. During WWI, he fled to Vienna, studying Torah there with his friend R. Yosef Engel. Following the war, he returned to Poland and was appointed rabbi of Tarnów. Many of Poland's leading Torah scholars were his disciples, the most renowned ones include R. Meir Shapiro of Lublin, R. Aryeh Tzvi Frumer – the Gaon of Koziegłowy, R. David Sperber Gaon of Brașov (recipient of this letter), R. Yehuda Horowitz – Rebbe of Dzikov, R. Meshulam Roth author of Kol Mevaser, R. Reuven Margolies and R. Yehoshua Erenberg Rabbi of Tel Aviv.
He published many books, yet most of his manuscripts were lost during his escape to Vienna during WWI, including five large volumes of halachic responsa. His books: Sheyarei Tahara on Mishnayot Order Taharot (Kolomyia, 1890); Minchat Kenaot on Tractate Sota (Lviv, 1894); Minchat Pitim on Shulchan Aruch Yoreh De'ah and Even HaEzer (Munkacs, 1898-1908); Tal Torah (Vienna, 1921); Responsa Imrei Yosher part I (Munkacs, 1913), part II (Kraków-Tarnów, 1925); and other books containing selections of his Torah thought and letters: Minchat Aharon – Me'irat Einayim (Brooklyn, 1978) and Imrei Yosher HaChadash – Tal Torah HaChadash (Jerusalem, 1997).
 double leaf, 4 pages, approx. 22.5 cm. Good-fair condition. Minor tears and dampstains.
Letter (approx. 10 lines), handwritten and signed by R. "Yisrael Meir HaKohen of Radin". [Radin (Radun')], Elul 1926.
Letter of blessings for the New Year, addressed to the philanthropist R. David Potash in Tel Aviv (who made great effort to assist the Chafetz Chaim in his immigration plan to Eretz Israel).
"To my honorable and outstanding friend, a seeker of charity and kindness, R. David Potash… as the year draws to its close, I hereby extend my blessings… may G-d renew upon him a year of life, peace, blessing and success in all his endeavors, and may his eyes see the salvation of the Jewish people and the raising of the prestige of the Torah, in accordance with his wishes and the wishes of his friend who blesses him with Ketiva VeChatima Tova – Yisrael Meir HaKohen of Radin".
R. Yisrael Meir HaKohen of Radin (1837-1933), leader of the Jewish people, was widely known by the name of his first book, the Chafetz Chaim. He founded the Radin yeshiva and authored many halachic and ethical works: Mishna Berura, Shemirat HaLashon, Ahavat Chessed and dozens more. This letter was written in his later years, at the age of about 90.
Official stationery. 28 cm. Good condition. Folding marks and light wear.
Handwritten title page for Likutei Halachot on Tractates Zevachim and Menachot, handwritten and signed by the author R. "Yisrael Meir son of R. Aryeh Zev HaKohen" (approx. 9 lines). [Warsaw, ca. 1899].
· Three printed leaves – galley proofs of leaves 1-3 containing the author's prefaces. A lengthy note (3 lines), handwritten by the author the Chafetz Chaim, appears on p. 3a.
"Sefer Likutei Halachot – a compilation of the essential laws derived from the topics in the Order of Kodashim [currently published from Zevachim and Menachot] according to the rulings of the Rambam, a little here and there the opinions of other Rishonim on these topics will also be explained… All this I did with the assistance of the One who grants man wisdom - Yisrael Meir son of R. Aryeh Zev HaKohen".
R. Yisrael Meir HaKohen of Radin (1837-1933), leader of the Jewish people, was widely known by the name of his first book, the Chafetz Chaim. He founded the Radin yeshiva and authored many halachic and ethical works: Mishna Berura, Shemirat HaLashon, Ahavat Chessed and dozens more. One of his greatest enterprises was Likutei Halachot, a complement to Hilchot HaRav Alfas by the Rif, with a clear and concise commentary, compiled from books of the Rishonim. The Rif's book was written on Talmudic topics which are currently relevant and applicable. Likutei Halachot covers topics relating to the Temple and its services, which are not practiced at the present time. The objective of the Chafetz Chaim in publishing this book was to encourage the study of topics pertaining to the Temple services and offerings, thereby bolstering the yearning for the rebuilding of the Temple, speedily in our times.
The first part of Likutei Halachot on Tractates Zevachim and Menachot was printed in Warsaw in the autumn of 1899, and these leaves were written then during the printing process.
 leaves. Approx. 23 cm. Fair condition. Tears to the center of the leaves affecting text. Wear and worming.
Responsa of the Maharik, by R. Yosef Colon. Warsaw, 1884.
The front endpaper contains ownership inscriptions indicating that the book belonged to R. Yisrael Meir HaKohen of Radin, the Chafetz Chaim: "This book belongs to the preeminent scholar R. Yisrael Meir son of R. Aryeh Zev HaKohen of Radin, Vilna province, author of Chafetz Chaim"; "This book belongs to R. Yisrael Meir HaKohen of Radin, who acquired it from a person who wishes to remain unnamed. So says his friend who seeks his wellbeing Yitzchak Koshoner".
This book came from the inheritance of R. Tzvi Yehuda Eidelstein, son of R. Yerachmiel Gershon Eidelstein Rabbi of Shumyachi and author of Chiddushei Ben Aryeh (1862-1919), who received it from the Chafetz Chaim himself. This transpired during WWI, when the Chafetz Chaim fled together with the Radin Yeshiva to Shumyachi, Minsk province, where they remained for some two and a half years. During that period, the rabbi of the town, R. Yerachmiel Gershon, became very close to the Chafetz Chaim. In his book Chiddushei Ben Aryeh Part II, several responsa appear concerning Mikvaot and Agunah, questions posed to the Chafetz Chaim who requested from R. Yerachmiel Gershon to respond to them with the applicable Halacha (the Chafetz Chaim also reputedly said about him that he was a disciple of R. Chaim of Brisk not only in Torah but also in his righteousness).
, 2-116,  leaves. 32.5 cm. Dry paper. Fair-good condition. Worming. Wear and mold stains. Endpaper containing ownership inscriptions is professionally restored. Elaborate leather binding.
An authentication letter by R. Yitzchak Yeshaya Weiss is enclosed, confirming that "this book comes from the library of R. Yaakov Eidelstein, son of R. Tzvi Yehuda Rabbi of Shumyachi in whose home the Chafetz Chaim stayed during WWI, leaving the book there when the war ended".
Letter with the signature and stamp of R. Chaim HaLevi Soloveitchik. Minsk, Shevat 15, 1916. Written by a scribe with the handwritten signature of R. "Chaim HaLevi Soloveitchik" (the letter was presumably written by his son R. Yitzchak Zev Soloveitchik and signed by R. Chaim).
Rabbinical ordination, accorded to Rebbe Menachem Nachum Rabinowitz, son of Rebbe Pinchas of Kontikoziva (Prybuzhany) and son-in-law of Rebbe Yosef of Koidanov (Dzyarzhynsk). R. Chaim alludes to the Rebbe's faculty to give blessings: "Those who acknowledge him will be blessed and fortunate through him, as it says that blessing is adjoined to a Torah scholar".
"R. Menachem Nachum son of R. Pinchas Rabinowitz was by me, he is great in Torah and fear of G-d, sharp and erudite, I discussed Torah with him and found him presenting straight rational in his Torah debates, he responds correctly and in accordance with Halacha… He is exceptional in every way… a son-in-law of the great Torah scholar from Koidanov… therefore my words come to inform others of his virtues. Those who acknowledge him will be blessed and fortunate through him, as it says that blessing is adjoined to a Torah scholar – so says Chaim HaLevi Soloveitchik".
R. Chaim HaLevi Soloveitchik (1853-1918), Rabbi of Brisk (Brest), was a foremost Torah scholar in Lithuania and one of the leaders of his generation, and is considered the initiator of the learning method in Lithuanian yeshivot. He was the son of R. Yosef Dov Soloveitchik, the Beit HaLevi, and son-in-law of R. Refael Shapiro, dean of the Volozhin yeshiva and son-in-law of the Netziv. After his marriage, he began serving as the third dean of the Volozhin yeshiva. With the yeshiva's closure, he proceeded to succeed his father, who passed away in 1894, as rabbi of Brisk, and continued teaching Torah to a small group of elite students. He was known for the uncompromising battle he waged against Zionism (R. Chaim would frequently say that the Zionist movement's prime objective is to uproot faith and Torah observance from the Jewish people). He was one of the founders of Agudath Yisrael, yet despite his extensive public and charitable activity, his mind never ceased learning and innovating in Torah, delving deeply into Torah topics until absolute exhaustion. A small compendium of his novellae was printed some twenty years after his passing in Chiddushei Rabbeinu Chaim HaLevi on the Rambam, published by his son R. Yitzchak Zev Soloveitchik Rabbi of Brisk (Brisk, 1936 – in the foreword by the author's sons, they write how the book was written over a period of many years, revised over and over again, "even a hundred times"). Many novellae circulated orally in his name within the Lithuanian yeshivot, transmitted and copied by many writers, resulting in the stencil edition of Chiddushei HaGrach (in recent years, several books were published based on R. Chaim's draft notebooks, with some of the novellae corresponding to those transmitted orally).
The recipient of the ordination: The Rebbe of Koidanov-Haifa – R. Menachem Nachum Rabinowitz (1887-1959) was the son of Rebbe Pinchas Rabinowitz of Kantikuziva-Linitz (1861-1926) and son-in-law of Rebbe Yosef Perlow of Koidanov (d. Chanukah 1915 – a month and a half before this letter was written). He served as rabbi and rebbe in Russia. In 1934, he immigrated to Eretz Israel and became the head of the Beit Din in Haifa. He authored the book Machshevet Nachum.
In Machshevet Nachum (Jerusalem, 2004, p. 239), his son describes the circumstances surrounding this letter of ordination from R. Chaim: "I heard from my father that when he came [to Minsk] to receive rabbinical ordination from R. Chaim of Brisk, he met the latter in his house when he was surrounded by several rabbis and young rabbinical students, and after R. Chaim welcomed him with great reverence and affection, he told him of the purpose of his visit – to obtain an ordination. R. Chaim asked if he had yet been accorded any ordinations, and when he answered to the affirmative, R. Chaim requested to see them. My father showed him one ordination, and R. Chaim, after perusing it, commented: Kalt! [=cold]. My father responded that it isn't so surprising, considering the rabbi who wrote it is an opponent of Chassidism. R. Chaim retorted, 'And what am I?!', to which R. Nachum replied, 'His honor is half a Chassid'…" (see the continuation of the story in the enclosed copy). The preface of Machshevet Nachum (p. ) attests that this enthusiastic letter was worded and written by R. Chaim's son, R. Yitzchak Zev Soloveitchik Rabbi of Brisk.
 leaf. 20.5 cm. Good condition. Stains.
Letter (16 lines) handwritten and signed by the kabbalist R. Shlomo Elyashov, author of Leshem Shevo V'Achlama. Shavel (Šiauliai, Lithuania), Elul 1891.
Sent via Kovno (Kaunas), to be passed on to his friend and relative R. Shraga Meir Leizerowitz of Žagarė. The letter opens with warm wishes for the new year: "He Who gives life should decree years of life and Ketiva VeChatima Tova for my friend and relative… the outstanding and pious R. Shraga Meir Feivish Leizerowitz". R. Shlomo Elyashov advises R. Shraga Meir to act upon the advice of R. Leib Chassid of Kelm on a certain matter, and be cautious lest R. Natan Tzvi of Slabodka know about it: "Concerning what the Chassid R. Leib told him, his advice is very correct. But take care not to inform Natan Tzvi of Slabo--- about it…" (we do not know which topic is being discussed, nor whether the Natan Tzvi mentioned refers to R. Natan Tzvi Finkel, the Saba of Slabodka. It may pertain to R. Shraga Meir's plans of travelling to London).
The holy Torah scholar, R. Shlomo Elyashov (1841-1926), a leading Kabbalist in Lithuania – "the G-dly Kabbalist, master of secrets, unique in his generation…" (as his disciple R. Aryeh Levin described him on the title page of the biography he wrote about him), lived in Shavel (Šiauliai, Lithuania). R. Shlomo became renowned at a young age for his proficiency in Kabbalah, and he arranged for printing most of the writings of the Gaon of Vilna on Kabbalah. His notes on Etz Chaim were printed in the Warsaw 1891 edition under the title Hagahot HaRav SheVaCh (Shlomo ben Chaikel). His series of books on Kabbalah named Leshem Shevo V'Achlama were published from 1909-1948, and are considered fundamental works for the study of Kabbalah. His books and writings were composed amidst much holiness and purity (he reputedly also used Hashbaat HaKulmus). He entertained a close relationship with the Chafetz Chaim, who visited him several times in Shavel and Homel (the Chafetz Chaim once spent a Shabbat with him in Shavel, and on that occasion, the women of the family ate the meals in a different room. See the letter of R. Tzvi Hirsh Ferber, Yeshurun, 5, p. 663, 6). The Chafetz Chaim urged his disciple R. Eliyahu Dushnitzer to go visit the Leshem, famously saying that in this world one may still merit to see him, while in the Next World, his place will be in the highest spheres, and we will be far from him.
The recipient of the letter, R. Shraga Meir Leizerowitz (1840-1929), was a native of Kelm. He was a pious person and a Kabbalist, close to R. Leibly Chassid of Kelm, to the foremost Kabbalists of Lithuania (the Leshem, R. Aryeh Leib Lipkin of Kretinga, R. Aharon Shlomo Maharil, R. Yitzchak Meltzan and others) and to the leading disciples of R. Yisrael of Salant. After his marriage, he lived in Žagarė, and honored R. Chaim Chaikel Elyashov (father of the Leshem) to be the Sandak at the circumcision of his son. R. Shraga Meir arrived in England in the early 1890s, where he served for many years a rabbi of Chevrat Shas. In his later years he immigrated to Jerusalem.
Postcard. 14 cm. Good condition. Light stains. Postmarks from Šiauliai.
Soviet passport of the holy kabbalist R. Shlomo Elyashov, the Leshem. Gomel (Homel), 1923.
Russian passport, printed in Russian and French, of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic. This passport discloses details pertaining to the immigration to Eretz Israel of the Leshem at the age of 82, together with his son-in-law, daughter and grandson: R. Avraham Popka-Elyashov, Mrs. Chaya Musha (Musia), and the child Yosef Shalom.
The passport was issued in Gomel (Homel) in November 1923, citing Eretz Israel as the destination of their journey. The identification details were completed by hand: Age: 82. Year of Birth: 1841. Place of Birth: Kaunas province. The leaves of the passport bear stamps, attesting to their journey from Homel, via Moscow, Odessa and Turkey: 1. Stamp of the Soviet Republic, from Gomel, November 1, 1923 – allowing exit from the Soviet Union to Eretz Israel, via Odessa. Russian. 2. Visa entry stamp to Eretz Israel from Moscow, November 14, 1923. English. 3. Stamp from Odessa, February 15, 1924. 4. Stamp from Turkey dated February 29, 1924 with details in Turkish and stamp of the Russian embassy in Turkey. 5. Stamp of the Government of Palestine dated March 7, 1924 (according to their immigration certificate issued by the Palestine Office of the Jewish Agency in Constantinople – see Kedem Auction 62 Item 280 – the date they registered in Constantinople for immigration was March 2, 1924, and they actually left Constantinople on a ship headed for Jaffa on March 6, 1924). The photograph was torn off this passport.
The holy Kabbalist R. Shlomo Elyashiv (Elyashov, Elyashoff), author of the Leshem (1841-1926) was a leading Lithuanian Kabbalist. His notes on Etz Chaim were printed in the Warsaw 1891 edition under the title Hagahot HaRav SheVaCh (Shlomo ben Chaim Chaikel), appellation the Sephardi rabbis were fond of calling him by. His series of books on Kabbalah named Leshem Shevo V'Achlama were published in 1909-1948, and are considered fundamental works on the study of Kabbalah. He was received in Jerusalem with great honor by the leading Sephardi and Ashkenazi Kabbalists, especially R. Shaul Dweck, dean of the Rechovot HaNahar yeshiva who had exchanged correspondence with him all the years, and the Chief Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak HaKohen Kook, his disciple in Kabbalah already during the time the Leshem lived in Šiauliai. His was joined in his immigration to Eretz Israel by his son-in-law from Homel - R. Avraham Elyashov (Elyashiv; 1878-1943), his daughter Rebbetzin Chaya Musha (Musia, 1881-1952) and their only son R. Yosef Shalom Elyashiv (1910-2012), then a young boy of thirteen and a half, who later became one of the leading Halachic authorities of this generation.
Booklet, 17.5 cm. 8 leaves. Good-fair condition. Lacking photograph. Open tear in place of photograph at the center of leaf . Original, fabric covered wrappers, detached and slightly worn.
Maharach Or Zarua Responsa, by R. Chain son of Rabbeinu Yitzchak of Vienna, author of Or Zarua. Leipzig, . First edition, copied from a manuscript "which was hidden for close to 600 years".
Copy of R. Natan Zvi Finkel "the Saba of Slabodka" and of his son R. Moshe Finkel. Handwritten inscription on the flyleaf: "Gift to my brother-in-law… R. Natan Zvi Finkel". Ownership stamps of his son R. "Moshe Finkel – Rosh Metivta of the Knesset Yisrael Yeshiva – Slobodka, Kovne". Signature on title page: "Zvi Meir HaCohen".
R. Natan Zvi Finkel – the "Saba of Slabodka" (1849-1927), leading figure in the Mussar Movement. Disciple of R. Yisrael of Salant and one of the founders of Kollel Perushim in Kovne. Founded many yeshivot, including the Slabodka Yeshiva, later named Knesset Yisrael after his teacher R. Yisrael of Salant. In his senior years, he moved to Eretz Israel and established a branch in the city of Hebron. Taught thousands of disciples, many of whom blossomed into Torah giants, and was known for his profound ethical influence. An anthology of his deep discourses was printed in the Or HaTzafun series. He conducted himself with simplicity and asceticism and modesty, never appearing in public, his name and signature do not appear on any official document of the Slobodka Yeshiva or Torah institutes which he managed. His private correspondence was infrequent and he would usually sign the few letters he wrote with his initials and not with his full signature. His home was open wide and his disciples would move about as comfortably as its owners. His personal belongings were few and books belonging to his private library are very rare.
R. Moshe Finkel, one of the heads of the Knesset Yisrael Yeshiva in Slabodka and in Hebron (1884-1925), esteemed son of the "Saba of Slabodka", R. Natan Zvi Finkel and son-in-law of the head of the yeshiva R. Moshe Mordechai Epstein, Torah prodigy who amazed both R. Chaim of Brisk and R. Meir Simcha of Dvinsk with his Torah knowledge and profound comprehension foreseeing that he would be a future Torah luminary. In 1913, he began delivering discourses in the Slabodka Yeshiva. In the month of Adar 1925, he moved to Eretz Israel and officiated as a head of the Knesset Yisrael – Slobodka Yeshiva in Hebron. He died on Chol Hamoed Sukkot 1926 at the age of 42 and in the lifetime of his illustrious father [stories abound of the Saba's control of his sentiments and his coping with his personal tragedy during the Festival].
XIV, 91 leaves,  leaf. Lacking the last three leaves of the index of responsa and errata. 22 cm. Fair condition. Stains and heavy wear. Defects and dampstains. Paper strips reinforcing the margins of some leaves. Detached leaves, torn and detached binding.
Six parts of the Mishnah Berurah, commentary on Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim, by R. Yisrael Meir HaCohen of Radin, author of Chafetz Chaim. [Warsaw, Piotrków, 1884-1907. Vol. 1, 3, 4 and 5 are first editions. Vol. 2 and 6 are stereotype editions].
Some volumes bear "proofread" inscriptions in the handwriting of the author of the Chafetz Chaim. The volume which contains the laws of Shabbat bears an ownership inscription on the flyleaf: "Belongs to R. Baruch Duber Leibowitz Rosh Metivta in the great Knesset Beit Yitzchak Yeshiva". Signatures and ownership inscriptions of R. Moshe Finkel, a head of the Knesset Yisrael Yeshiva in Slobodka and Hebron, adorn the five other volumes. A handwritten gloss appears in part 3, p. 42.
R. Baruch Dov (Ber) Leibowitz (1864-1940), author of Birkat Shmuel, taught many disciples. Disciple of R. Chaim of Brisk in the Volozhin Yeshiva, son-in-law of R. Avraham Yitzchak Zimmerman Rabbi of Hlusk. After his father-in-law relocated to the Kremenchuk rabbinate, he succeeded him in the Hlusk rabbinate and established a yeshiva. After a 13-year tenure, he was asked to head the Knesset Beit Yitzchak Yeshiva in Slobodka. During WWI, he wandered with the yeshiva to Minsk, Kremenchuk and Vilna, finally settling in Kamenets. Author of Birkat Shmuel on Talmudic treatises. His writings are basic works of deep yeshiva Torah study.
R. Moshe Finkel, (1884-1925), son of the "Saba of Slabodka", R. Natan Zvi Finkel and son-in-law of the head of the yeshiva R. Moshe Mordechai Epstein, Torah prodigy who amazed both R. Chaim of Brisk and R. Meir Simcha of Dvinsk with his Torah knowledge and profound comprehension and they foresaw that he would be a future Torah luminary. In 1913, he began delivering discourses in the Slabodka Yeshiva. In the month of Adar 1925, he moved to Eretz Israel and officiated as a head of the Knesset Yisrael – Slobodka Yeshiva in Hebron. He died on Chol Hamoed Sukkot 1926 at the age of 42, in the lifetime of his illustrious father.
Six volumes. Part 1: 151,  leaves. Part 2: 155 leaves. Part 3: , 2-195 leaves (lacking first leaf with the introduction to the Hilchot Shabbat). Part 4: , 196-290 leaves. Part 5: 153,  leaves. Part 6: 164 leaves. 23 cm. Brittle paper. Condition varies, fair to good-fair. The inside of some volumes is in good-fair condition. Stains and wear. Worming. Detached leaves and few tears. Contemporary bindings, mostly detached. Defects and worming to binding.
The Mishnah Berurah books on Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim were composed and printed by the author of the Chafetz Chaim during the course of 27 years. He toiled greatly in studying the halachot and labored to reach true halachic conclusions (sometimes studying the same topic more than 36 times). These books were accepted by the entire Jewish world and many editions were printed. The Chafetz Chaim was accustomed to inspecting each and every book for defective printing or exchanged leaves and would write in his own handwriting "proofread" on each book which passed his inspection.
Mesilat Yesharim, pertaining to ethics and fear of G-d, including Derech Etz Chaim, by R. Moshe Chaim Luzzatto – the Ramchal. Vilna, 1869.
The title page bears the signature of R. Yehuda Leib Chasman, signing with the acronym: "Yahel---". The margins contain numerous brief as well as lengthy notes in his handwriting.
Mesilat Yesharim is the foremost ethics work in Torah study halls and for adherents of the Mussar movement. This edition was printed based on the Königsberg 1858 edition which was published at the behest of R. Yisrael of Salant, following a directive he received from his teacher R. Yosef Zundel of Salant. The latter related to his illustrious disciple, that upon receiving a farewell blessing from his teacher R. Chaim of Volozhin when leaving the Volozhin yeshiva, he asked his teacher which ethics books he recommends studying. R. Chaim replied: "All ethics books are beneficial, but Mesilat Yesharim should be your guide".
R. Yehuda Leib Chasman (1869-1934), a leading Torah scholar of his times, was a study partner and childhood friend of R. Chaim Ozer Grodzinski in their native city of Iwye. A student of the Kelm Beit HaTalmud, he served as mashgiach of the Telshe yeshiva during the time of R. Shimon Shkop. From 1909, he served as rabbi of Szczuczyn, and established there a Yeshiva Gedola which was closed at the outbreak of WWI. After the war, with the ensuing destruction of Torah institutions and communities, he dedicated himself to the activities of the Vaad HaYeshivot in Vilna. He was a confidant of the heads of the Vaad: R. Chaim Ozer Grodzinski, the Chafetz Chaim and R. Shimon Shkop.
In 1927, the Saba of Slabodka (who dubbed him "the genius in ethics") called him to succeed him as mashgiach of his yeshiva in Hebron, a position he held until his death in Cheshvan 1935. His Torah novellae were published in his book Minchat Yehuda and his discourses were printed by his leading disciples in the three volumes of Or Yahel.
, 2-42 leaves. Approx. 17.5 cm. Thin, high-quality paper. Good condition. Stains. New, elaborate leather binding.
Report from R. Yitzchak Yeshaya Weiss enclosed, identifying the signature and notes as "R. Yehuda Leib Chasman's distinctive handwriting". R. Weiss affirms that the signature on the title page can be read "Yahelibman", as per his surname in his youth, when he was known as Yehuda Leib Libman.