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Letter handwritten and signed by R. "Baruch Dov Leibowitz, dean of the Slabodka Beit Yizchak yeshiva in Vilna". Vilna (Vilnius), Adar 1925.
Addressed to R. Avraham Yitzchak HaKohen Kook in Jerusalem - "To his honor, the great Torah scholar… R. Avraham Yitzchak HaKohen", the letter contains a request to obtain immigration certificates for four students who needed to travel urgently, for life-threatening reasons (during that period, new conscription decrees came into effect in Poland and Lithuania, threatening the yeshivot, and in its wake the Slabodka yeshiva in Hebron was founded. These decrees were annulled in the end of the summer, 1925).
R. Baruch Dov (Ber) Leibowitz (1864-1939), author of Birkat Shmuel was a leading disseminator of Torah in his generation. He was a disciple of R. Chaim of Brisk in the Volozhin yeshiva and son-in-law of R. Avraham Yitzchak Zimmerman Rabbi of Halusk. After the latter relocated to Kremenchug to serve as rabbi there, R. Baruch Ber succeeded him as rabbi of Halusk and established a yeshiva there. After 13 years, he was invited to serve as dean of the Knesset Beit Yitzchak yeshiva in Slabodka. During WWI, he wandered with the yeshiva to Minsk, Kremenchug and Vilna, finally establishing it in Kamenitz (Kamyanyets). He authored Birkat Shmuel on Talmudic topics. His orally transmitted and written teachings are the basis of in-depth, yeshiva study.
This letter dates from the period the yeshiva spent in Vilna, before relocating to Kamenitz, and the foot of the letter bears the (rare) stamps of R. Baruch Ber from that period.
 leaf. 22.5 cm. Good condition. Folding marks and filing holes.
Interesting letter, handwritten and signed by R. Shimon Yehuda HaKohen Shkop, dean of the Grodno yeshiva. London, summer 1936.
Addressed to his disciple, "my acquaintance from my young years", R. Yisrael Baruch Zinober, a rabbi in Manchester. R. Shimon writes to him with humility and joy at the prospect of meeting one of his veteran disciples, also mentioning his delight upon seeing R. Zilberstam, whom he met in Liverpool.
This letter was written during the course of R. Shimon Shkop's trip to England in his later years, with the purpose of saving the Grodno yeshiva from financial collapse. The letter contains a description of the difficulty involved in this trip, and about his stay in London, which would extend over two weeks before his departure for Manchester. He concludes the letter "Seeking his wellbeing, blessing him with success in all his endeavors – Shimon Yehuda HaKohen Shkop".
R. Shimon Yehuda Shkop (1860-1939, Otzar HaRabbanim 19962), as disciple of R. Chaim Soloveitchik in the Volozhin yeshiva, who instructed him on intricate and profound methodology of Torah study. At the age of 24, he was appointed dean of the Telshe yeshiva (founded by his uncle R. Eliezer Gordon), where he gave over to the many students his innovative method of logical study – approach adopted by the entire Torah world until this day. One of his foremost disciples from that period was R. Elchanan Wasserman. In 1920, he was called to head the Shaar HaTorah yeshiva in Grodno. His works include: Shaarei Yosher, Maarechet HaKinyanim and Chiddushei R. Shimon Yehuda HaKohen.
 leaf, official stationery. 28 cm. 15 lines in his handwriting and with his signature. Good-fair condition. Folding marks and minor tears. Repairs to the verso of the leaf.
Letter handwritten, signed and stamped by R. Yosef Rosen – the Rogatchover. Dvinsk (Daugavpils), Nisan 11, 1925.
Letter of condolences ("an abundance of peace and thousands of consolations to my dear friend R. David"), containing a brief responsum pertaining to laws of mourning, concluding with blessings "and may G-d repair the breaches in His nation, the Jewish people, and may we celebrate the Festival of Matzot in accordance with the law. So are the words of his close friend Yosef Rosen, Rabbi of this city".
R. Yosef Rosen (1858-1936) - known as the Rogatchover (after his birthtown Rogatchov [Rahachow]), was a Chabad-Kopust follower. In his youth, he was a disciple of R. Yosef Dov Ber Soloveitchik, author of Beit HaLevi, together with the latter's son R. Chaim of Brisk. From 1889, he served as rabbi of the Chabad Chassidic community in Dvinsk, Latvia alongside the rabbi of the city, the Or Same'ach, position he held for 40 years. A remarkable figure renowned for his tremendous sharpness and genius, he was proficient in all areas of the Torah, down to its finest details, producing profound definitions, hypotheses and original methods of Torah study. Tales of his genius and indescribable diligence abound. His legendary brilliance was also highly regarded by the secular world in his days and Bialik reputedly said that "two Einsteins could be carved out from the mind of the Rogatchover". The Rogatchover dealt extensively in explaining the teachings of the Rambam and wrote numerous halachic responsa. His responsa and novellae were published in his Tzofnat Pane'ach series. His printed books are a small part of the incessant flow of the inexhaustible fountain of his Torah. Due to the profundity of his teachings and his concise, cryptic style of writing, several projects have risen in recent generations to decipher and explain his teachings, resulting in the publishing of annotated editions of his works.
 leaf, 21 cm. 13 handwritten lines. Good-fair condition. Dampstain. Wear and creases.
Lengthy and interesting letter handwritten by R. Elchanan Bunem Wasserman and with his full signature. Baranovich (Baranovichy), .
Addressed to his friend the wealthy R. David Potash of Tel-Aviv. The letter begins with R. Elchanan's account of the Chafetz Chaim's historic audience with the President of Poland (in 1930, while lobbying to rescind the decree of compulsory secular studies in Jewish boys' schools): "I returned today from Warsaw, and the Chafetz Chaim was also there and was received for an audience with the government ministers. The ministers received him with exceptional friendliness and promised to fulfill his requests to the extent it would be possible".
R. Elchanan then asks R. David to inquire about a prospective match for the daughter of R. Tzvi Gutman, Mashgiach of the Baranovich yeshiva - the young student Shmuel Felman "who is a lecturer on the Talmud in one of the Tel-Aviv yeshivot, and son of the deceased rabbi of Zagar-Yashan (Žagarė)… and I request of you to inform us of the character of the boy in question, since I have not seen him for ten years…". R. Elchanan extols the virtues of the young lady in question and relates to the prerequisites the boy's mother set for the couple's financial situation: "These days, it is very difficult to obtain a young lady who follows the straight path, therefore the sum of money cannot be a decisive factor, her wishes should rather be disregarded… in order to finalize the matter in the best way, please G-d". (R. Shmuel Felman, a dean of the Or Zore'ach yeshiva in Tel Aviv-Yafo, indeed later married the daughter of R. Tzvi Hirsh Gutman of Baranovich. Their son was R. Ben Tzion Felman, a leading rabbi in Bnei Brak).
R. Elchanan signs the letter with expressions of friendship and blessings: "Who appreciates and honors him for his outstanding worth, attached to him with loyal love, and blesses him that G-d should fulfill all his heart's wishes for the good, may he merit to see the Redemption of the Jewish people through the true Redeemer…, seeking his wellbeing always – Elchanan Bunem Wasserman".
R. Elchanan Wasserman (1875-1941) was a disciple of R. Shimon Shkop in the Telshe yeshiva and prominent disciple of the Chafetz Chaim. He served as lecturer and dean in the Brisk (Brest) yeshiva and other places. During WWI, at the behest of the Chafetz Chaim, he established a yeshiva in Smilavichy (Minsk province, today Belarus), and R. David Potash, then one of the wealthiest people in Russia, was a leading supporter of the yeshiva. After the war, R. Elchanan founded Yeshivat Ohel Torah in Baranovich.
A renowned Torah scholar and a foremost yeshiva dean in Lithuania, he represented the Chafetz Chaim and R. Chaim Ozer Grodzinski in the Moetzet Gedolei HaTorah of Agudat Yisrael. He composed many essays on Jewish ideology which were later published in his book Ikveta DeMeshicha, in which he expressed the Torah stance of his teacher the Chafetz Chaim on Zionist nationalism and the spiritual state of the Jewish people. During the Holocaust, he was deported to the Kovno (Kaunas) ghetto, where he was arrested and murdered in Seventh Fort, while studying the laws of Kiddush HaShem. His teachings and lectures were published in the following books: Kovetz Shiurim, Kovetz He'arot, Kovetz Inyanim, Kovetz Igrot HaGaon R. Elchanan Wasserman and others. His approach in learning and his books serve until this day as the basis of intensive yeshiva study in the Torah world.
 leaf, official stationery, 27.5 cm. 17 handwritten lines. Good-fair condition. Wear to the folds. Light stains.
Letter handwritten and signed by R. Avraham Yeshayah Karelitz, who signed in his usual manner with the acronym: "A.Y.Sh." (read Ish). [Bnei Brak, ca. 1940s].
The Chazon Ish begins by relating to the words of the letter-writer, who presumably apologized for not hiding from the Chazon Ish unfortunate experiences which occurred to him: "There is nothing inappropriate with the fact you didn't hide things from me, though it is obviously much better to inform me of joyous occasions". He then responds to several Torah topics, and urges the writer to continue investing effort in Torah study: "Be strong and courageous, grab and eat…".
After his signature, the Chazon Ish adds two lines, in which he encourages the person to perform an act of kindness with himself and go on vacation for a month: "Perhaps you can go on vacation for a month to recover, please make an effort in this direction and request of your soul to perform an act of kindness to your body".
R. Avraham Yeshayahu Karelitz (1878-1953), author of the Chazon Ish, a foremost scholar in Halacha and Jewish philosophy in our generations. A preeminent Torah scholar and hidden righteous man, his first book Chazon Ish was published in 1911 anonymously, and he thereafter became known under that title. He immigrated to Eretz Israel in 1933, where he became recognized as the leading Torah authority, and stood at the helm of the resurgence of the Torah world in our generation. He authored and published numerous volumes of Chazon Ish, which were written with great toil and in-depth study, covering nearly all Talmudic topics.
 leaf. 20.5 cm. Over 8 lines handwritten by the Chazon Ish. Good condition. Minor creases and folding marks.
Published with minor omissions in Kovetz Igrot Chazon Ish, II, Letter 100.
Chazon Ish, on Demai, Maaserot and various selections [by R. Avraham Yeshayahu Karelitz]. Jerusalem, Shemita year, . First edition.
In the front endpaper, dedication and blessing handwritten and signed by the author: "A souvenir of blessing for Mr. Asher son of Yehuda. Thursday, Kislev 16, 1953, Zichron Meir. A.Y.Sh." (initials of Avraham Yeshayahu).
R. Avraham Yeshayahu Karelitz, author of the Chazon Ish (1878-1953) was a foremost scholar in Halacha and Jewish philosophy in our generation. A preeminent Torah scholar and hidden righteous man, his first book Chazon Ish was published in 1911 anonymously, and he thereafter became known under that title. (This book too does not mention the name of the author, though the name of the publisher [his brother-in-law] R. Shmuel Greineman is indicated on the title page and on its verso). He immigrated to Eretz Israel in 1933, where he became recognized as the leading Torah authority, and stood at the helm of the resurgence of the Torah world in our generation. He authored and published numerous volumes of Chazon Ish, which were written with great toil and in-depth study, covering nearly all Talmudic topics. Many turned to him in quest of blessing, advice and salvation.
, 3-67 leaves. 32 cm. High-quality paper. Fair-good condition. Dampstains and worming. Paper repairs to the endpapers. New binding.
The endpaper bears an additional dedication from the owner who presented it to a friend in 1992. On the verso of this leaf, a clipping from a (secular) newspaper dated 1978 is attached, with a picture of the Chazon Ish and citations of prose passages from his book Emuna UBitachon.
Manuscript, novellae on Tractate Shabbat, handwritten by R. Yaakov Yisrael Kanievsky. Chapters written in preparation for publishing Kehillot Yaakov Part VII, printed in Jerusalem, 1951.
The Kehillot Yaakov series was first published in ten parts in 1936-1956 and consisted of chapters containing treatises on various topics. Part VII was primarily dedicated to topics relating to Tractate Shabbat. The author later organized his writings according to the order of the Talmud, and these chapters were reprinted in books on various tractates, with many changes. The Steipler would toil extensively over editing and correcting his books. He added to and enhanced his writings over and over again, editing the contents and wording, leaving not one sentence or topic unclear. These leaves are the author's original manuscript, with deletions and additions. The manuscript begins in the middle of chapter 24 and ends in the middle of chapter 31 of the book.
In chapter 27 (p. 115 of this manuscript), the author writes: "My dear son R. Chaim enlightened me a little on this commentary" (it must be noted that at the time this was written, R. Chaim Kanievsky was still an adolescent, yet his father held him in such high regard that he referred to him with titles of honor used for noted Torah scholars).
Pages 103-136 (17 leaves, 34 written pages). Fair-good condition. Marginal damage (repaired). Stains and wear. Elaborate leather binding.
Manuscript, "Likutim" – Selections of novellae and deliberations in Halacha and Aggada, on the Talmud and on the Torah, by two writers. [Europe, ca. 19th century].
Ownership and other inscriptions from various periods. Including ownership inscriptions of R. Leib Homler, student of the Novardok yeshiva in Białystok, and ownership inscription of "Our master and teacher R. Yaakov Kanievsky". A scholarly note appears on p. 33b, in a more recent script (presumably, in the handwriting of the Steipler – R. Yaakov Yisrael Kanievsky).
Signatures and other inscriptions in early script: "Meshulam Feivel son of R. Yissachar Ber - Meszulem Faiwel Berkowicz"; draft letter to "the astute Torah scholar R. Alexander Susman son of R. Eliezer Yaakov of Łabiszyn by West Prussia".
This work was composed by several writers: leaves 1-34 in neat, calligraphic Ashkenazic script (typical of ca. start of the 19th century). The pages bear the heading "Likutim" (selections). From p. 30b, the heading changes to "Selections – New Vessels" (the expression "new vessels" presumably implies that henceforth, the selections consist of the writer's own novellae). Leaves 39-43 contain a different, more recent Ashkenazic script typical of the second half of the 19th century. An additional leaf appears between the leaves, (in a script characteristic of the start of the 20th century, possibly the Steipler's handwriting) containing ethical thoughts for Parashat Chayei Sara.
R. Yaakov Yisrael Kanievsky (1899-1985), author of Kehilot Yaakov and brother-in-law of the Chazon Ish, was the dean of Novardok – Beit Yosef yeshivot in Bnei Brak and around the world. Already as a yeshiva student he became known in the Lithuanian yeshiva world as "the Steipler" (appellation derived from his hometown Hornostaipil, Ukraine), and stories abound about the scope of his diligence, brilliance and holiness.
In his adolescent years, he wandered from the Novardok yeshiva in Homel (Gomel), Ukraine, over the border into Poland, and became one of the founding students of the main Novardok yeshiva in Białystok, together with his friend R. Leibel Homler. Presumably, the latter gave him this manuscript during that period (an ethical essay from the teachings of R. Aryeh Leib Homler was published in Gevilei Eish, ethical discourses from leading Novardok alumni who perished in the Holocaust, Jerusalem 1973, p. 256).
, 1-35, , 39-44,  leaves. Contains 79 written pages of Torah thoughts, the remaining leaves do not comprise Torah thoughts, only page numbers and various inscriptions. 19.5 cm. Thick, high-quality paper, fair condition. Worming affecting text. Wear. Detached leaves. Without binding.
Interesting Letter from the Steipler to his Mechutan Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv – Tammuz 1951 – During the Engagement Period of his Son Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky to Rebbetzin Batsheva – “…Our Only Desire is that the Dear Kallah Completely Satisfied”
Letter (approx. 21 lines), handwritten by and with the full signature of R. Yaakov Yisrael Kanievsky, to his son's father-in-law R. Yosef Shalom Elyashiv. Bnei Brak, Rosh Chodesh Tammuz 1951.
This letter was written during the engagement period of R. Chaim Kanievsky to Rebbetzin Batsheva, daughter of R. Yosef Shalom. The letter pertains to buying used furniture from a certain settlement near Gedera. The Steipler writes that his wife, the rebbetzin, intends to travel there to inspect the furniture, and thoughtfully inquires whether the Kallah (bride) would allow her mother-in-law to choose the furniture without her, or would prefer to select furniture herself: "…Please inform me whether Batsheva agrees that my wife purchase them if they seem suitable, or would she rather come to view them herself. We are concerned that she may have a specific design or style in mind. She should decide solely based on her wishes, and not just because we have agreed from our part, since our only desire is that the dear Kallah is completely satisfied. Please inform us of her opinion and wishes on the matter as soon as possible…".
Informative and interesting letter, which discloses the Steipler's great ability to pay attention to details and take into consideration the sentiments and wishes of the Kallah, so that she be completely content with the choice of furniture for her new home.
Official stationery. Approx. 24 cm. Good condition. Wear and creases.
Letter handwritten and signed by the "Tzadik of Jerusalem", R. Aryeh Levin. Jerusalem, [Kislev], 1929.
Addressed to his future son-in-law, R. Yosef Shalom Elyashiv (who married R. Aryeh Levin's daughter Chaya in Adar 1930). Most of the letter contains Torah thoughts. R. Aryeh begins the letter expressing great affection in poetic terms: "To the honored, light of my eyes, my beloved, Mr. Sh.Y. worlds" (Sh.Y. are the initials of his name Yosef Shalom, but also allude to the Kabbalistic concept "Shay Olamot", the 310 worlds awaiting righteous men in the World to Come). The letter also concludes with flowery expressions of fondness: "With all my sentiments of honor and great love, what our sages called eternal love, your future father-in-law, Aryeh Levin".
The "Tzadik of Jerusalem" R. Aryeh Levin (1885-1969), excelled in Torah and in charitable deeds. An alumnus of Lithuanian yeshivot: Hlusk, Slutsk, Volozhin and the Torat Chaim yeshiva in Jerusalem, he was a cherished disciple of the leading Torah scholars of the generation: R. Refael Shapiro of Volozhin (Valozhyn), R. Chaim Berlin, R. Shlomo Elyashov the Leshem, R. Baruch Ber Leibovitz, R. Avraham Chaim HaKohen Kook, his brother-in-law R. Tzvi Pesach Frank and R. Yitzchak Zev Soloveitchik of Brisk (Brest). He immigrated to Jerusalem as an adolescent and married the granddaughter of the head of the Jerusalem Beit Din, R. Chaim Yaakov Shapira. He served as the spiritual director and supervisor of the Etz Chaim Talmud Torah (boy's school). Renowned for his dedication to acts of benevolence, and for his frequent visits to the British Mandate prison, he was later appointed as the Jewish Prison Chaplain. He offered a listening ear to one and all, absorbing their difficulties as well as joys, engaging in acts of kindness his whole life. He merited having sons and sons-in-law who were noted Torah scholars. He was particularly fond of his son-in-law the diligent Torah scholar R. Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, grandson of his primary teacher the Leshem.
 folded leaf, 20.5 cm. 2 written pages, approx. 31 lines in his beautiful handwriting and with his signature. Good condition. Folding marks and light creases.
Lengthy letter (six large pages) handwritten and signed by R. Moshe Feinstein. [New York], Av 1968.
Detailed responses to halachic queries on various topics, presented by his disciple R. Efraim Greenblatt (the Rivevot Efraim). R. Moshe begins and ends the letter with an inquiry on his wellbeing and extends his warm blessing for a complete recovery: "I am troubled by the state of his health, and G-d be blessed for the improvement, and we are praying to G-d to send you a complete and total recovery amongst all sick Jewish people, and hope that in merit of the Torah you will be healthy and well, which is a great necessity for Torah study and Mitzvot observance… and I, his friend and admirer am praying for his wellbeing, that He should send you a complete recovery amongst other sick Jewish people, and may you know no more illness and trouble – Moshe Feinstein".
At the foot of the letter, R. Moshe adds: "please inform me immediately of your good health, since I am very concerned, and even though I received a letter from your uncle R. N. Notte--- notifying me of the improvement in your condition, nevertheless I would like to hear from you personally – the aforementioned".
R. Moshe adds an interesting note which enlightens us on his method of recording responsa for his book Responsa Igrot Moshe, and on the difference between the book and the actual letters sent to the inquirers: "And behold, I wrote certain things concisely, and I elaborated on them in the copy I saved, since my friend understands my intent precisely, impart to the wise man and he will become yet wiser – the aforementioned". These responsa were published with variations in Responsa Igrot Moshe, Orach Chaim III (New York, 1973), sections 68-70; 99-100.
R. Moshe Feinstein (1895-1986), foremost Halachic authority in the United States, was the leader of Orthodox Jewry, chairman of the Moetzet Gedolei HaTorah and dean of the Tiferet Yerushalayim yeshiva in New York. He authored: Responsa Igrot Moshe, Dibrot Moshe – Talmudic novellae and Darash Moshe - novellae on the Torah.
Official stationery.  leaves, filled with close writing on both sides. 28 cm. Good condition. Light wear and minor tears.
Letter of Torah Thoughts from Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Auerbach to Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv – Congratulations upon the Marriage of his Daughter to Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky “Who is Great in Torah and Fear of G-d”
Lengthy letter (approx. 52 lines) handwritten and signed by R. Shlomo Zalman Auerbach. [Jerusalem, Kislev 1951].
Addressed to his friend R. Yosef Shalom Elyashiv – "To my dear friend, the true Torah scholar R. Yosef Shalom Elyashiv". The letter opens with congratulation for the marriage of his eldest daughter to R. Chaim Kanievsky: "I hereby wish him Mazal Tov on the occasion of the marriage of his daughter to one who is great in Torah and fear of G-d, and I bless him with heart and soul that G-d should grant him much joy and satisfaction from them and all his descendants".
Most of the letter consists of Torah deliberations on the topics of Terumot and Maaserot (laws of tithing). R. Shlomo Zalman thanks him for perusing his book Maadanei Eretz and sending him his comments on these topics: "…I thank him wholeheartedly for acceding to my request and enlightening my eyes with his straight and insightful words, nevertheless, I see fit to make the following comments…".
The letter concludes with further words of appreciation, and a request "to continue studying my book in his spare time and comment on it, whether orally or in writing". R. Shlomo Zalman expresses his discomfiture on the fact that R. Elyashiv sent him payment for the book Maadanei Eretz, yet since he knows the latter will not accept the money in return, he is only sending the change, and will discuss the matter with him face to face at a later time.
R. Shlomo Zalman Auerbach (1910-1995) was the dean of the Kol Torah Yeshiva and leading posek of his times. In his youth, R. Shlomo Zalman was a household member of R. Zelig Reuven Bengis, head of the Eda HaCharedit, where he befriended R. Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, who was also a disciple of R. Bengis and frequenter of his home. The elderly scholar cherished the two young scholars and held them in great esteem, predicting them a future as leading halachic authorities of the generation. In time, R. Shlomo Zalman indeed became one of the leading poskim and the foremost authority in several halachic areas, such as medicine in halacha. His pleasant ways and refinement earnt him the veneration of all sects of Orthodox Judaism, which was expressed at his funeral attended by some 300,000 people.
R. Shlomo Zalman Auerbach's connection with R. Yosef Shalom Elyashiv extended over a period of sixty years, and they often conferred with each other on halachic and public matters which were on the agenda. Several years after this letter was written, they became related by marriage when R. Shlomo Zalman's son R. Azriel Auerbach married R. Yosef Shalom's (fifth) daughter.
 leaf, written on both sides. 25 cm. Good condition. Folding marks and light wear.
Published in Yeshurun, 28, pp. 327-328, see ibid. for other correspondence from 1951-1952.
Lengthy letter (approx. 27 lines) handwritten and signed by R. Chaim Kanievsky, to his father-in-law R. Yosef Shalom Elyashiv and his family. Zichron Meir [Bnei Brak], Elul 1956.
"To my teacher and father-in-law, the illustrious Torah scholar and all the members of his household – as the new year approaches, may they be immediately inscribed and sealed for a good year and for life in the book of entirely righteous people, and may this year be a year of redemption and salvation for the entire Jewish people". The rest of the letter contains novellae relating to the topics of marriage contracts and the recitation accompanying the first fruits offering.
At the foot of the letter, R. Chaim adds a line informing his father-in-law of an Etrog he obtained for him for the impending festival of Sukkot: "I already purchased an Etrog and am waiting for an opportunity to send it".
R. Chaim Kanievsky, leading Torah authority in our times, was the first son-in-law of R. Yosef Shalom Elyashiv (1910-2012). This letter was written some five years after his marriage in Kislev 1951. (The attributes "illustrious and renowned Torah scholar" with which R. Chaim addresses his father-in-law, were already terms commonly accorded to R. Elyashiv, though he was only 46 years old at that time).
 leaf. 22.5 cm. Approx. 27 lines in his handwriting and with his signature. Good condition. Light creases and folding marks.
This letter was published in Yeshurun, 28, Nissan 2013, p. 350.
Letter of Appointment to Emissary Rabbi Yitzchak Zerachya Azulai, Chida’s Father – Jerusalem, 1741 – Signed by Leading Jerusalemite Sages, Including the Signature of the Author of Chazon Nachum, Author of Admat Kodesh, Author of Chut HaMeshulash, Author o
Emissary letter, addressed to the sages and dignitaries of the Padua community in Italy, appointing R. Avraham ibn Asher and R. Yitzchak Zerachya Azulai as emissaries to Italy and to Western Europe on behalf of the Jerusalem community, signed by Jerusalemite sages. Jerusalem, .
Charming scribal writing, calligraphic signatures of Jerusalemite sages. Signed first by the Rishon L'Zion, R. "Eliezer Nachum", author of Chazon Nachum [1662-1745, renowned rabbi and head of yeshiva in Turkey, immigrated to Eretz Israel and was appointed Rabbi of Jerusalem after the passing of R. Binyamin HaCohen Ma'ali]. Following his signature are signatures of the members of his Beit Din: R. "Nissim Chaim Moshe Mizrachi", author of Admat Kodesh (ca. 1690-1749, Rishon L'Zion after R. Eliezer Nachum), R. "Ye'uda son of R. Amram Diwan", author of Chut HaMeshulash [died ca. 1752], R. "Yisrael Meir son of R. Yosef Mizrachi", author of Pri HaAretz [died after 1749, brother of R. Nissim Chaim Moshe Mizrachi. Head of the Beit Ya'akov Yeshiva], R. "David Yekutiel HaCohen", R. "Yitzchak Aruch", R. "Ya'akov Ashkenazi" and R. "Meyuchas Bachar Shmuel", author of Pri HaAdamah and Mizbach Adamah [1695-1771, served as Rishon L'Zion after the passing of R. Ya'akov Yisrael Algazi].
The letter is addressed to "Our brothers… in the city of Padua…" and describes at length the troubles and suffering of the Jerusalem community. The sages appoint R. Avraham ibn Asher and R. Yitzchak Zerachya Azulai to collect funds from the Padua Jewish community to support the settlement in Jerusalem. Inscribed on the verso - "For the cherished community in the city of Padua…".
R. Yitzchak Zerachya Azulai (1702-1765), for whom this emissary letter was written, was a leading Jerusalemite sage and Kabbalist and member of the Beit Ya'akov Beit Midrash. Together with his brother-in-law, R. Yonah Navon, he headed the Gedulat Mordechai Yeshiva founded by the notable Mordechai Talok. Having served as dayan in prominent Batei Din in Jerusalem, his signature appears on Jerusalem's regulations. The famous Chida was his eldest son and he often cites his father in his works. R. Yitzchak Zerachya was the first of the glorious four-generation dynasty of emissaries who travelled to foreign countries collecting funds on behalf of communities in Eretz Israel. His son, the Chida, was a famous emissary, as were his grandsons, R. Avraham Azulai and R. Refael Yeshaya Azulai (the Chida's sons), and R. Rafael Yeshaya's grandson, R. Yehuda Zerachya Azulai.
R. Zerachya's companion was R. Avraham ibn Asher (died in 1772), ra'avad of Jerusalem, head of the Yefa'er Anavim Yeshiva. In 1771 (after the passing of R. Meyuchas Bachar Shmuel, who signed this letter), he was appointed Rishon L'Zion and Rabbi of Jerusalem, but died one year later in an epidemic. Already in 1734, he traveled as Jerusalem's emissary, and reaching Constantinople printed his book Sha'arei Kedusha by R. Chaim Vital which he copied from a manuscript in Egypt. He continued on his own, fulfilling the mission documented in this letter, after R. Yitzchak Zerachya Azulai fell ill upon arriving in Constantinople and was compelled to return to Eretz Israel.
For further information about their travels, see: E. Ya'ari, Sheluchei Eretz Israel, pp. 389-391. Ya'ari published a different emissary letter written for the two rabbis.
Double leaf. 33.5 cm. Good condition. Stains. Folding marks. Small hole in the center of the leaf.
Letter handwritten and signed by the Chida, R. Yosef Chaim David Azulai, to his disciple "…the Maharshach". Signed "Chada'ei Nafsha'i" with his blessing "No harm should befall you… happy and joyous, calm and secure…". [Livorno, ca. late 18th century].
Four lines handwritten and signed by the Chida himself.
The Maharshach to whom the letter is addressed is apparently R. Shmuel son of R. Moshe HaCohen, a sage from Livorno whom the Chida refers to as "My friend the learned R. Shmuel HaCohen" (see Machzik Beracha by the Chida, Siman 511, 1) and whose fame spread as a leading disciple of the Chida [see: Meir Benayahu, Rabbi Yosef Chaim David Azulai, p. 67].
The Chida would often sign "Chada'ei Nafsha'i" [in Aramaic this literally translates to "My soul rejoices"], the first word being the initials of his name [see for example: Igrot HaChida, Livorno 1867; Igrot 31,37, 43, 64].
The Chida - R. Chaim Yosef David Azulai (1724-1806), a leading posek, kabbalist, exalted Torah scholar, prolific author and famous rabbinical emissary, wrote over 80 compositions on all facets of the Torah and was a renowned emissary. Born in Jerusalem, son of R. Raphael Yitzchak Zerachya Azulai, a Jerusalemite scholar and great-grandson of Kabbalist Rabbi Avraham Azulai, author of Chesed Le'Avraham. From his early years, he was a disciple of leading Jerusalemite scholars and kabbalists, including Rabbi Chaim ibn Attar, the Or HaChaim HaKadosh. He began studying kabbalah at the Beit E-l Yeshiva for Kabbalists headed by R. Shalom Mizrachi Sharabi, the holy Rashash, and was a contemporary of R. Yom Tov (Maharit) Algazi who studied with him in the yeshiva.
In 1753, he embarked on his first mission as a rabbinical emissary on behalf of the Hebron community. During the course of his five years of travel, he passed through Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, England and France, gaining fame and attracting a great deal of attention and esteem wherever he set foot. In 1873, the Chida embarked on another mission on behalf of the Hebron community, leaving a profound imprint on all the places he visited. At the end of this journey, he settled in Livorno, Italy, to officiate as rabbi, and there he published most of his books.
Folded leaf, 19 cm. Good condition. Stains, ink stains, folding marks and wear.
Booklet (9 leaves) in the handwriting of R. Refael Yeshaya Azulai, the son of the Chida and Rabbi of Ancona, homily for Shabbat HaGadol. [Ancona], 1789.
Title at top of first leaf: "Shabbat HaGadol 1789". This sermon is the first "Shabbat HaGadol sermon" delivered by R. Yeshaya Azulai in Ancona since he began his tenure in the month of Tamuz 1788. This is the draft of the sermon, with erasures, additions and revisions in the handwriting of R. Refael Yeshaya Azulai.
R. Refael Yeshaya Azulai (1740-1823) was born in Jerusalem, the eldest son of his illustrious father R. Chaim Yosef David Azulai, the Chida. A great Torah scholar, he wrote halachic responsa, some of the responsa in his book Imrei No'am were printed in his son's book Zichron Moshe and some were printed in books authored by his father, who honored and esteemed him and always mentioned him with epithets of love ("my dear son", "my firstborn son, the perfect great chacham", "the light of my eyes", "friend of my soul", etc.). In 1780, he travelled to Italy and to Western Europe as emissary of the city of Tiberias. Apparently, he also visited Germany and his father, the Chida, wrote (in his recommendation to the Ancona community) of the wealth of Torah knowledge his son acquired from the Ashkenazi Torah scholars. He concluded his mission in the city of Amsterdam in 1783 and settled there trading in books. In 1785, R. Avraham Yisrael Rabbi of Ancona died and the position of rabbi remained unfilled until the community leaders applied to the Chida in 1787, requesting his assistance in finding a suitable candidate for rabbi of the city. The Chida suggested two candidates and hinted that his son R. Refael Yeshaya is also suitable for the position. The community readily agreed and in 1788, sent R. Refael Yeshaya a letter appointing him rabbi of Ancona. However, he only arrived in Ancona in the month of Sivan and in the beginning of Tamuz began his tenure. He served as Rabbi of Ancona until his death on the 9th of Shevat 1823 (he lived 83 years like his father). He was greatly honored at his death and was mourned by his congregation for a long time after [for further information see the book by M. Benayahu on the Chida, pp. 476-487].
 leaves,  written pages. 19 cm. Good condition. Stains. Several tears. New leather binding (erroneous embossment on the spine: "Manuscript of Rabbeinu the Chida").
Enclosed is an authentication letter identifying the handwriting as that of R. Refael Yeshaya Azulai.
Handwritten booklet, Halachic composition on Shulchan Aruch and "Zichronot", by R. Chaim Avraham ben David, Rabbi of Serres and Torah scholar of Salonika, author of Tiferet Adam. [Salonika, 19th century].
Complete booklet, which was not published in his book Tiferet Adam. Includes: Novellae on Shulchan Aruch, Choshen Mishpat, Even HaEzer and Orach Chaim; "Zichronot" – Principles and Halachic treatises.
Author's autograph, with deletions, corrections and additions. This manuscript was known to the Torah scholars of Turkey, and is quoted in the books of R. David Pipano, Choshen HaEfod and Avnei HaEfod as "the Raavad, author of Tiferet Adam in a manuscript responsa" (see Choshen HaEfod, section 153, 1; section 312, 9; Avnei HaEfod, section 112, 2). All these citations appear in this manuscript, which R. Pipano had obviously studied.
R. Chaim Avraham ben David, Rabbi of Serres – known as the Raavad of Salonika (d. ca. 1840-1850s), was a Torah scholar of Salonika while his father R. David ben Moshe supported him financially (in the honor of and after his father, R. Avraham named his book Tiferet Adam: A.D.M – Avraham David Moshe). After his father's passing, he was compelled to assume a rabbinical position in Serres (near Salonika) – in place of R. Chaim Avraham Estrosa, author of Yerech Avraham and Ben Avraham, who served as rabbi there until 1814. R. Avraham later passed away and was buried in Serres. He was a disciple of R. Yehoshua HaKohen Perachya (d. 1810) and of R. Refael Yaakov Menashe, author of Be'er HaMayim (1762-1832. His book was printed in 1836). In this manuscript (Choshen Mishpat section 312), the author discusses and questions the words of his teacher, author of Be'er HaMayim. This discussion is quoted briefly in Choshen HaEfod (abovementioned): "The Raavad, author of Tiferet Adam in manuscript, cites the words of his teacher the Be'er HaMayim, relating to the words of Moharitatz (R. Yom Tov Tzahalon), and writes that his words are difficult to understand".
Tiferet Adam (Salonika, 1863) was printed after R. Chaim Avraham's passing, compiled from the manuscripts he left behind. This book is quoted in Halachic literature until this day. The printed book consists of novellae and responsa on the four parts of Shulchan Aruch, with a "Zichronot" list in alphabetical order at the end. This manuscript was presumably not known to those who compiled the book, as it should have been included.
Approx. 39 written pages. 20 cm. High-quality paper. Good-fair condition. Stains, tears and wear, slightly affecting text.
Appeal Letter, Signed by Rabbi Chaim Palachi and the Torah Scholars of İzmir – Following the Large Fire which Struck the City in 1841 – Fire which Consumed Fifty-Four of R. Chaim Palachi’s Manuscript Compositions
Handwritten leaf, appeal letter for assistance issued by the Torah scholars of the İzmir community in Turkey in the wake of a large fire which struck the city, addressed to the community of Ancona, Italy, and signed by R. Yehoshua Avraham Yehuda, R. Yehoshua Avraham Krispin and R. Chaim Palachi, with the stamp of the Chacham Bashi Refael Pinchas Yehoshua de Segura. İzmir, Tevet .
Letter appealing for help, written following a large fire which erupted in İzmir on the eve of Av 11, 1841. This fire was recorded for posterity as having consumed dozens of R. Chaim Palachi's manuscript compositions.
The letter begins with a description of the difficult state of the city in the wake of the "great sorrow which befell our camp with the fire which G-d set alight…". They describe mostly the destruction of the synagogues, which they maintain were the most magnificent in all of Turkey, and the snatched prayers which were presently being organized in various provisional sites throughout the city, resulting in stumbling blocks such as carrying from one domain to another on Shabbat and other Shabbat desecrations, consequence of the prayers being held in distant locations. They relate that the Torah scrolls, instead of resting honorably in the synagogues, had been dispersed in thirty locations throughout the city so that they can be read in public, which was a disgrace to the Torah scrolls. They therefore request financial support in rebuilding the synagogues, listing the synagogues destroyed by the blaze, including seven major synagogues and two smaller ones. The names of the synagogues appear in the margin of the letter: Algazi, Talmud Torah - two communities, Orchim, Etz Chaim - two communities, Portugal, Geveret and Bikur Cholim.
The letter states that an estimated 50000 coins are required per synagogue, even if they are not reconstructed according to their prior glory and magnificence. They write that the wealthy members of the İzmir community are unable to help with rebuilding the synagogues, since they too were affected by the fire.
At the end of the first paragraph, the signatures of R. Yehoshua Avraham Yehuda and R. Yehoshua Avraham Krispin appear. It is followed by another paragraph, in which Chacham Bashi Pinchas de Segura and R. Chaim Palachi endorse the appeal, blessing the donors with multiple repayment of their kindness from G-d in gold and silver. At the end of this passage, the signature of R. Chaim Palachi appears, alongside the stamp of "…Pinchas Moreinu, Chacham Bashi of İzmir and its surroundings…" – the stamp of R. Refael Pinchas de Segura – known by the acronym Pardes.
The letter was folded and sent by mail, and the verso bears the address inscribed in Hebrew and Italian: "To the honorable treasurers and leaders of the Ancona community…", with post marks.
The first signatory: R. Yehoshua Avraham Yehuda (1772-1849), author of Avodat Masa (Salonika 1846), "Rabbi and yeshiva dean of İzmir". A Torah scholar of İzmir, he was responsible for the community taxes, and consequently composed a Halachic work pertaining to the tax regulations in İzmir. In his preface to his book Avoda Masa, he relates that the fire which struck İzmir consumed all his works apart from this composition, which was with him at the time of the fire, while he was staying in a nearby village. He later immigrated to Eretz Israel, lived for three years in Jerusalem and passed away there in 1849
The second signatory: R. Yehoshua Avraham Krispin (before 1785-1855), author of Vayeshev Avraham and Avraham BaMachaze. In his eulogy (Chelkam BaChaim, Homily 7 for eulogy), R. Chaim Palachi describes him as a close neighbor for twenty years, who prayed and studied together with him every evening. He relates that there were never any hard feelings between them, and they were always united in friendship.
The third signatory (stamped): the Chacham Bashi, R. Yehoshua Refael Pinchas (Moreinu) de Segura, author of Ot Hi LeOlam, Ot HaBrit and Ot LiYeshua. R. Chaim Palachi was his disciple-colleague, and they studied together in the "Beit Yaakov Rabi" yeshiva under the Chikrei Lev (grandfather of R. Chaim). After the passing of the R. Yehoshua Refael Pinchas, R. Chaim Palachi served in his place as rabbi of İzmir. In the eulogy he delivered in his memory, R. Chaim related that in his youth like in his older age, he studied under him day and night. He recounts in one of his books seeing R. Yehoshua Refael Pinchas, whom he accompanied constantly, crying and bemoaning the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple morning and night, adding that he witnessed first-hand that the latter benefited from Divine Inspiration (Luach Erez, Seder Eliyahu Raba, chapter 4, p. 7b).
His book Ot LiYeshua contains the sermon delivered on the occasion of the inauguration of the Bikur Cholim synagogue in İzmir, which was rebuilt following this fire, in Elul 1843 (pp. 156b-164a). He describes the joy and consolation they drew from the speedy reestablishment of the synagogues in all their glory, while in a previous fire in 1772, which also destroyed all the synagogues, it took many years before the community succeeded in restoring what was lost.
The fourth signatory: R. Chaim Palachi – Chavif (1787-1868), an outstanding Torah scholar in hidden and revealed realms of the Torah, was the rabbi of İzmir and a renowned leading Torah scholar of his generation. He composed seventy-two books (corresponding with the numerical value of his name Chaim, including the letters), on Halacha, Aggada and ethics. He was the close disciple of his mother's father, the renowned Torah scholar R. Refael Yosef Hazan, author of Chikrei Lev. In his books, R. Chaim quotes his grandfather extensively,
as well as his father R. Yaakov Palachi. At the age of 25, in a ceremony attended by the entire community, R. Chaim was accorded rabbinical ordination by his grandfather, who bedecked him with a special rabbinic robe he personally purchased in honor of his earning the title of "Chacham HaShalem".
Over the years, he rose in the ranks of rabbinic hierarchy, reaching the position of "Rav HaKollel", head of the İzmir Beit Din, and was recognized by the Turkish government as Chacham Bashi. His exceptional wisdom and eminence in Torah earnt him the status of rabbi of the city. The Jewish community in İzmir was comprised in those days of various congregations, each with different customs and their own rabbi, and only R. Chaim bore the absolute authority of his rulings and opinions being accepted by the various congregations in the city. His Halachic authority exceeded the boundaries of the city, and he earnt world-wide recognition as a posek, responding to thousands of queries addressed to him from throughout the world, even beyond the Ottoman Empire, such as Poland, Germany and North-Africa.
R. Chaim was a most prolific author, covering all subjects of the Torah. When the fire broke out in 1841, he had already produced dozens of manuscript compositions, which he toiled on from a young age. The fire consumed 54 of his compositions. One of his disciples, R. Yitzchak Yeshurun, jumped into the fire and succeeded in salvaging 14 compositions, including Chaim LaRosh on the Passover Haggadah, and this was the first book R. Chaim published following the fire. In his preface to this book, he describes at length the compositions he lost in the fire of Av 11, 1841, comprehensive works he expended great effort on, spanning all fields of Torah, including all four parts of Shulchan Aruch, responsa, commentary to several tractates of the Talmud, novellae on Halacha and Aggada, sermons, commentary to the Bible, ethics works, Talmudic and Halachic principles, on Midrashim, Kabbalah and more, altogether 54 compositions.
R. Chaim also expresses in that preface the mourning and great sorrow the loss of his compositions caused him (further descriptions about the fire and the books he lost appear also in other books he authored and published subsequently).
Despite the great tragedy of the loss of most of his writings, he regained his strength and began composing new works, while also recovering from memory some of the compositions he lost. In the books he printed after the fire, he would add at the foot of the title page the serial number of the book. The names of his books usually allude to his name Chaim in various ways (Nefesh Chaim, Chaim Techila, Torah VeChaim, Chaim LaRosh, Chaim VeShalom, Kaf HaChaim, Re'eh Chaim, HaKatuv LeChaim, Yimatzeh Chaim, Birkat Moadecha LeChaim, Tzavaa MeChaim, Artzot HaChaim, Tzedaka LeChaim, and others).
This letter is a historic documentation of the great fire which struck İzmir in 1841, signed amongst others by R. Chaim Palachi, who lost 54 of his compositions to it.
35 cm. Good-fair condition. Stains. Folding marks. Large open tear to the bottom of the leaf, not affecting text, repaired with paper.
Leaf, two handwritten pages - outline for a sermon on the verses of Birkat Kohanim. Handwritten by R. Yosef Chaim of Baghdad, author of Ben Ish Chai. [Baghdad, ca. 1890s].
Covers a complete topic, with opening and closing words. It ends with a prayer: "G-d should help and protect us always, Amen".
"G-d should bless you with wealth and protect you that you use it to perform mitzvot… He performs more mitzvot than his obligation because G-d obligated him to tithe and he gives more than a tenth… By this increase, he will be saved… G-d will bless you with possessions and protect your person… 'You will be blessed when you come in and blessed when you go out'…".
R. Yosef Chaim of Baghdad (1833-1909), author of Ben Ish Chai and numerous other important books. Son of R. Eliyahu Chaim son of R. Moshe Chaim, Rabbi of Bagdad. Disciple of R. Abdallah Somekh. R. Yosef Chaim was 26 years old at the time of his father's passing in 1859 and succeeded him in delivering a sermon in the Great Synagogue, and continued delivering a discourse every Shabbat for fifty years. He became world famous for his knowledge of the revealed and hidden facets of the Torah and for his holiness. He wrote Rav Pe'alim, Torah Lishma, Ben Ish Chai, Ben Ish Chayil, Ben Yehoyada, Od Yoseph Chai, Leshon Chachamim, Aderet Eliyahu, Chasdei Avot and other books.
The manuscripts of the Ben Ish Chai are known as a segula for success and protection. This manuscript is especially important due to the many verses and sayings of blessing and protection it contains, written in the handwriting of R. Yosef Chaim of Baghdad.
 leaf ( pages), approximately 49 handwritten lines. Good condition. Stains.
Manuscript, novellae on Tractates Sukkah, Beitza, Megillah, Kiddushin, Chullin and omissions. Novellae and commentaries on the Rashi and Mizrachi commentaries to the book of Devarim (Parashiot Devarim to Ki-Tetze). [Meknes? (Morocco), ca. 1800].
A title appears at the beginning of Tractate Sukkah (p. 1a): "Novellae on Sukkah – I will begin recording novellae on Tractate Sukkah with the help of G-d"; and a colophon at the end of Tractate Sukkah (p. 7b): "We completed Tractate Sukkah on Thursday, Sivan 9, … and we began Tractate Beitza on Sunday, Sivan 12, may G-d help me…".
Unpublished compositions – a "Shita" of novellae and comments arranged in order of the tractates' pages. Author's autograph (unidentified), in particularly neat Oriental script, with corrections, deletions and many additions – interlinear, intercolumnar and marginal. The style of writing suggests that these compositions were compiled by the author over the course of his learning. The writer appears to be a Meknes Torah scholar. The formatting style is very typical of manuscripts produced by Torah scholars of Meknes, Morocco. The contents include citations of Meknes Torah scholars such as R. Moshe Toledano, R. Mordechai Berdugo and others. The flowing language he uses, rich in flowery expressions, also parallels the style of other books by Meknes Torah scholars. In many instances, the author quotes novellae in the name of his teacher "מור"י" and in several places, he transcribed entire passages from the writings of his teacher "מור"י" (see for example p. 11b). On p. 22b, to Tractate Kiddushin, he quotes teachings he heard in the name of Tosafot Shantz (the nonextant Tosafot Shantz composition on Kiddushin existed then in manuscript).
The novellae on the Torah primarily relate to the Rashi commentary on the Torah. He extensively quotes and discusses the words of R. Eliyahu Mizrachi and the Rashbatz (R. Shalom ibn Tzur, a Moroccan Torah scholar – who composed a super-commentary to Rashi on the Torah. The Rashbatz's composition was not published, but parts of it are extant in manuscript. The passages quoted here may not appear in the extant manuscripts). He also cites teachings by HaRav HaMarbitz (R. Mordechai Berdugo of Meknes, 1715-1762), and from the book Melechet HaKodesh by HaRav Maharmat (Melechet HaKodesh on the Torah by R. Moshe Toledano, printed in Livorno in 1803. The composition in this manuscript was presumably authored after that date, though a possibility remains that the author studied Melechet HaKodesh in manuscript form, before it was published).
An inscription appears near the beginning of the book (in a different handwriting), recording the receipt of funds "for learning" from "Senor Chaim Sayegh".
, 22,  leaves. Including 13 empty leaves (apart from a brief note not pertaining to Torah). 21 cm. Neat, close writing, most leaves are formatted in two columns. Fair condition. Wear and dampstains. Worming and small tears (affecting text in some places). Some detached leaves. Without binding.
Manuscript, Machzor for the Four Parashiot, Purim and the Three Festivals. [Algiers, ca. 17th/18th century].
Western cursive script, with initial words and titles in florid calligraphic script. Contains hundreds of piyyutim recited by Algerian Jewry, many of them listed in Davidson's Thesaurus of Mediaeval Hebrew Poetry, based on Algerian-rite Machzorim. Some of the piyyutim appearing in this Machzor are not listed there.
Includes Kerovot (series of piyyutim) for the Four Parashiot: Shekalim, Zachor, Para and HaChodesh (includes amongst others the Kerova for Shabbat Shekalim by R. Yitzchak HaLevi ben Zerachia Gerondi, Azharot for Shabbat HaGadol by Rabbeinu Kalonymus HaNasi and others); order of piyyutim for Purim (Tikun Yom Purim); Kerovot and piyyutim for Passover (for the first and second day of Passover, for dew, Reshut for Shabbat and Chol HaMoed of Passover, for Yom HaShira [seventh day of Passover], Haftarot for Yom HaShira and for the last day of Passover); Seder Chag HaShavuot (including Kerovot for Shavuot, piyyut for the Ten Commandments by R. Saadia Gaon, the Ten Commandments in Judeo-Arabic, Azharot by R. Shlomo ibn Gabirol); Kerovot and piyyutim for Sukkot and Selichot for Hoshaanot; piyyutim for Shemini Atzeret (Reshut LeYom Shemini Atzeret, Magen LeMussaf HaGeshem); piyyutim for Simchat Torah.
Most of the leaves contain neat scribal script, several leaves were written by different writers. An ownership inscription appears in the margin of p. [37b]: "Mine, the dear and honorable Yosef Alashkar".
 leaves. Leaves may be missing from the beginning. Several leaves of the Machzor are lacking. 21.5 cm. Fair-good condition. Stains, dampstains. Tears and wear to several leaves. Worming, repaired in several places. Open tears affecting text to several leaves, mainly at the beginning and end of the Machzor, repaired. Restored binding, incorporating the original leather binding.
Letters of recommendation for hachnasat kalla (supplying a dowry for a bride), handwritten and signed by dozens of Moroccan sages and rabbis, including a letter of recommendation (three lines) handwritten and signed by R. Yisrael Abuchatzira (the Baba Sali). Bound together.
7 leaves, glued and bound together, containing handwritten and signed recommendations by Moroccan sages and rabbis from 1922-1936. Written in Moroccan cities: Fez, Meknes, Rabat, Tlemcen, Sefrou, Safi, Essaouira and El-Jadida. All the recommendations were written for "Moshe Ochana", some mentioning his wish to settle in Eretz Israel.
Below is a list of the letters of recommendation and some of the names of the rabbis who signed them:
· Page  – Recommendation of "…R. Ya'akov Abuchatzira…". Fez, 1935. Handwritten additions and signatures of members of the society appear on the margins.
· Page  – Letter of recommendation by the Rashbi society. Fez, 1932. Many signatures of members of the society, including the signature "Yitzchak Abuchatzira".
· Page  – Recommendation signed by the Beit Din in Rabat. 1923. Signatures of R. Refael Ankawa (Encouau) [HaMalach Refael], R. Yekutiel Birdugo, R. Yosef Chaim ibn Attar.
This recommendation is accompanied by another handwritten recommendation signed by R. Chaim Refael Attie, a Rabbi in Rabat and by another handwritten recommendation.
· Page  – Recommendation of the Fez Beit Din – Signatures of R. "Shlomo ---", R. "Matitya Siriro" and R. "Aharon Butbul". Fez, Tishrei 1922.
Three handwritten lines of recommendation signed by R. "Yisrael Abuchatzira", the Baba Sali, appear alongside this recommendation.
Recommendation handwritten and signed by R. Abba Elbaz, "Posek in the city of Sefrou".
Recommendation handwritten and signed by R. Yehoshua Birdugo – Meknes.
Recommendation handwritten and signed R. Shlomo ibn Shitrit – "Dayan and posek in Meknes".
Recommendation handwritten and signed by R. David Tzabach – Rabat.
Recommendation signed by Rabbis of Essaouira (Mogador) – Ra'avad R. Avraham ibn Sussan, R. David Knafo and R. Moshe ibn Simhon.
· Page  – Recommendation of the society "Called after… Rabbi Ish HaTzorfati…". Fez, 1923. With many signatures.
· Page  – Recommendation by Rabbis of the Fez Beit Din, 1933. Signed by R. Matitya Siroro, R. Aharon Butbul and R. Moshe ibn Denan.
Under these signatures are two more recommendations, one handwritten and signed by R. David Tzabach "Posek in El-Jadida" and the other handwritten and signed by R. Avner Tzorfati "Posek in Safi".
· Page  – Recommendation from societies in Fez, 1923: Recommendation from a society named after R. Shimon Bar Yochai, with signatures of its members, including the following: R. Shmuel ibn Denan, R. Sa'adia ibn Denan. Recommendation from Chevrat Eliyahu HaNavi, with signatures of its members.
Recommendation handwritten and signed by R. Refael Tzorfati, Oujda.
Recommendation handwritten and signed by R. Masud Aviktzitz.
Recommendation handwritten and signed by R. Yosef Mashash [author of Otzar HaMichtavim] – Tlemcen, 1936.
 leaves, glued and bound together. 36 cm. Fair condition. Dark stains, wear and tears, worming in several places. Traces of dampness. Repairs with paper. Folk fabric binding.
Manuscript, Segulot, cures, and various recommendations. Autograph handwritten by R. Chaim Vital. [Turn of the 17th century].
Leaf written on both sides, two columns per page. Approximately two hundred lines handwritten by R. Chaim Vital. A section of a composition on Segulot and cures authored by R. Chaim Vital.
This leaf contains many records of Segulot and cures, recommendations and incantations for various matters (such as: "To make a coin, silver or gold, which every time you spend it, will return to your pocket, take the skin of a black cat and wrap 43 coins in it, and place it under a bridge at a crossroad, leaving it there for three days…"). He mentions an important advice for writing amulets: "In order for the ink for writing amulets to not become impure, add a pinch of frankincense".
The holy kabbalist R. Chaim Vital (Maharchu) was the foremost disciple and transmitter of the teachings of the holy Arizal. He was born in 1542 in Safed, which was at the time the spiritual center for eminent and G-d fearing Torah scholars. R. Yosef Karo, author of Shulchan Aruch, led the Torah scholars of the city at that time, including the Ramak, R. Shlomo Alkabetz (author of Lecha Dodi), the Mabit, R. Moshe Alshech and others. R. Chaim Vital studied Torah from R. Moshe Alshech, leading disciple of the Beit Yosef. In his book Sefer HaChezyonot, R. Chaim Vital mentions his studies under the Alshech in 1557 (at the age of 14), and relates that R. Yosef Karo instructed his teacher R. Moshe Alshech that year, in the name of the angel who spoke to him, to be very conscientious to teach him with all his might. R. Moshe Alshech also ordained R. Chaim with the authority of the semicha he himself received from R. Yosef Karo. Concurrently, R. Chaim Vital began studying Kabbalah in the study hall of R. Moshe Cordovero, the Ramak. In 1570, R. Yitzchak Luria, the Arizal, moved from Egypt to Eretz Israel and settled in Safed. That year, the Ramak died and the Arizal succeeded him. The Arizal's eminence was recognized in Safed and R. Chaim Vital became his closest disciple and the supreme authority on the Arizal's kabbalistic teachings. For two years, R. Chaim Vital sat before the Arizal and recorded every word his teacher uttered.
The writings of R. Chaim Vital are the fundaments of the Arizal's teachings which were disseminated in later generations. The Chida relates (Shem HaGedolim, R. Chaim Vital) that R. Chaim Vital did not permit anyone to copy these writings, however once, while he was seriously ill, the kabbalists bribed his household members to give them 600 leaves of his writings, which they had copied in three days by "100 scribes". After the passing of the Arizal, R. Chaim Vital moved to Egypt. He then returned to Eretz Israel and resided for a while in Jerusalem, later moving to Damascus where he passed away in 1620. He wrote the primary teachings of the Ari in his composition Etz Chaim and in Shemona Perakim which his son Shmuel Vital arranged following his instructions. Although the Arizal authorized only R. Chaim Vital to write and explain his teachings, compositions written by his other disciples exist as well. The leading kabbalists of following generations constantly stressed that R. Chaim Vital is the supreme authority for explaining the Ari's teachings and warned not to rely on the writings of any other disciple. R. Chaim Vital himself writes in the preface to his book Etz Chaim: "Know that from the day my teacher began to reveal this wisdom, I did not leave him even for a moment. And any writings you may find in his name, which differ from that which I have written in this book, is a definite error since they did not comprehend his words…". R. Chaim Vital attempted to limit spreading the Arizal's teachings and instructed to bury many of his writings on the Arizal's teachings in his grave. Only after his passing did his writings become publicized in various forms and editions. The scholars of his times performed a "dream question", consequently removing many leaves from his grave, which served as a basis for other compositions on the Arizal's teachings (see Kabbalat HaAri by R. Yosef Avivi). The books he wrote of the Arizal's teachings include: Etz Chaim, Shemona She'arim, Otzrot Chaim, Adam Yashar, Derech Etz Chaim, Pri Etz Chaim, Shaarei Kedusha, and other.
This book of cures by R. Chaim Vital is known by several titles: Sefer HaPe'ulot, Taalumot Chochma, Sefer Kabbalah Maasit, Sefer HaRefuot, Refuot U'Segulot. This composition was not printed together with the rest of his writings. Over the years, only a few sections were printed in books of Segulot and cures. Recently, it has been printed in full (Sefer HaPe'ulot, Modiin Illit, 2010).
The Chida wrote of the greatness and holiness of R. Chaim Vital "his soul was very exceptional, and cleaner than that of all other people in his times". It is known that he foresaw many events with his divine spirit. He documented his amazing visions in his diary, which was partially printed under the name Shivchei R. Chaim Vital and was recently published in full in the book Sefer HaChezyonot.
 leaf. 19.5 cm. 2 pages filled with writing. Good condition. Stains and wear. Bound in a new, elaborate and ornamented leather binding.
Machzor with Hundreds of Kabbalistic Glosses Handwritten by the Ramchal – This Machzor Served the Ramchal While Leading the Prayers of the Ashkenazi Community in Padua – Kabbalistic Explanations and Kavanot for the High Holiday Prayers
Machzor Shaar Bat Rabim, Part II – Prayers for the High Holidays, "following the rite of the holy Ashkenazi community", with the Hadrat Kodesh commentary, by R. Yitzchak son of R. Yaakov Yosef HaLevi. Venice: Bragadin, [1712-1715].
Hundreds of glosses, including dozens of especially long glosses, in Italian cursive script, in the handwriting of the Ramchal, R. Moshe Chaim Luzzatto - Kabbalistic explanations and kavanot conforming to the Ramchal's approach.
The Ramchal used this machzor while leading the prayers at the Ashkenazi synagogue in Padua, and in it he wrote the kavanot and yichudim necessary for performing tikunim and yichudim in the upper spheres while standing in prayer.
This machzor with the Ramchal's glosses was documented by his biographers, citing Padua elders who reported that "the Ramchal was chazzan in the Ashkenazi synagogue for the High Holiday prayers, and he therefore wrote many Kabbalistic notations in his machzor for those days, for use while praying" (see below).
The Ramchal wrote the commentaries and kavanot in the margins and between the lines of the machzor. In the margins, he wrote long passages with introductions to the kavanot, explaining the general idea of the prayer or piyyut according to esoteric Kabbalistic thought. These introductions begin with the words "Inyan" (matter) or "Sod" (secret), for example: "The Inyan of the Books of the Living and the Books of the Dead", "The Sod of the Kedusha", "The Sod of Aleinu", "The Inyan of Kol Nidrei", "The Inyan of the Vidui", etc. These passages are particularly long and are actually self-contained essays based on the Kabbalistic approach of the Ramchal. Between the lines, the Ramchal wrote hundreds of kavanot to the words of the prayers, mostly written above the relevant words (but sometimes also beside or below the words).
The Ramchal wrote the kavanot and glosses to the following prayers: Mussaf for the first and second days of Rosh Hashanah, the Arvit prayer, Mussaf and Ne'ila of Yom Kippur. He did not annotate the Shacharit and Mincha prayers. This is due to the fact that following the Ashkenazi custom, the Mussaf prayers and the Arvit and Ne'ila prayers on Yom Kippur, which are the central prayers, are led by the choicest chazzan. The Ramchal used this machzor to lead those prayers, and he therefore wrote in it the kavanot that he would use when filling this role.
Interestingly, the Ramchal marked special te'amim (cantillation marks) above some of the words in the machzor, similar to those in the scriptures alluding to the melody, attesting to the fact that he used this machzor in his capacity as chazzan (these te'amim can be seen in the Aleinu prayer [p. 131a], in the Kol Nidrei prayer [p. 198b], etc.). Another sign that he led the prayers are the kavanot that he wrote to the last verses of the piyyutim, repeated out loud by the cantor alone.
In the margins of p. 122b, the Ramchal writes a special prayer that he composed for his success as chazzan (similar to the style of the Hineni HeAni prayer), describing at length his humbleness and trembling before G-d, and requesting that G-d strengthen him, heed his prayers and bless the Jewish People with "a good sweet year, a year of compassion, redemption and deliverance… and strengthen me to sing before you and no harm or mishap should befall me…". In a long gloss on p. 131b, the Ramchal explains at length the Kabbalistic secret of the potency of the chazzan's prayer.
In R. Yosef Almanzi's biography of the Ramchal (Kerem Chemed, 3), he writes of the Ramchal being chazzan during the High Holidays in the Padua community and explicitly mentions this machzor: "An elder of our community says that he heard from his father or from his grandfather that the Ramchal was chazzan in the Ashkenazi synagogue for the High Holiday prayers, and he therefore wrote many Kabbalistic notations in his machzor for those days, for use while praying" (ibid, p. 115). Almanzi also writes of "a commentary in the actual handwriting of the Ramchal to the machzor… which is in the possession of my beloved dignitaries, heirs of R. Moshe Aryeh Trieste, apparently like the elders related that the Ramchal was chazzan in the Ashkenazi synagogue and led some of the High Holiday prayers" (ibid, p. 140, note 42).
Most of the kavanot in the machzor (with the exception of those to Birkat Avot which are the kavanot of the Arizal) are exclusive to the Ramchal and to his Kabbalistic approach. Where the commentary features the Ramchal's own approach and is not based on the Ari's writings, the Ramchal added an introduction or explanation in the margin, illuminating the basis of the kavanot written between the lines. In addition, the Ramchal explains sections of the Ashkenazi piyyutim according to his Kabbalistic approach, and above the words of the piyyutim notes allusions and their parallels in upper worlds – a unique and original phenomenon.
Most of the glosses of the Ramchal are written in a clear, neat script in black ink. In a number of places, the Ramchal's glosses are written in a vigorous, cursive script in reddish-brown ink.
Most of the commentaries and the kavanot written by the Ramchal in this machzor were not copied by his disciples, and remained unknown until the discovery of this machzor. Nonetheless, a few of these glosses were copied and printed, some in Kitzur HaKavanot by R. Yisrael Chizkiya Treves and others in "Commentary on the piyyutim of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur according to Kabbalah" (printed in the Warsaw 1889 edition of Daat Tevunot). One gloss was printed only in part. Upon studying p. 127b of this machzor, we discover that the Ramchal wrote this passage in two parts on two different occasions. The first part is written in dark ink and the end in lighter ink, and only the first part was copied and printed by his disciples. Evidently, the Ramchal first wrote the beginning and his disciples copied that part, and later, the Ramchal completed his commentary and wrote the second part, which does not appear in the copy made by his disciples.
This machzor served the Ramchal while leading the prayers, and contains hundreds of his handwritten glosses. In the machzor, he marked with te'amim the melodies he would use, and he wrote kavanot for when standing before G-d, to make tikunim and yichudim in the upper spheres.
R. Moshe Chaim Luzzatto – the Ramchal (1707-1746), Torah luminary and great Kabbalist, merited revelations of Eliyahu HaNavi and angels, and his book Zohar Tinyana contains their teachings. He authored Mesillat Yesharim and many other Kabbalistic and ethical works. Due to the polemic opposing the Ramchal's teachings, he was compelled to hide away some of his kabbalistic writings. This composition in his very own handwriting remarkably survived and was discovered in recent years.
Large-format volume. Fine, impressive condition. 372, 377-384 leaves. 35 cm. Thick high-quality paper. Wide margins. Good condition. Most leaves are clean, with a few stains. Dark stains to several leaves. Dampstains on last leaves. Repaired tears to title page and to a few other leaves. Worming to a few leaves. Early leather binding, repaired. Ownership inscription in Ashkenazi script on the inner side of the front cover. Gilt-tooled binding with the initials G.W. inside a medallion. Damage to binding, lacking clasps.
The glosses of the Ramchal in the machzor were unexpectedly discovered by R. Yosef Avivi, some 20 years ago. He edited and published them under the name Machzor Ramchal (Jerusalem 1995), including a facsimile of the leaves of the machzor containing glosses and a comprehensive introduction containing many details and comparisons to the Ramchal's Kabbalistic approach apparent in his other writings. The description above is based on Avivi's work in that book, see there for more details and information.