Auction 8 Genazym 8 - Prime selection of historical Jewish Antiques
Dec 8, 2020

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LOT 36:

Rabbi Akiva Eiger’s Personal Copy of Maseches Megillah Which He Studied for Many Years & Inscribed His ...

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Sold for: $130,000
Start price:
$ 75,000
Estimated price:
$100,000 - $150,000
Auction house commission: 22% More details

Rabbi Akiva Eiger’s Personal Copy of Maseches Megillah Which He Studied for Many Years & Inscribed His Gilyon HaShas
Legendary volume of gemara autographed by Rabbi Akiva Eiger!

On the final page of this masechta, Rabbi Akiva Eiger inscribes his signature: “He granted me also this, Hakatan Akiva Güns Ma”sh” (from Eisenstatt). The leaves of this volume of gemara boast approximately 50 handwritten comments!”
Rabbi Akiva Eiger learned from this Gemara during his years serving as Rav in Märkisch Friedland in West Prussia. He assumed this noteworthy position in 1791 at the age of 29, serving the community faithfully for the next 24 years until 1815 when he was appointed Rav of Posen. Immediately upon his arrival in Märkisch Friedland, he established a yeshivah gedolah which attracted the crème de la crème of aspiring scholars and cultivated legions of disciples and Rabbanim who disseminated his Torah wisdom throughout Europe.

This sacred volume of gemara is well-used and features stains and several tears, especially on the bottom corners of the pages which are frequently touched while leafing from page to page. The worn condition of this gemara attests to its extensive use and the many hours that Rabbi Akiva Eiger devoted to learning from its pages.

Bound together with maseches Shekalim which contains a single comment in Rabbi Akiva Eiger’s handwriting on p. 6a

Maseches Megillah. Zoltzbach Press, 1767.. [13]: 39 leaves. Page size: 33 cm. Interior margin on final leaf restored. Ornate leather binding.

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Rabbi Akiva Eiger’s Gemara
The mere feel of the holy pages, the sight of these sacred letters, the scent of generations past, cause a shudder of raw emotion to pass through one’s soul. Close your eyes and imagine the gadol hador of three centuries ago, Rabbi Akiva Eiger, sitting in his study during the late night hours and studying by the light of a burning candle... His shoulders are bent over the shtender with eager devotion as he thirstily imbibes the timeless words of gemara, Rashi and Tosfos. His fingers touch the worn pages adoringly, his eyes rove each and every letter with inexpressible love as his thoughts span the length and breadth of Torah. He pauses, reflects for a moment, lifts his quill and inscribes “See here…” “See there…”
Years later, a treasure trove of Torah is revealed within the pages of this gemara, as it is published and disseminated among Klal Yisrael as the celebrated Gilyon HaShas of Rabbi Akiva Eiger.
“He inserted pearls and gems throughout the gemara with scattered brief markings and single words, once offering assistance and another time posing a complex query. From the day they were revealed, these notes became invaluable assets in batei medrash around the world, and Torah scholars and students who toil to decipher his secrets, hints and queries are deeply attached to them. Quills have run dry and myriad novellae and answers were proposed upon every one of Rabbi Akiva Eiger’s “see there” and “requires further investigation…”

Gilyon HaShas
Rabbi Akiva Eiger’s Gilyon HaShas is a singular composition that he authored in the course of his personal study of gemara; marginalia intended for personal use.
Gilyon HaShas first appeared in the Prague Edition of Shas between 1830-1835. However, Rabbi Akiva Eiger actually owned two complete sets of Shas (the one that was in Friedland present here and the other was in Posen) He inserted his notes and novellae into the margins of both sets - many of them overlap each other -yet there are significant amounts of comments that are unique to each volume. Therefore, neither set contains the full set of comments. The original publishers only had access to the set of Shas from his later years in Posen, and thus lacked the comments and novellae inserted into the volumes of gemara that he learned throughout a quarter of a century in Märkisch Friedland. Thus, Gilyon HaShas appearing in the reguler Vilna Shas is lacking a substantial amount of comments. Rabbi Akiva Eiger’s comments on this particular volume were first published in Gilyon Hashas from Manuscripts (Brookyln, NY, 1999), and later incorporated in the Oz VeHadar Edition of Talmud Bavli.

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