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

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LOT 45:

Historic Letter by Rabbi Samson Rephael Hirsch, Leader of Orthodox German Jewry. Frankfurt, 1869.  ...

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Sold for: $7,000
Start price:
$ 2,000
Estimated price:
$3,000 - $4,000
Auction house commission: 22% More details

Historic Letter by Rabbi Samson Rephael Hirsch, Leader of Orthodox German Jewry. Frankfurt, 1869. 
Dissociate from the Reform Congregation

This autographed letter, inscribed in German and interspersed with quotes in Hebrew, was sent by Hagaon Harav Samson Rephael Hirsch to Harav Nesanel Weil of Karlsruhe (grandson of the Korban Nesanel) calling upon him to resign from his position as Rav of his synagogue and separate from the Reform congregation.

Duty to Separate from the Reform Congregation
Harav Samson Rephael Hirsch adopted an unyielding stance against the Reform movement and mandated complete dissociation from the expanding Reform communities in Europe. He frequently reiterated the necessity of founding independent Orthodox congregations that preserve authentic Torah and tradition, without exception or change.

German law of the era obliged every Jewish citizen to document affiliation with a local congregation. Harav Samson Rephael Hirsch waged a years-long legal and political battle to amend this law, andl his efforts were finally rewarded with the enactment of the Secession Bill of 1876 which empowered Jews to secede from a religious congregation without relinquishing their religious status.

This letter was written in 1869, 7 years prior to the institution of the Secession Bill and still in the early days of this contentious issue. In the same year, an assembly of 200 Hungarian Rabbanim took place in Budapest and announced the official division of the Hungarian Jewish communities.
He concludes this letter with his Hebrew blessing, “And Hashem shall guide you along the path of truth.”
Hagaon Harav Samson Raphael Hirsch of Frankfurt am Main (1808-1888) was one of the leading Ashkenazic rabbis in the 18th century. He fought a valiant battle against the Enlightenment and assimilation and authored many articles offering guidance to youth. His teachings have become the cornerstone of the Ashkenazic worldview.

Frankfurt am Main, October 26, 1869. Page size: 22x14 cm. Double-sided letter. Good condition.

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