Auction 75 Rare and Important Items
Nov 24, 2020
 8 Ramban St, Jerusalem.
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LOT 22:

Bat Ayin (Ovruch) – First Edition – Jerusalem, 1847

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Bat Ayin (Ovruch) – First Edition – Jerusalem, 1847
Bat Ayin on the Torah, by Rebbe Avraham Dov of Ovruch and Safed. Jerusalem: R. Yisrael Bak, [1847]. First edition.
This book is a classic text of Chassidic thought and has in it the holiness of Eretz Israel. It was written by one of the author's disciples, Rabbi Yisrael of Fălticeni, but it was carefully edited by Rebbe Avraham Dov after Rebbe Mordechai of Chernobyl instructed him to print it. The first edition of the book was printed specifically in Eretz Israel and not in the Diaspora, according to the instructions of Rebbe Yisrael of Ruzhyn, as written in the publisher's preface. The Zhitomir edition (1869) contains several additional lines in the author's introduction, where he writes that the holiness of Eretz Israel is included in his book: "I called this book Bat Ayin, since that title has the same numerical value as my name… and because I have included the holiness of the Holy Land in my writings, and the land is referred to as being under the constant scrutiny of G-d's watchful eyes" (ayin in Hebrew).
Rebbe Aharon of Chernobyl writes in his approbation to the 1869 edition: "I hereby… bless… anyone who buys this book at full price, with success in all their dealings".
The author, Rebbe Avraham Dov of Ovruch (1765-1841), was a renowned chassid and disciple of R. Nachum of Chernobyl and his son R. Mordechai as well as of R. Zusha of Anipoli and R. Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev. He served as rabbi of Ovruch for approx. 40 years, and was known as "the holy rabbi of Ovruch". In 1833 he immigrated to Eretz Israel, and established his Beit Midrash in Safed, where he became the leader of the Chassidic communities. Miraculous stories are told of his deliverance from the tragic earthquake in 1837, which took place during the late afternoon Mincha prayers in the synagogues. The Rebbe warned his Chassidim not to leave the synagogue, and he himself lay on the floor of the Beit Midrash while the surrounding congregation held on to his belt. The entire building collapsed with the exception of the narrow area in which the Rebbe and his followers lay (some time later, the Rebbe related that he recognized that the earthquake was not a natural event since the stones were cast to the sides and did not fall directly to the ground in spite of their weight. He understood that great power had been granted to Satan, and he therefore lay submissively on the ground in fulfillment of the verse "Wait a moment until the fury passes"). After the earthquake, he restored the Safed community and did not allow his Chassidim to abandon the holy city. He died of a plague in Safed in 1841; the plague ceased after his passing. Many miraculous stories are told of his lofty holiness and the wonders he performed for the Jewish people.
On several leaves, signatures of "Yechiel Tzvi Margolies" (presumably R. Hirsh Kriniker, an elder Karlin Chassid in Jerusalem at the end of the 19th century).
[2], 125, [1] leaves. 20.5 cm. Good condition. Stains, some dark. Minor worming and some tears. Title page and several other leaves professionally restored. Stamps (stamp on title page blotted out with ink). Inscriptions. New binding.
This copy contains the last leaf – list of subscribers from Eretz Israel – which is not included in some copies. This leaf is a historical documentation of the Chassidic settlers in Jerusalem, Safed, Tiberias and Hebron in mid-19th century.
A short time after the printing of the first edition in Jerusalem, a second edition was printed in Zhitomir, 1850. The Zhitomir printers were evidently unaware of the earlier Jerusalem printing. The Zhitomir edition was based on a different manuscript, ensuing in differences between the two works (see N. Ben-Menachem, Kiryat Sefer, vol. 37, 1962, pp. 401-402; B'Shaarei Sefer, Jerusalem, 1967, pp. 49-53).
S. HaLevi, no. 38; Stefansky Chassidut, no. 103.

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