Auction 75 Rare and Important Items
Nov 24, 2020
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LOT 36:

Manuscript, Lengthy Responsum by the Yismach Moshe – Noteworthy, Unpublished Passage: "…I am Always Like a Doorsill ...

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Manuscript, Lengthy Responsum by the Yismach Moshe – Noteworthy, Unpublished Passage: "…I am Always Like a Doorsill to be Tread Upon, Ready to Respond to Whoever Asks" – Lengthy Gloss Handwritten and Signed by His Grandson and Disciple, the Yitav Lev, Rebbe of Sighet – Sighet, 1866

Manuscript, four leaves (eight pages), responsum regarding philosophy and Kabbalah, by R. Moshe Teitelbaum Rabbi of Ujhel (Sátoraljaújhely), author of Yismach Moshe. Written by a scribe. With a 10-line gloss handwritten and signed by his grandson and disciple, Rebbe Yekutiel Yehuda Teitelbaum Rabbi of Sighet (Sighetu Marmației) – author of Yitav Lev. [Sighet, 1866?].
Four large (consecutive) leaves, written on both sides (two columns per page).
This responsum by the Yismach Moshe explains an impenetrable sentence in the foreword to Sefer HaRokeach by R. Elazar of Worms. The Yismach Moshe explains the meaning of this sentence using various approaches – Derush, Remez and Sod. This lengthy and profound thesis covers many topics, such as the topic of the closeness of the soul to G-d in This World and the Next, and other kabbalistic concepts. It includes many quotes and references to dozens of research, philosophical, homiletical and kabbalistic works. The Yismach Moshe confronts the views of philosophers on these topics with those of kabbalists, and proves that the opinion of the kabbalists is correct.
At the end of this responsum, the editor, his grandson and disciple, the Yitav Lev, added a 10-line gloss in his handwriting, in which he explains the meaning of the passage in the Rokeach in a simpler way, based on what the Rokeach wrote elsewhere in his book. The gloss is signed: "So it seems to me, Yekutiel Yehuda Teitelbaum". The gloss contains one line which the Yitav Lev crossed out (this line was indeed not printed). The deleted line also bears his signature. The body of the responsum contains several words and markings handwritten by the Yitav Lev, as part of his editing and preparing the text for print.
This responsum was composed during the Yismach Moshe's tenure as rabbi of Shinova (Sieniawa), in 1791-1808. The responsum opens: "Responsum for the capital city of Warsaw". This responsum was first published after the passing of its author, the Yismach Moshe (Tammuz 1841), in Lviv 1866, at the beginning of his responsa work Heshiv Moshe, with the gloss of the Yitav Lev at the end of it. There are slight textual variations between the printed text and the text of the present manuscript, both in the main responsum by the Yismach Moshe, and in the gloss of the Yitav Lev.
Additionally, in the printed responsum, an entire paragraph was omitted by the editor, the Yitav Lev. This paragraph is found at the end of this manuscript responsum. The Yismach Moshe wrote: "I do not usually reply on these matters (kabbalah) in letters, only orally. Only on halachic matters of divorce and Chaliztah, agunot, Sotah, kashrut, laws of Shabbat and Yom Tov, monetary laws, and other laws, I am always like a doorsill to be tread upon, ready to answer to whoever asks, as if a man inquired of the word of G-d and far from me to withhold". This passage was crossed out by the Yitav Lev. To the best of our knowledge, this passage was never published.
The Yitav Lev inherited all the writings of his grandfather, the Yismach Moshe (writings which were not edited nor prepared for print), and arranged to have them transcribed, edited and prepared for print, with the addition of his glosses and notes. In 1849-1861, he published the five volumes of Yismach Moshe on the Torah. He delegated the task of editing the rest of his grandfather's writings to his son-in-law, R. Yisrael Yaakov Yukel Teitelbaum Rabbi of Gorlitz, who edited and published Responsa Heshiv Moshe, and to his grandson R. Moshe David Rabbi of Laposch, who edited and published Tefillah LeMoshe on Tehillim and Yismach Moshe on Neviim and Ketuvim.
[4] leaves (8 pages). Consecutive leaves. 42 cm. Good condition. Stains and wear.

R. Moshe Teitelbaum, Rabbi of Ujhel (1759-1841), was an illustrious Chassidic leader in Hungary and Galicia. An outstanding Torah scholar and G-dly Kabbalist, sharp and proficient in all facets of Torah, revealed as well as hidden. During his lifetime he was renowned as a holy G-dly man and a wonder-worker benefiting from Divine Inspiration. He first served in the Shinova (Sieniawa) rabbinate from 1785-1808, and in 1808, was appointed rabbi of Ujhel (Satoraljaujhely) and its region. During the first half of his life, R. Moshe was an opponent of Chassidut, and in his youth, he travelled to Vilna to study Torah from the Vilna Gaon (R. B. Landau, HaGaon HeChassid MiVilna, p. 291, in the name of R. Zalman Weber. The Klausenburg Rebbe cites an interesting testimony from that visit, which his great-grandfather the Yismach Moshe related about the conduct of the Vilna Gaon with his disciples – Responsa Divrei Yatziv, Part IV, Yoreh De'ah, section 131). Over the years, R. Moshe gravitated towards Chassidut, influenced by his son-in-law R. Aryeh Leib Lifshitz of Vishnitsaý, author of the Responsa Aryeh D'Bei Ila'i, who convinced him to travel to the Chozeh of Lublin. There, R. Moshe saw revelations of Divine Inspiration, and became the Chozeh's close disciple, adhering to Chassidut and disseminating its doctrines. This transformation took place while he was still officiating as rabbi of Shinova. He also travelled to the Ohev Yisrael of Apta. From 1815, R. Moshe began distributing amulets to those requiring salvation and "the pen cannot properly describe the wonders performed by those amulets". Reputedly, he deliberated whether to continue writing amulets until he heard a pronouncement from Heaven: "Do not fear for I am with you" (Tehilla L'Moshe). Until this day, most of the texts of amulets and "protections" in Ashkenazi countries are attributed to the Yismach Moshe, including the printed text of the "Protection for the infant and the mother" and "Protection from epidemic". The text of the renowned Kerestir amulets, inscribed by Chassidic rebbes for safeguarding home and property, also originates from him.

His published writings include the well-known books of homilies - Yismach Moshe on the Torah, Megillot and on Talmudic Aggadot, Tefilla L'Moshe on Tehillim, Responsa Heshiv Moshe and other books. His book Maayan Tahor, with the laws of Nidda in Yiddish for Jewish women, was appended to many siddurim.

Rebbe Yekutiel Yehuda Teitelbaum (1808-1883), son of R. Elazar Nissan Teitelbaum Rabbi of Sighet, and son-in-law of R. Moshe David Ashkenazi – rabbi of Tolcsva who later immigrated to Safed. He was a close disciple of his grandfather the Yismach Moshe – Rebbe Moshe Teitelbaum Rabbi of Ujhel (Sátoraljaújhely), who drew him especially close and disclosed to him Heavenly revelations which he had perceived with Divine inspiration. He was also a disciple of Rebbe Asher Yeshaya of Ropshitz. In 1833 (at the age of 25), he was appointed rabbi of Stropkov, and after the passing of his illustrious grandfather, he was selected to succeed him as rabbi of Ujhel. He was then appointed rabbi of Gorlitz (Gorlice), and later of Drohobych. In 1858, he went to serve as rabbi of Sighet, capital of the Maramureș region, and founded there a large yeshiva, which numbered at its zenith two hundred students. Amongst his renowned disciples from that time was R. Shlomo Leib Tabak author of Erech Shai and head of the Sighet Beit Din. His grandson attested that "he was a merciful father to his disciples, carrying them on his shoulders as a nurse carries a suckling, and overseeing each one individually to ensure they studied Torah in holiness and purity". In Sighet, he gained worldwide renown, and thousands of Chassidim flocked to seek his counsel and wisdom, blessing and salvation. He was renowned for his exceptional holiness, and his grandson R. Yoel of Satmar attested that his holiness was never tainted. Numerous stories circulated of the wonders he performed, including incredible insights which were revealed to him with Divine Inspiration. He was reputed in his generation as one who could read the minds of those standing before him, and amazing stories were told of this ability. His epitaph reads: "The renowned rabbi, he edified upstanding and reputable disciples, left behind valuable compositions". He is renowned for his books: Yitav Lev on the Torah, Yitav Panim on the Festivals, Rav Tuv on the Torah and Responsa Avnei Tzedek.

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