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Zavva'at haGeonim, Warsaw 1875

צוואת הגאונים

Listing Image
  • Lot Number 51830
  • Title (English) Zavva'at haGeonim
  • Title (Hebrew) צוואת הגאונים
  • City Warsaw
  • Publisher דפוס נתן שריפטגיסער
  • Publication Date 1875
  • Estimated Price - Low 200
  • Estimated Price - High 500

  • Item # 2035194
  • End Date
  • Start Date

Physical Description

32 pp., 16 mo., 135:105 mm., light age staining, nice margins. A very good copy bound as issued,


Detail Description

Last will of  R. Akiva Eger, R. Jacob of Lissa, biography of the Haham Tzvi.
R. Akiva b. Moses Guens Eger (Eiger), (1761–1837), was born in Eisenstadt, and went to Breslau at an early age to study under his uncle, R. Benjamin Wolf Eger, and R. Hayyim Jonah Teomim-Fraenkel. In 1780, he went to live with his father-in-law in Lissa, where for about ten years he engaged in study, free from financial stress. Impoverished as a result of the losses suffered in the fire of 1791, he accepted a position as rabbi in Maerkisch-Friedland, where he established a yeshivah. As his reputation grew, his decisions were sought in many matters. The thought of reaping material benefit from the Torah was repugnant to him, and on several occasions he thought of leaving the rabbinate and devoting himself to teaching. In 1814 he was prevailed upon to accept the position of rabbi in Posen, which was offered to him over the objections of the maskilim and the followers of the Reform movement, who, fearing his great influence, sought the intervention of the secular authorities, on the grounds that he had no command of the German language and was opposed to all innovations. They were eventually obliged to accept R. Eger's appointment, but they nevertheless attempted to minimize his influence by the insertion of certain restrictive clauses in his letter of appointment. R. Eger, as unofficial chief rabbi of the Posen district, labored on behalf of his own and other Jewish communities. He established a large yeshivah, whose students included R. Zevi Hirsch Kalischer, R. Jacob Levy (author of the dictionaries of the Talmud), and Julius Fuerst. He waged a constant struggle against the Reform movement. He received a royal message of thanks from Frederick William III for his services during the cholera epidemic of 1831, during which he framed a number of helpful takkanot and cared for many of the sick. A number of welfare institutions established by him were in existence until World War II. He was the father-in-law of R. Moses Sofer and the ancestor of many prominent scholars. His son R. Solomon Eger was elected rabbi of Posen on his father's death. Many popular legends surrounded R. Akiva's person. His exemplary humanity and beneficence earned him universal admiration, even among his adversaries. His modesty was proverbial, and he was sternly opposed to the titles of honor common in rabbinical circles. Of his works, the following were published in his lifetime: Hilluka de-Rabbanan (1822); Haggahot to the Mishnah (1825–30); Gilyon ha-Shas, notes to the Prague edition of the Babylonian Talmud (1830–34), and later to the Vilna edition; responsa, together with decisions, etc. (1834). After his death there appeared: responsa, part 2 (1839); Hiddushei R. Akiva Eger (1858); Tosafot (1841–48 in the Altona edition of the Mishnah); Haggahot, glosses to the Shulhan Arukh (1859); responsa (1889); Kitvei R. Akiva Eger (letters; 1929). In addition many of his letters and responsa were printed in talmudic journals and in numerous other works. Much of his work has remained in manuscript and some has been lost (e.g., his glosses to the Palestinian Talmud).

R. Jacob b. Jacob Moses Lorberbaum of Lissa (c. 1760–1832), Polish rabbi and halakhist. His father, the rabbi of Zborow, died before Lorberbaum was born and his relative, R. Joseph Te'omim, brought him up. After his marriage he settled in Stanislav and engaged in business, but devoted most of his time to study. He frequently attended the lectures of R. Meshullam Igra. When after a few years his business failed, he accepted the rabbinate of Monasterzyska where he founded a yeshivah. He was later appointed rabbi of Kalisz where he wrote most of his books and with exceptional humility published anonymously his work on parts of Shulhan Arukh, Yoreh De'ah: Havvat Da'at, a name by which he himself became known in scholarly circles when his authorship came to light. This work was accepted in the rabbinic world as a compendium of practical halakhah, and won him the reputation of an outstanding posek. In 1809 he was invited to become rabbi of Lissa, long a center of Torah in Poland. R. Lorbeerbaum enlarged the yeshivah, to which hundreds of students streamed, among them many who later became great scholars and pioneers of the Hibbat Zion movement such as R. Elijah Gutmacher, R. Zevi Hirsch Kalischer, and R. Shraga Feivel Danziger. Many of R. Jacob's contemporaries turned to him with their problems. During his time the war between the reformers and the rabbis flared up, and R. Lorbeerbaum, together with R. Akiva Eger and R. Moses Sofer, unleashed a vehement attack against the maskilim and the reformers. In Lissa, however, as in other towns of Great Poland that came under Prussian rule after the partition of Poland, the influence of the Berlin reformers grew continually stronger. The schism between R. Lorbeerbaum and a large section of the community eventually became so great that in 1822 he decided to leave Lissa and return to Kalisz. There he devoted his time to study, rejecting all offers of rabbinic posts from large and ancient communities such as Lublin. In 1830 he quarreled with a powerful member of the community who denounced him to the government, compelling him to leave Kalisz. On the way to Budapest, where he had been invited to become av bet din, he passed through the regional town of Stryj and was persuaded to remain there.

The following of his works have been published: Havvat Da'at (Lemberg, 1799); Ma'aseh Nissim (Zolkiew, 1801), on the Passover Haggadah; Mekor Hayyim (ibid., 1807), novellae and expositions of the laws of Passover in the Shulhan Arukh together with the glosses of R. David b. Samuel ha-Levi and R. Abraham Abele Gombiner on the Orah Hayyim and novellae to tractate Keritot; Netivot ha-Mishpat (ibid., 1809–16), on Hoshen Mishpat; Torat Gittin (Frankfort on the Oder, 1813), the laws of divorce and novellae on tractate Gittin; Beit Ya'akov (Hrubieszow, 1823), expositions on Even ha-Ezer; Kehillat Ya'akov (1831), on Even ha-Ezer and some sections of Orah Hayyim; Derekh ha-Hayyim, an anthology of liturgical laws for the whole year, first published with the prayer book (1828) and then separately (1860 or 1870); Nahalat Ya'akov (1849), expositions of the Pentateuch; Emet le-Ya'akov (1865), expositions of talmudic aggadot; Imrei Yosher, commentaries on the five megillot, each published at a different place and time; his ethical will (1875) and Millei de-Aggadeta (1904), sermons and response.

R. Zevi Hirsch b. Jacob Ashkenazi (also known as the Hakham Zevi; 1660–1718), rabbi and halakhist. Both his father, R. Jacob Sak, a renowned scholar, and his maternal grandfather, R. Ephraim b. Jacob ha-Kohen, had escaped from Vilna to Moravia during the 1655 Cossack uprising. It was there that R. Ashkenazi studied under them as a youth. He wrote his first responsa in 1676, about the time he was sent to the yeshivah of R. Elijah Covo in Salonika to study the Sephardi scholars' method of study. During his stay in Salonika (1676–78?) and Belgrade (1679), he adopted Sephardi customs and manners and, despite his Ashkenazi origin, assumed the title "hakham," the Sephardi title for a rabbi and also the name "Ashkenazi." In 1680 he returned to Ofen and continued his studies. After his wife and daughter were killed during the siege of Ofen by the Imperial army of Leopold I, Ashkenazi escaped to Sarajevo where he was appointed hakham of the Sephardi community. His parents were taken prisoner by a Brandenburg regiment after the fall of Ofen and ransomed by Jews in Berlin. It seems that only much later R. Ashkenazi received the news that his parents were alive. He arrived in Berlin via Venice and Prague in 1689. There he married the daughter of R. Meshullam Zalman Neumark-Mirels, the av bet din of the "Three Communities" of Altona, Hamburg, and Wandsbeck. He later moved to Altona where for 18 years he devoted himself to teaching in the Klaus, which was founded for him by leading members of the congregation. On the death of his father-in-law (1707), he was elected rabbi of Hamburg and Wandsbeck, although he shared the position at Altona with R. Moses Rothenburg. It was eventually a violent controversy on a halakhic question between them (the "chicken without a heart," see below), which compelled him to resign his position in all three communities in 1709. He continued to act as the head of the yeshivah in the Altona klaus until invited to serve as rabbi of the Ashkenazi community in Amsterdam in 1710. There, Ashkenazi's relations were initially excellent. His responsa, published in Amsterdam in 1712, were highly regarded by the rabbis of the Portuguese (Sephardi) community there, and he was on intimate terms with the Sephardi rabbi, R. Solomon Ayllon. This relationship, however, deteriorated with the arrival in Amsterdam of Nehemiah Hayon, the emissary of Shabbetai Zevi, who sought the help of the local Portuguese community in circulating his writings. Having been asked by the Portuguese elders (who did not rely on Ayllon) to rule on the matter, R. Ashkenazi and R. Moses Hagiz - who was then in Amsterdam as a rabbinical emissary from Jerusalem - decided against Hayon and his writings and later excommunicated him. In revenge for not having been consulted about Hayyon's writings, Ayllon managed to transform the issue into one of supremacy of the old Portuguese community over the newcomers' R. Ashkenazi one. A new commission under Ayllon was appointed and found Hayon's writings to be in accordance with traditional Kabbalah. Upon R. Ashkenazi's refusal to apologize to Hayon, a bitter controversy took place between the Portuguese and R. Ashkenazi. As a result of his opponents' incessant personal attacks, R. Ashkenazi finally resigned his position in Amsterdam in 1714. After a brief stay in London (at the invitation of the Sephardi community), and a short sojourn in Emden, he proceeded to Poland and settled in Opatow. From there he was invited once more to Hamburg to take part in a complicated lawsuit. In the beginning of 1718 he was appointed rabbi of Lemberg, but he died there after a few months.

R. Ashkenazi's chief work is his collection of responsa Hakham Zevi (Amsterdam, 1712). These responsa reflect his stormy life and his many wanderings. Questions were addressed to him from all parts of Europe - from London to Lublin and from Hamburg to "Candia in Italy" dealing in particular with problems which arose from the condition of the Jews in various countries. They shed light on the communal organization, its privileges and regulations (e.g., no. 131).

Three responsa (74, 76, 77) deal with the celebrated problem of the chicken which was allegedly found to have no heart. His decision that such a bird was kasher created a sensation in the rabbinic world, and was vigorously opposed by such leading rabbis as R. Moses Rothenburg, R. Naphtali Katz of Frankfort, R. David Oppenheim, and R. Jonathan Eybeschuetz, who vehemently attacked the decision. He was supported by his son, R. Jacob Emden. In one of his responsa (no. 93) R. Ashkenazi deals with the question of whether a golem could be counted in a minyan ("religious quorum"), one such being having been fashioned by his grandfather, R. Elijah of Chelm. When in 1705 R. David Nieto of London expressed views which were deemed by his community to be heretical and bordering upon the doctrine of Spinoza, the matter was brought before R. Ashkenazi, who accepted Nieto's explanations (no. 8). The mutual relations between Ashkenazim and Sephardim are dealt with in a number of responsa (14, 38, 99). For example, on the question of whether it is permissible for Ashkenazim to use a Sephardi scroll, written in accordance with the views of Maimonides for the public reading of the Torah, he concludes that Ashkenazi and Sephardi scrolls are equally valid since the subdivision into sections is the same in both cases. As to the question of whether the Zohar should be given priority and relied upon in halakhic rulings, he declares emphatically that "even if the Zohar were to contradict the halakhic authorities we could not discard the opinions of the halakhic authorities in favor of what is written in the esoteric law; for in the laws and their practical application we are not concerned with mystic lore. But in cases where halakhic authorities differ, it is proper to follow the decision of the Zohar" (no. 36). In 1692 he published his glosses to the Turei Zahav on the Hoshen Mishpat. Opposed to pilpul in the study of the Talmud, he demanded a systematic and fundamental analysis of the subject matter. R. Jacob Emden praised him for his qualities of "abstinence, meticulousness, true saintliness, and inner reverence." One of his other sons, R. Abraham Meshullam Zalman, was av bet din in Ostrog from 1745. His son, R. Zevi Hirsch, published his father's responsa and novellae under the title Divrei Meshullam (1783).

Hebrew Description

צוואת ... מוה’ עקיבא אייגר זצ"ל וצוואת ... מוה’ יעקב [לורברבוים] זצ"ל אב"ד דק"ק ליסא. ונלווה אליהם (מגילת ספר), תולדות הגאון חכם צבי [ר’ צבי אשכנזי] זצ"ל מכ"י [מכתב יד] ... בנו ... ר’ יעקב עמדן זצ"ל. נדפס ע"י ר’ שלמה קאספיראווסקי נ"י.

הספר כולו, פרט לצוואת ר’ עקיבא איגר, הועתק מתוך ספר נחלת יעקב לר’ יעקב מליסא, ברעסלויא תר"ט.

מ’ 31-32: "בספר ... תורת הקנאות להגאון יעב"ץ ... הנדפס באמשטרדם [אלטונא, תקי"ב], בעסקי מלחמות מצוה אשר הי’ למר ... חכם צבי ... עם ... חייא [נחמיה] חיון תלמידו של שבתי צבי ... כתב דף לג ע"ב ...".

עמ’ 32: "זאת אשר חקוק על מצבת אבן קבר ... הרב ... צבי הירש בהרב ... יעקב [אשכנזי]".



Bibliography of the Hebrew Book 1470-1960 # 000108980 ; EJף M. M. Biber, Mazkeret li-Gedolei Ostraha (Ostrog) (1907), 106–10; Waxman, Literature, 2 (1960), 188–9