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Shedar letter, Disciples of the Vilna Gaon, Jerusalem 1826?

כתב שד"ר מתלמודי הגר"א בירושלים - Manuscript - Gaon of Vilna

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  • Lot Number 54110
  • Title (English) Shedar letter
  • Title (Hebrew) כתב שד"ר מתלמודי הגר"א בירושלים
  • Note Manuscript - Gaon of Vilna
  • Author Disciples of the Vilna Gaon
  • City Jerusalem
  • Publication Date 1826?
  • Estimated Price - Low 5,000
  • Estimated Price - High 10,000

  • Item # 2532459
  • End Date
  • Start Date

Physical Description

[1] p., 245:195 mm.. light age staining, wide margins, ink on paper, beautiful Ashkenazic Rabbinic script, signed by 7 rabbis, dated in acrostic.

Detail Description

Shedar letter by the disciples of the Vilna Gaon in Jerusalem to solicit and collect funds on behalf of the needy in Erez Israel. The document is signed by:

1. R. Chaim b. Perez haKohen (d. 1831) was the Rabbi of Pinsk (1807-26). He came to Erez Israel in 1826 and was instrumental in settling the ongoing disputes of the competing Kollels collecting funds abroad for distribution to the needy in Erez Israel. Many miraculous stories are told about him. R. Chaim was the father in law of R. Yehiel Michel of Zlotchiv and R. Meshullem Zalman, rabbi of Lublin.

2. R. Israel b. Samuel of Shklov (d. 1839), talmudic scholar of Lithuania and, later, in Erez Israel, where he was leader of the "Kolel ha-Perushim," the local community of the disciples of R. Elijah b. Solomon Zalman, the Vilna Gaon. R. Israel was born and brought up in Shklov. Although he studied under the Vilna Gaon for only six months before the latter's death, he was nevertheless entrusted with the preparation of the Gaon's commentaries for publication. In 1809 he joined the third group of the Gaon's pupils, led by R. Hayyim b. Tobiah, that immigrated to Erez Israel and settled in Safed, where there were already 40 families from the two previous groups. Within less than a year of his arrival he was sent by the Kolel ha-Perushim to Lithuania to organize permanent assistance for the immigrants. During the course of this mission, which proved extremely successful, he published the notes of the Vilna Gaon on the tractate Shekalim of the Jerusalem Talmud together with a commentary of his own under the title of Taklin Hadtin (Minsk, 1812). Though caught up in the Napoleonic wars which had meanwhile reached Russia, he succeeded in returning to Safed at the beginning of 1813. In the summer of that year, seeking to escape a plague which broke out in Safed, Israel and his family set out for Jerusalem. His wife died on the journey, his two sons, two of his daughters, and his son-in-law died in Jerusalem, and his father and mother at Safed and only he and his youngest daughter survived. In 1816, after having returned to Safed, R. Israel was chosen to succeed R. Menahem Mendel of Shklov, the leader of the Kolel ha-Perushim there, when the latter moved to Jerusalem. R. Israel served as head of the community, which now numbered 600, first in Safed and later in Jerusalem. He organized assistance from abroad, maintained amicable relations with the hasidic and Sephardi communities, represented his community before the authorities, and established good relations with the Arabs. Reports having reached Safed in 1830 of the existence of Jewish tribes in Yemen, he sent a special envoy there to search for remnants of the Ten Tribes. When Israel Bak opened a Hebrew printing house in Safed in 1832, he entrusted him with the printing of his Pe'at ha-Shulhan. The work did not appear until 1836, its printing having been interrupted by an attack by the Arabs of Upper Galilee on the Jews of Safed. R. Israel organized help for those who had suffered from the attack, which lasted for 33 days and in the course of which much Jewish property was looted. On the first day of 1837 an earthquake killed more than 2,000 Jews in Safed. R. Israel was then in Jerusalem, and upon hearing of the disaster he immediately sent help to Safed and letters to Jews abroad soliciting their aid for the stricken. Safed having been reduced to rubble, R. Israel for the last two years of his life lived, like most of the refugees from the earthquake, in Jerusalem. Louis Loewe, who met him there, related that on the Sabbath R. Israel spoke only Hebrew. His health failing, R. Israel went in 1839 to Tiberius where he died. His grave and tombstone were discovered in Tiberius in 1964. R. Israel's diary has been partially preserved, as have numerous letters which he wrote to people abroad. They constitute important sources for the history of the Jewish settlement in Erez Israel during the first half of the 19th century. Upon the prerogatives of the Holy Land and upon the sufferings of Jerusalem and of Safed in this century. The work is full of interesting details concerning Palestine. R. Abiezer Judah b. Isaac of Tiktin came to Jerusalem around 1840. He resided in Jerusalem and wrote several scholarly works: Mishmeret ha-Berit (The Charge of the Covenant), a defense of Judaism against the irreligious, (Jerusalem, 1846); Mekor ha-Berakah (The Source of Blessing), being the first part of a work in three volumes, called Berakah Meshuleshet (The Threefold Benediction), upon the Talmudical treatise Berakot (Lemberg, 1851).

3. R. Arye Loeb b. Joseph Leon - Important member of the Safed Ashkenazi leadership 

4. R. Shlomo Zalman b. Wolf haKohen was a shedar to Europe on several occasions; father-in-law of R. Jacob Sapir.

5. R. Nathan Nuta b. Mendel of Jerusalem (d. 1847). He came to Erez Israel in 1789 with R. Saadia (father of Nathan Nuta). R. Nathan Nuta was blinded by the Arabs in the 1834 attack on Zfat after plundering his entire wealth. Nevertheless he continued to serve his community and was himself a shedar on several missions to Lithuania.

6. R. Nathan Nuta b. Saadia   (d. 1847) served the Gaon for many years and recited Mishnei'ot to the Gaon by rote. His father was the Head and Rabbi of the Gra's disciples who emigrate to Safed.

7. R. Arye Loeb b. Jerachmiel of Jerusalem (formerly Marcus of Keiden), trustee of the Jerusalem Kollel, a shedar to Europe on several occasions. Founding member of the Hurvah Shul in the Old City.


Hebrew Description 

ה"ר חיים ב"ר פרץ הכהן אב"ד פינסק והג' כיהן כעשרים שנה ברבנות פינסק והיה מקובל גם על החסידים, עלה לצפת בשנת תקפ"ו וכיהן בה ברבנות עד פטירתו בשנת תקצ"א

 ה"ר ישראל ב"ר שמואל משקלאוו בעמ"ס תקלין חדתין, פאת השלחן ועוד, תלמוד מובהק הגר"א

ה"ר ארי' ליב ב"ר יוסף - מראשי הישוב האשכנזי בצפת

 ה"ר שלמה זלמן ב"ר וואלף הכהן - שד"ר ארץ ישראל, חותנו של רבי יעקב ספיר

ה"ר נתן נטע ב"ר מנחם מנדעל משקלאוו - נקרא רבי נטע הגדול, היה מראשי הקבוצה של העליה הראשונה של תלמידי הגר"א בתקס"ט, אביו רבי מנדיל משקלאוו עלה שנה קודם והכין את הקרקע לעליה זו. נפטר בירושלים תשרי תר"ז, ועל מצבתו נכתב "הרב חסיד וענו"

ה"ר נתן נטע ב"ר סעדיה - זכה לשמש את הגר"א וקרא לפניו משניות בעל-פה. אביו רבי סעדיה היה ראש ורבן של תלמידי הגר"א שעלו לירושלים. נפטר תר"ט

 ה"ר ארי' ב"ר ירחמיאל נאמן הכולל דירושלים - רבי אריה ליב ב"ר ירחמיאל מארקוס מקיידן נאמן כולל הפרושים בירושלים וממייסדי ביהכנ"ס "החורבה"




Enc, leToldot Hakhme Erez Israel; Yaari, Shluchi Erez Israel; EJ