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Lot 12

Historical Letter Sent to the Mahari"a Assad Regarding the Gathering in Paks Against Breachers of Religion. Yergin, 1844

"... to stand opposing those who gathered to breach the path, destroyers of religion ... in agreement, together as one mouth and one heart, with a strong and courageous bond ... that everyone should gather together on the first of Elul."

Letter of invitation sent to Rabbi Yehudah Assad regarding the meeting to be held in Paks, in the month of Elul, 1844.

A large assembly headed by Avraham Geiger took place in Braunschweig in 1844, later known as one of the first major Reform gatherings. Demands to make significant religious amendments were made at this meeting, and discussions commenced about issues such as mixed marriages (only with members of monotheistic faiths), eliminating the mussaf prayer service, the anticipation of mashiach, and the practices of shofar and lulav, and allowing organ playing in the synagogue, etc. Among the decisions taken at this meeting was the cancellation of the Kol Nidrei prayer (which was a central component of the Reform's demands for amendment).

In response to the aforementioned assembly, Rabbi Shraga Feivel Horowitz, former rabbi of Paks (though at the time he was already appointed rabbi of Papa), called for a meeting in opposition to the Braunschweig assembly. Letters were sent to about 120 rabbis, but most of them declined due to the difficulties and expense of travel. In the end, approximately 25 rabbis gathered in Paks, including the Mahari"a Assad. At the meeting's close they formulated a declaration against the Reform movement (Mazkeret Paks, 110).

The Gaon Rabbi Yehudah Assad, 1764-1866, was considered the halachic authority in Hungary after the passing of the Chatam Sofer. He served as a dayan in Dunaszerdahely, and established a large yeshivah with hundreds of students. He likewise served as Av Beit Din for the cities of Regendorf, Szerdahely, and Semnitz, and corresponded extensively with the Chatam Sofer. In 1864 he took part in a rabbinic delegation to Emperor Franz Joseph, who wished to cancel the plan to establish a state rabbinic seminary.

[3] pages, ink on paper. 22x17 cm. Fine condition, stains and damage to some of the letters, fold marks.