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Lot 8

Eleh Divrei HaBrit. Altona, 1819. Letter from the Rabbis Opposing the Reform

Eleh Divrei HaBrit - letters from rabbinic leaders "To foil a new religion concocted in the hearts of some laymen who are not Torah personalities) to establish their customs not as the law of Moshe and Israel, published by the Beit Din Tzedek of the Hamburg community.

The first signs of the Reform movement in Germany began with instituting "alterations" in prayer arrangements, and prayer in the "temple" in Hamburg. In this context, the Reform omitted the prayers for redemption, brought an organ into the temple, and conducted prayers in German. The Reform based their alterations on Talmudic and rabbinic sources, and published a book entitled Noga Tzedek - Ohr Noga (Dessau 1818), in which their own rabbinic opinions justified arranging the alterations. The "altered siddur" was printed in Hamburg in 1819 right around the time of the establishment of the first temple [it also appears in this catalog].

This book was printed in response; it includes twenty two halachic responsa from rabbinic leaders in Germany, Hungary, Poland and other countries, which bring proofs from halachic and adjudicative literature that the alterations are completely prohibited. Among the geonim of the generation whose responsa appear in the book: Rabbi Ya'akov of Lissa, author of Netivot HaMishpat; Prague rabbis - Rabbi Elazar Fleklash and Rabbi Shmuel Landau, the Chatam Sofer (several letters), Mahara"m Bennet, Rabbi Akiva Eiger, Rabbi Meshulam Zalman HaKohen (Maharaza"ch) of Furth, author of Bigdei Kehunah and more.

The Chatam Sofer initially opposed printing the book, as he reasoned that just raising the issue in debate and conducting the dispute with the people of Reform may strengthen their power and status. Yet after the fact, he agreed with the necessity and influence of the book and wrote: "An anthology of letters from the geonim of our time has been printed in Hamburg, and they called it Divrei HaBrit, and thank G-d it has wrought salvation in the land."

XVI, 131 pp. 22 cm. Quality paper. Very fine condition.