Winner's Auctions No. 111

Important Historic Documents, Haskalah, Einstein, Seforim, Manuscripts and Letters from Rabbis and Rebbes

December 11, 2018
Opening $ 2,000
Estimate $ 5,000 - $ 8,000
Sold for $ 13,396
Including buyer's premium

Invaluable treasury of about 200 documents, certificates, court rulings, and letters related to the Kollel Österreich in the Galilee. Some feature unknown historical revelations. [1860-1922].

When Galician immigrants in the holy cities of Jerusalem, Safed and Tiberias complained that they were being pressured by the trustees of the Russian kollel, Rabbi Chaim of Kossov, author of the Torat Chaim, opened Kollel Österreich together with Rabbi Mordechai Zeev Itinga, author of Magen Gibborim. They both served as "nasi" of the kollel. Rabbi Chaim was the nasi of the "Rabbi Meir Baal HaNes" kollel of the Jews of Bukowina, Maramureș, and part of Eastern Galicia, and Rabbi Mordechai Zeev was in charge of Western Galicia. When the author of Torat Chaim passed away in 1854, a disagreement arose between his sons regarding a successor for the Land of Israel administration. He had three sons: Rabbi Yaakov Shimshon, who took over his position in Kossov; Rabbi Yosef Alter, who ascended to the Land of Israel; and Rabbi Menachem Mendel, author of Tzemach Tzaddik, who settled in Vizhnitz. Two kollels were developed by his sons, for Kossov and for Vishnitz, with the regions of each administered by Kollel Österreich. This led to disputes regarding who was in charge of which region - since the kollels were both funded from the same resources. In 1863, upon the passing of Rabbi Mordechai Zeev, his son - Rabbi Yitzchak Aharon, author of the Shu"t Mahari"a HaLevi, took over his position as nasi.

Vizhnitz representatives were: Reb Moshe ChR"G Tzeiger, his son-in-law Reb Todros - son of Rabbi Y. L. Lebech, Reb Mendel of Kopishnitz and Reb Yonah of Tarnopol. A few years later, disagreements broke out between the trustees themselves. Another wave of dispute began in 1867, when Reb Yissacher Dov Lustman of Sanok arrived in Safed and was appointed trustee of the Österreich Kollel on behalf of Lemberg. A sharp dispute broke out between Reb Dov and his supporters and the Vizhnitz trustees. To add fuel to the fire, the Austrian consul got involved. Hundreds of Austrian Jews living in Safed and Tiberias found it difficult to use the services of the Austrian consulate in Jerusalem. After many requests, the general consul in Beirut sent a consular agent to Safed in 1868, and he sided with the Vizhnitz faction.

To make things worse, in 1875-1877 an additional sharp controversy ignited between the administration of the Österreich Kollel in Safed and the "Nasi Eretz-Yisrael" in Lemberg, Rabbi Yitzchak Aharon Itinga. The dispute generated many placards supporting each side. In a "public letter" published in 1876 by the Land of Israel representatives who traveled to Lemberg - Reb Elimelech Perlman of Jerusalem and Avraham HaLevi Kalisher of Safed - they imply criticism of the management of Rabbi Yitzchak Aharon and express hope that things would improve upon his resignation. A few months later a "critical letter" was published with stinging opposition to the trustees and support for Rabbi Yitzchak Aharon. As far as is known, Rabbi Yitzchak Aharon continued serving in this role for many years after this, and the dispute came to rest without any significant administrative changes in Safed or Lemberg.

An agreement was reached between the Tzemach Tzaddik and Rabbi Yitzchak Aharon Itinga [refer to Siftei Tzadikim, 5] in 1886. In 1880, Rabbi Yaakov Shimshon of Kossov passed away, and his only son, Rabbi Moshe Hager, author of Leket Ani, took over his position, including the title "Nasi HaKollel." This triggered another row of disputes between the offices. In 1886, both sides reached an agreement to unite the two kollels. In 1890, there were some irregularities in the Vizhnitz Kollel, and a complaint was lodged with the Imrei Baruch, who expressed his opinion and admonitions on the issue.

An external controversy continued to flare the conflagration: a dispute between the chassidim of Sighet, also from the Maramureș area, which negatively affected donations to "Maot Eretz Yisrael" [Refer to Winner's Catalog, 100, item 41, letter from the Ahavat Yisrael in 1908]. In 1908, a big disagreement broke out in Sighet between the chassidim of Vizhnitz and Sighet. The chassidim of Vizhnitz wanted their rabbi, the Ahavat Yisrael, to continue serving as Nasi Kollel Maramureș in Safed, but the Sighet faction wanted their rabbi, Rabbi Chaim Tzvi Teitelbaum, author of Atzei Chaim (1881-1926) to serve in this position. After many fights over a short amount of time, the two sides agreed to bring their claims to a beit din with five adjudicators: each side chose two adjudicators, and the four adjudicators chose a fifth - the author of Arugat HaBosem of Chust. The beit din ruled that Maramureș should be divided into two sections, the Ahavat Yisrael would be nasi of one section and the Atzei Chaim would be nasi of the other. This discord triggered a "civil war" amongst the Orthodox Jews in the country. Every day the atmosphere was colored with lampoons, each one justifying itself or incriminating the other side, friendships were broken and hatred spread, destroying integrity and blinding people's eyes. Unfortunately it generated a wholesale profanation of G-d's name and the honor of the Jewish nation.

This complex network of disputes is highlighted in this rich of collection containing dozens of letters, certificates, receipts, notes, both internally within Safed and reports from outside the city. Includes lists of donors to the different kollels, signatures of the recipients. In short, this is a rich treasury for researchers of Safed and Tiberias.

Discoveries: The involvement of all the sons of Rabbi Yisrael of Ruzhin in this argument. Many references to reports about the opinion of Rabbi Yitzchak Aharon of Lemberg. The cancellation of the Imrei Baruch's title as "Nasi Eretz Yisrael" by the government and its transfer to Rabbi Yitzchak Aharon of Lemberg. Clarification letter from the chassidim of the Imrei Baruch right after his passing, negotiations with Rabbi Yitzchak Aharon, with a list of addressees. List of people in Lemberg - a rich source of names of donors from the city. Lists of people who received the "chaluka" stipend, with their signatures - a rich source of names of people of the Galilee. Original rulings of the beit din in Safed and Tiberias, including signatures: Rabbi Shmuel Heller of Safed, Rabbi Avraham HaLevi Av Beit Din of Tiberias. Ruling by Rabbi David Babad, son of the author of Minchat Chinuch. List of donors from the Lemberg region. Lists of homes and courtyards belonging to the Vizhnitz Kollel, including [home of Rabbi Shmuel Yaakov]. Certificate of compromise between the kollels. 1865-1866. Letter from R' Eliyahu David to Reb Todros, in which he copies a long letter full of accusations against Todros and his father-in-law. 1892, four interesting letters from Reb Yaakov son of Zeev Farkash, the gabbai of "Maot Eretz Yisrael" in Chust [he was one of the first followers of the "Torat Chaim," upon whose passing, he followed the Divrei Chaim who testified that he was one of the only three real chassidim that he had. The Maharam Shik questioned why he was called a "chassid," if he was in fact a "tzaddik gamur" (completely righteous).] Letters from the Imrei Baruch to the Land of Israel regarding the purchase of kabbalistic works. Drafts of letters to the "Ahavat Yisrael."

Dozens of letters from the home of the "Imrei Baruch," written by his gabbaim Reb Moshe Brumer [trustee of charity funds] and Reb Ephraim Muller, and dozens of letters sent to them. Dozens of letters from Reb Mendel Weltzer, gabbai of the Admor of Otyniya. Dozens of letters from the Admor of Kossov, written by his gabbai, Reb Moshe Sack. Dozens of letters to Reb Moshe ChR"G, kollel trustee in Safed. Dozens of letters from Vizhnitz to Reb Todros. Copy of a letter from Reb Yitzchak Aharon Itinga to the author of Zemach Tzaddik, 1888.

Vivid description of the marriage of Reb Shalom [of Demitsch], son of the Imrei Baruch, to the granddaughter of the author of Ahavat Shalom, and the seven days of festivities. 1892. Dozens of letters regarding Reb Moshe ChR"G and his son-in-law Reb Todros. Letters to the clerks and administrators. Letters from Reb Elazar Kahana Shapira of Jerusalem, trustee of the Osterreich Kollel in Jerusalem, to the Vizhnitz Kollel. Rare certificate from Reb Menachem Mendel of Kopishnitz. 1871. Postcard from Reb Baruch David Kahana, author of Birkat HaAretz, close follower of the author of Divrei Chaim and his son, author of Divrei Yechezkel of Shinova, who followed his directive to move to Safed and establish the Sanz kloiz.

Overall fine condition.

Important Historic Documents