Auction No. 113

Famous personalities, Art, Seforim, Letters from Rabbis and Rebbes

Apr 8, 2019

Auction No. 113

Opening $ 2,000
Estimate $ 5,000 - $ 8,000
Sold for $ 2,684
Including buyer's premium

Invaluable treasury of over 100 documents, certificates, receipts, 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 Vizhnitz, with the regions of each administered by Kollel Österreich. This led to disputes regarding who was in charge of which region - because 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 (son-in-law of R' Gershon) 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 an "open letter" published in 1876 by the Land of Israel representatives who traveled to Lemberg - R' 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 author of 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 controversy 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 and many matters regarding the distribution of land and monies, and other issues that shed light on this period, considered the golden age of spirituality-Chassidut in the Galilee, are highlighted in this rich collection. There are dozens of letters - including letters from tzaddikim - certificates, special receipts, lists, both internally within Safed and updates from elsewhere. Includes lists of donors to the different kollels, and signatures of the recipients. A rich treasury for researchers of Safed and Tiberias in particular, and scholars of the period in general.


* Series of letters from the heads of the kollel to the Admor with respect to the scandal in the Vizhnitz and the Kossov kollel "After bowing and prostrating in holy splendor ... MHDR"K shlit"a ... an enemy of the Jews, Aryeh Brecher, will certainly send letters of hate to the holy court ..."

There is another document referring to him: an arbitration decision between him and the Admor Rabbi Chaim Hager of Antonia signed by Rabbi David Frankel, Av Beit Din of Nepalakwicz.

* Letters on the topic from the gaon the holy Rabbi Yitzchak of Radowitz.

* Colorful receipt in scribal script to the donors abroad who gave substantial sums, with the first signatory being Rabbi David Yehudah Auerbach, grandson of the author of Toldot Yaakov Yosef and grandfather of the gaon Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Auerbach (Afterwards, when he could no longer tolerate the poverty in Safed, he moved overseas where he served as an Admor).

* Letter from the gaon Rabbi Shalom Gutman, Av Beit Din of Iaşi, author of Beit Yisrael. Grandson of the 'Dege"l' Machaneh Ephraim, the Ba'al Shem Tov, Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berdichev and Rabbi Nachum of Chernobyl, in which he details who of the righteous men of Safed and Tiberias will receive the monies he sent.

* Handwritten notice, signed, with a sharp protest against the "saboteurs in the vineyard of the Jewish people." Blurred rabbinical signature.

* Letter from Rabbi Naftali Hertz Itinga son of Rabbi Yitzchak Aharon Itinga, Av Beit Din of Lvov, who served as the Nasi Eretz Yisrael in Galicia.

And many other important historic documents. Refer to the Hebrew text on Winners' website for a detailed list.

Historic Documents and Miscellaneous