Winner's Auctions No. 111

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

December 11, 2018
Opening $80,000
Estimate $200,000 - $300,000
Sold for $193,492
Including buyer's premium

Two volumes with three to four different kabbalistic compositions written by Rabbi Yehudah Leib Ashlag - "Baal HaSulam." Each of these works contains a wealth of kabbalistic material which sheds new light on the author of Sulam's kabbalistic doctrine, and constitute, for the first time, a source to understand his thought sevenfold, in deeper and more significant ways. On most of the pages, the writing is extremely compressed and heavily laden, so that on many pages there are actually three or even four separate columns. The examination that was conducted is only preliminary, and there is undoubtedly the need for much more thorough research, to decipher and extract the scope and depth of the content of the treasure in these compositions, and the manner in which it casts light on the kabbalistic teachings of the Baal HaSulam.

General Background:

Rabbi Yehudah Leib Ashlag was born in Likova, Poland in 1884. He immigrated to the Land of Israel in 1922, and passed away in Tel Aviv in 1954. Over the course of dozens of years, he wrote and taught kabbalah in an almost unprecedented manner. The scope and depth of his work made him one of the greatest kabbalists, and one of the most prominent of recent generations. He was the first who made the Zohar accessible to a broad range of scholars, due to his monumental work, Peirush HaSulam (by which he is known). But beyond this, he was the first in recent generations who formulated a comprehensive kabbalistic methodology which made kabbalistic teachings intelligible and even practical among very wide audiences. He saw this as his mission and his purpose; he expressed several times that this was his Heavenly-designated role and mission in the last generation before the redemption, to the extent that he was open about his doctrine as the most real and true step towards the complete redemption.

Indeed, in recent decades, his kabbalistic thought has spread amongst very broad audiences across the world. More and more people, on almost all corners of the earth, find a source of living water in his thought, to quench their soul's thirst with the lofty ideas, to make his Torah into a living Torah by whose light they walk and from whose waters they frequently drink. This is evident from the communities and classes, the groups and the many, many internet sites which deal with and impart his thought in various ways. This fascinating phenomenon undoubtedly places Rabbi Ashlag as one of the most fascinating and influential Jewish thinkers of recent generations, one who has had an effect dramatically beyond his activity limited to the chareidi-traditional public.

Volume 1: Notebook titled: Divrei Chochmah.

Composition containing kabbalistic ideas and essays, with some of them explained in Rabbi Ashlag's compositions Talmud Eser Sefirot, Panim Meirot - Panim Masbirot and more. Yet the essays appearing in this work are far more detailed than as they appear in other works. There are even a number of ideas resolved in this work, in a completely different way than they were explained in his other works. This is aside from the completely new material in the Baal HaSulam's doctrine. Following are a number (partial) examples of this:

Topics elucidated in Rabbi Ashlag's kabbalistic thought, titled "Halbashat Elyon LaTachton" (p. 2-3), the essay "Neshikin D'Hevel Dibur" (p. 7) "G' Eiruvin" (p. 8. Extensive elucidation of this topic, such as does not appear anywhere else in his doctrine). "Matzav HaPartzufin V'Shiur Komah" (p. 17) "Maamar HaSigin" (p. 20. Extensive elucidation of this topic such as appears nowhere else in his doctrine). There is also a comprehensive essay in this work about the harmonious relationship that exists between a person's body and the various spiritual layers nesting within him, starting from the layer of the soul, up to the higher layers of chayah yechidah. To the best of our knowledge, this essay, in this format, has no peer in Rabbi Ashlag's kabbalistic doctrine.

What makes this work even more amazing and fascinating is the letter that appears at its conclusion, addressed to his bother, Rabbi Shmuel Ashlag, who lived in Warsaw ("my brother in body and my disciple in soul"). This letter reveals the exceptional connection between Rabbi Ashlag and his brother Rabbi Shmuel for the first time. Until now, the character of the relationship between the two was almost completely unknown, only about two letters between them were published (in Pri Chacham), which contain very meager material. However, in this letter we are exposed to a very deep connection. Beyond that, we are even made aware of the reason why Rabbi Ashlag did not see fit to keep continuously in contact with his brother in Warsaw, as Rabb Ashlag writes to him:

"And now you will see the truth, why I withhold my hand from writing to you from the day we separated to this day, not [writing] even the smallest of small words, to teach you the path upon which to walk, because you need a connection, and a person cannot be placed under the wings of the Divine Presence via letters and mailings, because it is necessary to connect in truth to the mind and internalness of his rabbi in order to merit returning with the ה of הבראם... (spiritual perfection)."

These words by Rabbi Ashlag are connected to the broad context of the entire letter, that a person experiences a number of births and pregnancies in his life, and the meaning of spiritual fatherhood and brotherhood that exists between people. It can be surmised that this complete work was sent to his brother Rabbi Shmuel in its entirety, with the intent by his brother Rabbi Ashlag being to instruct him and place him in the in the beam of the light of the foundations of his kabbalistic doctrine and the ideas in general. Without a doubt, this is an essay and material regarding the importance and significance of which it is impossible to overstate, both from the aspect of the pure thought of Rabbi Ashlag's doctrine and from the personal-biographical aspect, about his life and the relationship with his family (who had remained in Poland after Rabbi Ashlag's immigration to the Land of Israel at the beginning of the 1920s).

Rabbi Ashlag's brother, Rabbi Shmuel, was killed in the Holocaust, apparently in Treblinka, with his wife and their eight children. This fact gives the material before an us even more chilling significance.

Volume II - 2-3 different completely unknown kabbalistic compositions:

This volume contains a long series of essays, some completely unknown in the Baal HaSulam's doctrine. From the little we were able to extract from the vast material before us in this volume, we will specify some notable examples:

In this work there is an essay not anything less than revolutionary in Rabbi Ashlag's doctrine. This essay details no less than 22 aspects of upper netzach, hod, yesod. Yet in Rabbi Ashlag's doctrine, in its various branches, only three aspects are known.

There are also some very surprising elucidations in this work, about terms that appear in other places in his doctrine, but abbreviated, which were never understood nor deciphered, yet in the works before us, they are actually deciphered and elucidated for the first time! The most notable example of this is the essay discussing 'האומ"ץ'. These are most enigmatic abbreviations; over many long years, anyone who approached the Baal HaSulam's doctrine found very difficult to decipher, such that for the first time, in the merit of these essays, it is possible to merit approaching the secrets of these matters and their inner meanings.

Other topics resolved in these works are: 'סתימא דאכימן,' an essay on 'מקוה"נ' (two full pages in this context). This is aside from a series of essays dealing with topics connected to the Zohar on the portion of Bereishit, and in a way, very briefly resolved in the composition Peirush HaSulam on the portion of Bereishit.

Furthermore, in these essays, there is a lot of material connected to "Shaar HaKavanot" in Etz Chaim. Here, we are exposed to another wondrous riddle. From what we know, Rabbi Ashlag was hardly known for "Shaar HaKavanot" (his book Beit Shaar HaKavanot, relates partially, and actually for the first time, to the intentions of prayer, but no more than that). And indeed, there are testimonies from various sources that Rabbi Ashlag spoke explicitly about his having written about "Shaar HaKavanot" as well, but he chose to suppress it. It is very possible this is a truly sensational discovery in Rabbi Ashlag's doctrine, in that for the first time comprehensive material has been revealed dealing with topics in this "Shaar."

In this volume there area also two somewhat comprehensive articles connected to the foundations of Rabbi Ashlag's kabbalistic-philosophic doctrine, on the topic 'the will to receive - the will to influence.' There is no more basic nor fundamental subject in comprehending his conceptual outlook. The formulations appearing in these essays are different in content from the way in which they appear in various places across Rabbi Aslag's broad doctrine. Some of the essays, such as "Man is the Center of Creation" and more, appear in the Baal HaSulam's work, "Introduction to the Zohar," also not without significant differences. This is aside from additional essays entirely undocumented anywhere else, such as "The Secret of Prophecy" and more.

In conclusion: There is no doubt that these works may become a stunning turning point in the understanding of Rabbi Ashlag's doctrine and kabbalistic ideas, joyous news for all who seek Rabbi Ashlag's doctrine and thought. All that is mentioned above is nothing more than a brief survey, merely a preliminary glimpse of what is stored in the vast material before us. Very thorough research is certainly required to plumb the depths of the wealth of essays and ideas in these works, to bring maximal revelation and decoding of the conceptual wealth stored in them.

It is important to note and emphasize that acquisition of these writings will grant full and exclusive rights to arrange and publish these works, and to thereby provide the tens of thousands of disciples of Rabbi Ashlag's thought with rare and wondrous philosophical achievement.

Number of leaves: 118. Condition of leaves: Very fine (except for a few leaves which were slightly repaired). The leaves are bound in two magnificent leather bindings.

Kabbalistic Manuscripts