Winner's Auctions No. 111

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

December 11, 2018
Opening $200
Estimate $400 - $500
Sold for $476
Including buyer's premium

Long letter signed by Rabbi David Bahara"n (son of Rabbi Nachum) Loewy, and a letter with an answer by Rabbi Eliyahu Nachum Porush Glickman.

A controversy and polemic was started in Jerusalem during the 1901, when Rabbi Binyamin Cohen accused "Gemilut Chesed Shaarei Chesed" (the first gema"ch in Jerusalem) of fining those behind in making house payments, a transgression of the Torah prohibition against taking interest. The Gemach Shaarei Chesed was a very important institution in Jerusalem, then headed by Rabbi Yosef Chaim Sonnenfeld, and the protest that came out against him caused a storm, since the practice of collecting fines began during his leadership.

Rabbi David Baharan, one of Jerusalem's righteous leaders, put the matter in writing. Before us are the two large typewritten pages in which he refers the halachic question to prominent rabbis, while apparently favoring prohibition. Due to the question's weightiness, Rabbi David signed his name on each page.

Conversely, Rabbi Eliyahu Nachum Porush Glickman (mashiach of Etz Chaim and one of the greatest activists in Jerusalem), son of Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Porush, founder of Gemilut Chesed Shaarei Chesed, countered the appellants. In his letter to Rabbi David Bahara"n, he begins by saying that the gemach's president was Rabbi Yosef Chaim Sonnenfeld, who was actively involved in management, and the chief signatory on the book of regulations that the appellants were presently challenging with charges of suspected interest. In his remarks, he hints in a dignified manner that Rabbi David Bahara"n may have been dragged into the matter by someone else, and adds that the controversy harms Rabbi Yosef Chaim Sonnenfeld as well as other gaonim and tzaddikim such as Rabbi Avraham Aharon HaLevi Prague, Rabbi Zerach Epstein, among others. In a very long letter he reaches the conclusion that the regulation does not transgress the prohibition of taking interest whatsoever.

This polemic was also shared by the Gaon of Teplik, Rabbi Shimshon Aharon Polanski, and Rabbi Tzvi Pesach Frank, who sided with the prohibition. See also Har Tzvi Rishmei She'elah, Yoreh De'ah, page 97.

2 folio leaves, Rabbi David Bahara"n's letter

5 leaves, Rabbi Eliyahu Nachum Porush's letter

Fine condition. 15x20 cm.

Letters from Ashkenazic Rabbis