Auction No. 106

Letters by A. Einstein and Other Illustrious Personalities, Zionism, Jewish Art, letters of Rabbis and Rebbes and Collection of letters to Sir Moses Montefiore from the archive of the late Rabbi Avraham Shisha - London - Buyer's commission 22%

March 6, 2018
Opening $ 1,000
Estimate $ 1,500 - $ 2,000
Sold for $ 2,928
Including buyer's premium

Letter from the rabbis of Tiberias notifying Sir Moses Montefiore that they acceded to his request and held prayers expressing their gratitude for the rescue of the Queen of Britain. With a poem they sang in honor of the queen. Tiberias, [1882].

Specifications: Letter from the rabbis of Tiberias, [1] paper, letterhead of the Kollels of Tiberias, 29x22 cm. Scribal writing, signatures and stamps of the sages and administrators of the Sephardic and Ashkenazic communities in Tiberias. With songs about the rescue of the queen, [1] paper. Letterhead of the Kollels of Tiberias, 29x22 cm. 28x22 cm. Scribal hand, with stamp.

Unique features: The letter is signed by the Ashkenazic and Sephardic rabbis of Tiberias: Rabbi Refael Avraham Kalphon (with his poetic signature: מעט אכ"ל); Rabbi Yosef David Abulafia; Rabbi Shimon Abadi; and Rabbi Avraham Yosef HaLevi, rabbi of the Ashkenazic community in Tiberias.

Background: In [May 1882] a young assassin shot at the queen while she drove by in her coach at St. James's Park. A month later, another assassination attempt was made by a youth named John Bean. Montefiore sent a letter to all Jewish communities asking them to arrange prayers of thanksgiving in the synagogues. In this letter, the Tiberias rabbis inform Montefiore that they acceded to his request and "on Shabbat kodesh, in all the synagogues, with a large congregation, we thanked Hash-m for His goodness, who redeemed her soul from death."

Condition: Fine. Aging stains on the letter, and wear-and-tear on the edges of the leaf, without affecting text.

Sir Moses Montefiore


מספר מעלליך הטובים, צדקת פרזונך מי יוכלל למלל.

ירית חץ התשועה מתת למשיסה יעקב וישראל לבוזזים.

פתח התקוה פתחת, הצלת צאן קדשים מיד גוזזים.

ויקרא שמך "משה" לאמור מהמים הזדונים תמשה אחים.

This poem, printed in Kol Nehi (Vienna, 1865), is one of dozens of poems expressing praise and thanksgiving to Sir Moses Montefiore. He was undoubtedly one of the most admired figures in the Jewish nation - and he rightfully earned this praise. Through his benevolent philanthropy and tireless efforts at the royal courts on behalf of his brethren suffering under the yoke of money-hungry rulers and despots, Montefiore left his mark on 19th century Jewish life in the Land of Israel and the Diaspora.

It is impossible to list all of Montefiore's activities on behalf of the yishuv in the Land of Israel, particularly in Jerusalem, and for all Jewish communities in the Diaspora. Montefiore visited the Land of Israel seven times (he was 90-years-old during his last visit). His money funded the Yemin Moshe, Mazkeret Moshe, and Mishkanot Shananim neighborhoods. (Kiryat Moshe and Zichron Moshe were named in his memory.) He founded a mill to lower the price of bread in Jerusalem and sent a printing press from London, and as such was the founder of the first press in Jerusalem. Every one of his visits involved difficulties and dangers. He put forth much effort to nullify the Damascus blood libel in 1840 and, in 1847, traveled to meet with Czar Nikolai in order to improve conditions for Russian Jewry. In 1859, he traveled to Rome to try to assist when Egardo Levi Mortara was seized by the Catholic church. In 1863, he was involved in efforts on behalf of the Jews of Morocco and in 1867, on behalf of the Jews of Romania.

Following is a collection of historic letters regarding Sir Moses Montefiore.

Letters to Sir Moses Montefiore