Lot 84:

Letter handwritten and signed by Rabbeinu the Ohev Yisroel of Opatow – Mezhibuzh, Elul, 1819

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Letter handwritten and signed by Rabbeinu the Ohev Yisroel of Opatow – Mezhibuzh, Elul, 1819

Letter by the holy Gaon Rabbeinu Avraham Yehoshua Heschil of Opatow to his friend the famed Gaon rabbi Ephraim Zalman of Brod, the author of the Beis Ephraim – a firm request to support the printers of Slavuta and prevent trespassing of the printer of Poritzk.
The letter contains warm blessings for the New Year: “יכתבהו ויחתמהו לחיים טובים בספר… מעתה רק חיים ושלו’ מאדון העולם, ועל טוב יזכר שמו לפניו בימים הקדושים והנוראים הבעל”ט לפקדהו בדבר ישועה ורחמים… ימלא ה’ משאלותיו לטובה ויחדש עליו ועל ביתו שנה טובה ומתוקה”
The date “20th of Elul 1819” appears at the beginning of the letter and his holy signature, at its end: :
“הק’ אברהם יהושע העשיל מאפטא פ”ק מעזבוז יצ”ו“.
19 lines handwritten by him.
The letter by the author of the Ohev Yisroel is extremely rare! From his book of letters, Igrot HaOhev Yisroel (Jerusalem, 2000), we know of the existence of 56 letters (except for his approbations). Of them, 48 letters were published and of them, we know of the existence of only 12 letters that survived to this day. Most of them are in private hands. About 3 of them (at least), we clearly know that only the signature was handwritten by him and the rest was written by a scribe. Hence, only a few letters by him that still exist today were handwritten entirely by him.
Background of the letter
The famed printer the holy Rav Rabbi Moshe Shapiro Av Beis Din of Slavuta printed three editions of the Shas in the famed printery he had established. The first was printed during the years 1801-1806, the second during the years 1808-1813 and the third during the years 1817-1822. Every edition was a revised one, with important additions and the entire Gedolei Hador extolled it virtues, both the quality of the printing and proofreading and the sanctity of the printers and the printery. The first edition included approbations by leading Admorim and rabbis stating that they forbid to reprint the Shas for twenty five years. That is, it was forbidden to reprint the Shas until 1825-1826. Over the years, some competing printers wanted to print the Shas before the twenty five years were over (such as the printer Rabbi Yisroel Yaffe of Kopust). There were rabbis who, under certain conditions, allowed the competitors to print the Shas; yet many continued to forbid its printing until the twenty five years were over. Among them was the famed Gaon Rabbi Ephraim Zalman Margolis of Brody, the author of Beis Ephraim. In 1819, the holy Rav of Opatow heard that a printer from Paritzk wanted to print a new edition of the Shas although the twenty five years had not yet passed and that the Gaon Rabbi Ephraim Zalman Margolis gave the printer his consent (possibly, this was just a rumor). This is what the led the holy Rav of Opatow to write this letter, asking his friend the Gaon Rabbi Ephraim Zalman Margolis to continue to support the Slavuta printers and not be tempted to spare the printer of Paritzk. On the contrary, he should set the printer straight and prevent him from trespassing on the property of the Slavuta printers. Indeed, we do not know of a Shas that was printed in Paritzk. (It should be noted that this affair has nothing to do with the famed dispute of the 1830s with the Vilna printers. In those years, the holy Rav of Opatow was no longer alive).
The blessings of the holy Rav the Ohev Yisroel of Opatow
The holy Rav of Opatow’s in-law, the holy Rav author of Be’er Mayim Chaim, wrote at the end of his book Sha’ar Hatfilah about the great virtue of the holy Rav of Opatow’s blessings: הצדיקים כשחפצים להתפלל על החולה או שאר צרה שלא תבוא, תיכף מענה בפיהם שנים או שלשה תיבות שיש בהם יחוד שמו בפירוש או ברמז… ומתפללים בזה על הצרה, ונענים. כאשר
שמעתי מפה קדוש מדבר ממחותני הרב הגדול והקדוש בוצינא דנהורא רבא עילאה ויקירא אור מכוסה ומופלא מוהר”ר אברהם יהושע העשיל נר”ו האב”ד דק”ק אפטא, שדרכו לומר תיכף להמבקש ממנו דבר: ‘רבון העולמים עזור לזה על הדבר הזה שמבקש’, או רפואה או שאר בקשה. וכשעמדתי קצת על סוף דעתו בזה הבנתי שמכוין במילת ‘רבון’ שהוא חושבן ארבעה מילואי הוי”ה… והעם עומדים עליו מימינו ומשמאלו אינם מבינים מה שהוא מדבר ואומר, וסוברים שמדבר כפי דעתם ושכלם. ומי יעמוד על דעת הצדיקים ההולכים לפני ה’ והשכל לבותם, ותמיד לבם בוער כאש אוכלת לעשות נחת רוח לבורא יחיד ומיוחד ביחוד שמו הגדול והקדוש”.
In this letter there are much more than “two or three words of blessing – which contain Yichud Shemo”. In fact, there are over thirty words of blessing that were written with Divine Yichudim.
This letter was printed for the first time in the book Shalshelet Hayochasin (Lemberg, 1908. Later it was printed in the book Igrot HaOhev Yisroel (Jerusalem, 2000) and in additional books.
Very good condition. Handwritten entirely by him. Well-preserved. Elegant, impressive leather binding.
The holy Gaon Rabbi Avraham Yehoshua Heschil, the author of the Ohev Yisroel (1748-1825) was one of the greatest Chassidic rabbis, a leading disciple of the holy Rav Rabbi Elimelech of Lizhensk. Served as Rav of several important cities including Opatow and Mezhibuzh. In the last decade of his life he was the eldest Admor of his generation. Was known as a awe-inspiring wonder-worker. Many years after his passing, his Divrei Toragh were printed in his holy books of Torat Emet (Lemberg, 1854) and in his famed book Ohev Yisroel (Zhytomyr, 1863). His grandson the publisher, the holy Rav Rabbi Meshulam Sussia of Djinkoz, explained in his foreword that the book was titled so due to his grandfather’s great love of Yisroel, adding that he had asked that in his tombstone words of praise should not be written except for ‘Ohev Yisroel’. Rabbi Yosef Shaul Nathanson, the author of Shoel UMeshiv, wrote in his approbation (of the Lvov edition): “…היה אוהב בכל לבו ונפשו כל ישראל, ובפרט להתלמידי חכמים היה מקרבם בכל עוז. ואבותינו ספרו לנו בעת שהיה כאן [לבוב] היו הכל כל גדולי ישראל שבעירינו, והיו משכימים ובאים אצלו, וראו נפלאות מתורתו…”.
The relationship between the holy Rav of Opatow and the holy Gaon Rabbi Ephraim Zalman Margolis 
Rabbeinu the Ohev Yisroel and the Gaon Rabbi Ephraim Zalman Margolis had a relationship of friendship, appreciation and mutual reverence. One of the Gaon Rabbi Ephraim Zalman Margolis’ responses was addressed to Rabbeinu, and this is what he wrote at its beginning: “איש אלוקים קדוש, נאדר בקודש, על ישראל הדרתו, אשרי יולדתו והורתו, ה”ה כבוד אהובי שארי ופארי, הרב הגאון הגדול החריף ובקי, מופת הדור החסיד ועניו, חכמתו תאיר פניו, נודע למשגב בכל קצוי ארץ, כש”ת מוהר”ר אברהם יהושע העשיל נרו יאיר” (Shut Beit Ephraim, Even HaEzer, Tanina, Siman 14, published by Mossad Harav Kook). In another responsum, he wrote: “כאשר אכתוב אי”ה לשארי הגאון חסידא קדישא שי'” (Ibid. Siman 13). The expression “שארי” (my relative) used by the Gaon Rabbi Ephraim Zalman Margolis indicates that they also had family ties.
In 1820, when the brothers Rabbi Chaim Mordechai Margolis Av Beis Din of Dubno and his brother Rabbi Ephraim Zalman Margolis of Brody published the Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim with the commentaries Sha’arei Teshuvah and Yad Ephraim, they asked for approbations from some leading Chassidic rabbis, headed by Rabbeinu the Ohev Yisroel. In his approbation, he wrote of the Gaon Rabbi Ephraim Zalman Margolis with reverence: “הארי שבחבורה ה”ה כבוד ש”ב ידידי הרב הגאון הגדול, פלפלא חריפתא, צנא מלא ספרא, המפורסם בכל קצוי ארץ כש”ת מוהר”ר אפרים זלמן נ”י מרגליות מבראד, שכבר יצא אור לו בחיבוריו”.

Measurement: 20 x 25.5 CM

Measurement: 20 x 25.5 CM