Special Chabad auction in honor of the yahrzeit of Rebbe Menachem Mendel Schneersohn on the 3rd of Tamuz and in honor of the Chag HaGeulah on the 12th-13th of Tamuz of Rebbe Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn - the Rayatz of Lubavitch
This auction features letters and rare items of Chabad Rebbes and of their wives, the rebbetzins.
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Letter of Blessing and Guidance from Rebbe Rayatz of Lubavitch – Otwosk, 1939 – Addressed to R. Azriel Zelig Slonim ...
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Letter of Blessing and Guidance from Rebbe Rayatz of Lubavitch – Otwosk, 1939 – Addressed to R. Azriel Zelig Slonim, For His Upcoming Trip to Australia – Commentary Heard from His Father the Rashab About the Baal HaTanya's Concluding Words in His Letters – "You Know How Much the Concerns of Our Fellow Chassidim Mean to Me and I Seek Their True Good"
Letter signed by Rebbe Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn – the Rayatz of Lubavitch. Otwosk (Otwock), 17th Tevet 1939.
Typewritten on the official stationery of Rebbe Rayatz, with his signature "Yosef Yitzchak" and the addition of several words in his handwriting.
Addressed to his relative R. Azriel Zelig Slonim – "My relative, my respected friend… of holy lineage and noble character", on the occasion of his trip in 1939 on behalf of the Rayatz to Australia and New Zealand (this was R. Azriel Zelig's last major trip, at the end of which he returned to Eretz Israel in 1940, during WWII. In an accompanying letter from the secretary of the Rayatz, R. Yechezkel Feigin, the present letter is defined as "internal". Migdal Oz, p. 29).
At the beginning of the letter, the Rayatz writes: "I enjoyed hearing about the Yat (19th) Kislev celebrations, and may the merit of the subject of the rejoicing protect all those who study and apply, who follow his ways and observe his days of rejoicing"; and asks R. Azriel Zelig, who would shortly be travelling to Australia, to inform him of the state and standing of Chabad Chassidim there: "And every place he reaches successfully, he should investigate and seek out, and if he finds some of our friends, our fellow Chassidim, or descendants of Chassidim… he should inquire as to their standing and spiritual state, and arouse them to straighten their Torah observance… setting times for Torah study and studying Dach… and you know how much the concerns of our fellow chassidim and descendants of Chassidim mean to me, and I seek their true good".
Further in the letter, the Rayatz relates of a conversation he held in summer 1896 with his father the Rashab about the Baal HaTanya's way of signing letters, as the latter would sometimes conclude "[he] who seeks your good" and sometimes "[he] who seeks your true good": "And my father [Rashab] explained… that one's good refers to his private good… while his true good refers to all future generations"; and continues by quoting another explanation he heard from his father the Rashab while they were travelling in the winter 1917 from Rostov to Moscow – that one's "good" means the good one does for a Jew in material matters, while "true good" means the good one does for a Jew in spiritual matters. The Rayatz concludes his letter with a blessing: "May G-d strengthen your health and the health of your family members, and give you livelihood in abundance and serenity in material and spiritual matters".
At the end of the letter, the Rayatz added in his own handwriting the words "in material and spiritual matters".
R. Azriel Zelig Slonim (1897-1971), a leading Chabad activist, member of Agudas Chassidei Chabad and director of Kollel Chabad. He was the founder of Irgun N'shei UBnos Chabad and the Beit Chanah institution, and helped establish Shikun Chabad in Jerusalem.
R. Azriel Zelig Slonim was born in Hebron to R. Ze'ev Dov, grandson of Rebbetzin Menuchah Rachel Slonim, daughter of the Mitteler Rebbe of Lubavitch. He was orphaned at a young age of his father, and at the age of 15, in 1913, he travelled to study in the Tomchei Temimim yeshiva in Lubavitch. R. Azriel Zelig was a household member of Rebbe Rashab, and ate at his table on Shabbat and festivals. In 1918, following the civil war, he went to study in the Kherson branch of Tomchei Temimim, in Ukraine. In Kherson, he drew close to the renowned Chassid Reb Itche der Masmid and with his encouragement, began going round the Jewish colonies in the Kherson district, giving classes on Chassidut. Amongst others, he was active in the Nahar Tov colony (Nagartav, Bereznegovatoye County), R. Itche's town. He would travel from time to time for the festivals to the Rashab in Rostov, and after the latter's passing, he continued travelling to his son and successor, the Rayatz. After Pesach 1922, he returned to Eretz Israel and settled in Jerusalem. He was appointed mashpia in the Tzemach Tzedek synagogue in the Old City, and married Mrs. Chaya Feigel (daughter of his sister Sheinah Mushka and her husband R. Moshe Shlomo Kahana Shapira, descendant of the Megaleh Amukot). In 1924, with the encouragement and instructions of the Rayatz, he began serving as emissary and travelled throughout the world. During this mission, he raised funds, disseminated Judaism and Chassidut, and worked in outreach. He reached the most far-flung communities, and worked on establishing Mikvaot, appointing rabbis and shochetim and setting up classes on Torah and Chassidut. In 1924, he took part in founding Agudas Chassidei Chabad in America and Canada. At the end of one of his missions, the Rayatz commented: "Zelig is capable of making things happen". Upon concluding his mission in Australia in 1940, R. Azriel Zelig returned to Jerusalem and devoted himself to Chabad communities in Eretz Israel. He was the trustee of Chabad property in Eretz Israel, and maintained continuous correspondence with Rebbetzin Shterna Sarah wife of the Rashab and Rebbetzin Nechama Dina wife of the Rayatz. He passed away on Chol HaMoed Sukkot and was buried on Har HaMenuchot in Jerusalem. Many of his descendants serve as Chabad Shlichim and rabbis in communities throughout the world.
The letter was published in Igrot Kodesh of the Rayatz (vol. IV, letter 1084), based on a picture of the present letter appearing in the book Migdal Oz (p. 29).
 leaf, official stationery. 29 cm. Good-fair condition. Filing holes. Folding marks and creases. Tears to margins and folding marks (slightly affecting text), repaired in part with tape on verso. Stains and minor wear.