Auction 11 Rare and Unique Items
Jan 5, 2017 (Your local time)

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LOT 119:

Missive Handwritten by Rabbi Eliyahu Mujajon, the Disciple of Nathan of Gaza and later the Rabbi of Bayonne, France ...

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Sold for: $1,600
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$ 800
Estimated price:
$5,000 - $8,000
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Missive Handwritten by Rabbi Eliyahu Mujajon, the Disciple of Nathan of Gaza and later the Rabbi of Bayonne, France and Ancona, Italy - Bayonne, circa 1689 - Extremely Rare
A special, rare item, both regarding the writer's personality - the disciple of Nathan of Gaza and the distributor of the Sabbatean faith, and regarding its well-preserved condition, especially in relation to its early date - France, 1689. Such an item has never been seen in auctions!

A missive handwritten and signed by Rabbi Eliyahu Mujajon, the rabbi of Ancona, sent to his friend, Rabbi Shmuel Papo, the rabbi of Ragusa. Date: the fourth of Nissan.
Rabbi Eliyahu begins the missive with praise for Rabbi Papo. Then he tells him about the engagement of his sister to Rabbi Yitzchak Navarro. Then he expresses his sorrow for living in a place with no Torah and the spiritual condition of the community being so bad: "my sins have brought me here to this bad city, where there isn't even a book to learn and even if there were books, the bad atmosphere of the city would have taken my strength…"
At the end of the missive he sends his regards to Rabbi Papo's friends and relatives.

The missive is written on one page in Spanish in Hebrew letters. Some parts are in Hebrew. After the signature, there are two more lines. On the parallel page, the addressee's name and address were written in Latin - all in Rabbi Eliyahu's handwriting.

The content of the missive indicates that it was written when he arrived in Bayonne, France, where he served as a rabbi since 1689. Before then and afterwards, he lived in Ancona, where there were many Torah scholars and rabbis.

The impact of the Sabbatean Movement
Nathan of Gaze, the disciple of Shabtai Zvi, found Salonika as the worthiest place for spreading his faith since many rabbis lived there.
Shabtai Zvi, a charismatic, knowledgeable man, appeared after the riots of 1648-1649, when hundreds of Jews died as martyrs and succeeded in convincing many Jews that he was the true Messiah and that the Jewish nation was about to be redeemed. Rabbis, Torah scholar, kabbalists and many others believed Shabtai Zvi and his "prophet" Nathan of Gaza, Rabbi Eliyahu Mujajon being one of them.

Nathan of Gaza arrived in Salonika in 1675 and gathered around him a group of ten Torah scholars (an imitation of the group of disciples of the Ari). Together they sat in the Beit Midrash and to them he would reveal all his secrets.
In a notebook handwritten by Rabbi Avraham Rovigo there is a detailed list of the Nathan's disciples - a list Rabbi Rovigo had received from Rabbi Eliyahu Mujajon, who was one of Nathan's disciples.
The most well-known of Nathan of Gaza's disciples were Rabbi Shlomo Ayllon (the future Av Beit Din of Amsterdam) and Rabbi Eliyahu Mujajon and they were the ones who distributed the Sabbatean faith in Italy.
Rabbi Eliyahu's disciples, Rabbi Avraham Rovigo and Rabbi Binyamin Ha'Cohen, wrote down his words in their notebooks. Rabbi Chaim Sagari copied in his notebook a large composition of commentary on the Zohar which Rabbi Binyamin Ha'Cohen had heard from his rabbi, Rabbi Eliyahu Mujajon. Researcher have also found a Sabbatean calendar handwritten by Rabbi Eliyahu Mujajon and manuscripts of his disciples with commentary on the Zohar and customs they had heard from him. The National Library has several manuscripts of Nathan's writing, handwritten by Rabbi Eliyahu.

Rabbi Eliyahu Mujajon's life
Rabbi Eliyahu's connection to the Sabbatean movement was indicated by the notebooks of his disciples, Rabbi Binyamin Ha'Cohen and Rabbi Avraham Rovigo. However, we know only little of his life. What we know about him is from the time he was a rabbi in Ancona.
Rabi Mujajon's family was originally from Greece. He was born in Ancona in 1663 to his father Rabbi Moshe ben Rabbi Matzliach, the rabbi of Surrey, who was a prominent rabbi and many of the Jews of Surrey used to visit his grave.
As a child, Rabbi Eliyahu studied Torah in Salonika. There he joined the group of Nathan of Gaza.
After several years of study in Salonika, he returned to Ancona and was joined by Rabbi Binyamin and Rabbi Avraham. Even since he came to Italy, he distributed the Sabbatean faith. He taught his closest disciples from unpublished writings, which were delivered secretly to the Natahn's group of disciples.
In 1689, he left for France and became the rabbi of Bayonne. Although he was dissatisfied with the spiritual condition of the community, he remained there until 1697 and then returned to Ancona. He was accepted as a teacher of Jewish law in the town. From this period we know nothing about his Sabbatean beliefs. On the contrary, he fought against the Nechemya Chiya Chayun, the Sabbatean, who arrived in Ancona in 1710 and did strange things.
He studied at a yeshiva in Ancona and in 1716 was ordained as a rabbi by Rabbi Yosef Peimita, Rabbi Avraham Costantini and Rabbi Shimshon Morforago.
In a Ketubah (at the National Library, Jerusalem) from Ancona 1723, Rabbi Eliyahuis a signatory together with Rabbi Shimshon Morforago. He served as a rabbi until his death in 1740. The members of the Ancona community used to visit his grave and even wrote a special prayer to be said beside it.
(Sources: The Sabbatean Movement in Greece, Meir Benayahu; Messiah Claimants and their Opposers, Hamburger).

Folded leaf written on one page. 20x15 cm.
Condition: Good. Thick, bright leaf. A stain at its center. The margins are slightly worn. On the parallel page, two halves of a tiny wax stamp - 7 mm. in diameter. The wax stamp has survived for more than 300 years!

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