Extremely Rare! Historic letter signed by the Holy Talmidim of the Gaon of Vilna, early settlers of Eretz Yisroel. Jerusalem 1831
Emotional letter from the heads of Kollel Perushim in Jerusalem regarding the mission of the emissary Rabbi Zvi Hirsch son of Rabbi Yehuda.
At the beginning of the letter, they state that the
foundation of the kollel is made up of the disciples of the Holy One, the light of the world, genius and true great Rabbi, Rabbienu Eliyohu Hachasid n.a. from Vilna.
The letter is signed by their actual handwriting.
- The renowned genius Rabbi Yisrael of Shklov, author of the Pe'as Hashulchan "Prince of Eretz Yisrael" "Mara Daraa Kadisha" "Gaon Yisrael" (these are just some of the descriptions the Chasam Sofer praised him with) From amongst the greatest disciples of the Gr"a and served him in his final year of his life. He also edited the commentary of the Gra'a on Shulchan Aruch Yoreh De'a. He served as Maggid in Shklov and immigrated to Israel in 1810 and settled in Tzfas. After the earthquake in the year 1837 he settled in Jerusalem and was Rabbi of the Ashkenazic Yishuv.
- Rabbi Chaim HaCohen Av Beit Din of Pinsk - served as Av Beit Din of Pinsk for nineteen years (1807 -1826) and was admired by misnagdim and chassidim. He endorsed many seforim together with great Rabbis like the sefer "Chayai Adam". In the year 1826 he immigrated to Jerusalem and served as head of Kollel Perushim until he passed away on the 28th of Shvat 1831, just 2 months after he signed this letter.
- Rabbi Nosson Nota B"hachassid - the son of Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Shklov (the great and famous disciple of the Gr"a and first and foremost of the Gra'a students that immigrated to Eretz Yisrael and head of the new Ashkenazi Yishuv in Jerusalem) is called "Rabbi Neta the Great", a great and righteous man from the first settlers Of the settlement, was captured in the Fellakin Rebellion in 1834 in Tzfas and his eyes were gouged out, after they had looted everything he had, he immigrated to Israel in 1809 and died there on the 22nd of Cheshvan 1847 (Toldos Chachmei Yerushalayim 3rd volume p. 224)
- Rabbi Nosson Nota son of Rabbi Saadia - "A righteous and innocent man and a great rabbi and chassid who was privileged to also approach the great Rabbeinu HaGr"a and revised before him Mishnayot orally and then immigrated to Eretz Yisrael and engaged in Torah Lishmo. He was steeped in suffering continuously. He passed away on Friday, Tevet 1849. His father, Rabbi Saadia, was the famous favorite student of the Gra. And he, together with his friend Rabbi Nosson Nota, mentioned above, were called "Netei Ne'emanim" in Jerusalem and worked together many times for the benefit of the Jewish community in Jerusalem.
- Rabbi Aryeh Leib Marcus - known as Rabbi Aryeh Leib Ne'eman since he was faithful treasurer of Kollel Perushim for about fifty years. One of the greatest activists for the benefit of the Yishuv, the son-in-law of Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Shapira (a student of Reb Chaim from Volozhin) originated from Vilna. he was of the first 10 disciples that immigrated, together with R' Menachem Mendel from Shklov and the main endeavor in the construction of the Beit Yaakov synagogue in the churva of Rabbi Yehuda the Chassid. Passed away in 1867. The documents he owned are the main source of information about the history of the settlement of the disciples of the Gr"a and the foundation of Kollel Perushim.
- Rabbi Shlomo Zalman son of Rabbi Wolf Zeev HaCohen - immigrated to Israel with the aliyah of the disciples of the Gr"'a in 1826, travelled as an emissary for Kollel Perushim to Lithuania. He is mentioned in the notebook of Kollel Perushim written by R' Yisroel Mishklov as one of the emissaries who brought the donation money from Lithuania. After the looting in Safed in 1835, he immigrated to Jerusalem and was sent again on a Perushim mission to India, and died in Calcutta in 1847. His son-in-law is the traveler Rabbi Yaakov Halevi Sapir travelled as an emissary of the Perushim (Shluchi Eretz Yisrael p. 770).
- Rabbi Aryeh Leib Leon - one of the leaders of the Ashkenazi community in Safed and Jerusalem and one of the leaders of the Perushim Kollel, signed as a tribunal with Rabbi Chaim Horowitz and is the father of the Leon family in Jerusalem (Toldos Chachmei Yerushalayim, 3rd volume p. 254 and in the 4th volume, p. 71
In 1809, the students of the Gra'a began to immigrate to Eretz Israel. Seventy people immigrated and came to Safed first and then more convoys came, the Gra'a himself began traveling to Eretz Yisrael once in 1762 and a second time in 1781. He unexpectedly returned for a number of unknown and mysterious reasons, however he instructed and directed his disciples to immigrate to The Holy Land.
The Gra'a saw in ruach hakodesh and according to many hints that this would be the "
beginning of redemption" that is, the drawing closer of Mashiach by settling the Holy Land.
They first immigrated to Safed and then settled in Jerusalem and began to establish the Ashkenazi settlement there. But the Satan stood in their way, as the settlement grew and developed so did the hardships and troubles that threatened the existence of the new settlement, they suffered from plagues and serious diseases, attacks, robbery and murder, clashes with the authorities, new taxes regularly, and especially poverty and deprivation.
The first thirty years of the foundation of the Ashkenazi settlement, from the year 1811 to the year 1840, known as the "Era of the disciples of the Gra" are also known as the "
time period of torment".
But the teachings of the Gra'a and the belief in the righteousness of the way gave them a strong faith and great tenacity to face all obstacles.
The Kollel Perushim Committee established by the disciples of the Gra"a worked hard and eagerly to raise funds from abroad so that they could survive and meet the greatest challenge of all - bringing redemption closer.
This letter is a cry of salvation that emanates from the depths of the souls of the students of the Gra, from the first and most important immigrants who gave their lives for the settlement of the Holy Land.
In order to raise funds and save the settlement from extinction, they sent the emissary, Rabbi Zvi Hirsch Bar Yehuda with this letter in his hand, signed in their holy handwriting but even more so, signed with the blood of their hearts.
The Shada"r, R' Tzvi Hirsh Ben R' Yehudah is unknown and is not mentioned in the well known sefer on "shluchei Eretz Yisrael. There is speculation that he is the prominent emissary, Rabbi Hirsh Porush that is mentioned by R' Yisrael from Shklov in the Pinkas Kollel Tzfas.
Jerusalem 1831 page size 24*19 cm. The receipient's name is unaddressed. Good condition.