Auction 65 Judaica - Books, Manuscripts, Rabbinical Letters, Ceremonial Art
Tuesday, 12.3.19 (Your local time)
 8 Ramban St, Jerusalem.
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LOT 220:

Letter from Chief Rabbi Yaakov Yosef - Regarding Eretz Israel Fundraising in the USA - 1894

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Sold for: $1,300
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$ 1,000
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Letter signed by R. "Yaakov Yosef - HaRav HaKolel". Point Pleasant (Mason County, West Virginia), Av 1894. Letter sent to Jerusalem, to the heads of the Vaad HaKlali and R. Shmuel Salant, recommending the appointment of R. Shlomo Yosef Eliach of Jerusalem as emissary, chief administrator and supervisor in the United States of the collection of funds for Eretz Israel. The lengthy letter (3 pages) was written by a scribe, with the handwritten signature of R. Yaakov Yosef. The letter describes the necessity to improve the state of the Vaad HaKlali fundraising - "particularly in this time, when many adversaries arise against it, and now that the Sephardi emissaries exploit every opportunity to harm the Vaad HaKlali, apart from the fact that even in times of peace such a person is needed here in New York and the surroundings, since the charity collectors here are so preoccupied with local matters, they are unable to properly oversee the Rabbi Meir Baal HaNes funds…". He commends R. Shlomo Yosef Eliach, as "talented for this position… since he is a man of action who is absolutely faithful, apart from his honorable reputation, and all our leading brethren here will draw him close and revere him. It is necessary for you to grant him the power and authority from your part so that he may have the ability to reform many things here…". The illustrious R. Yaakov Yosef (1841-1902), a leading Lithuanian Torah scholar, appointed in his later years as Chief Rabbi in NY (the first and last rabbi to serve as chief rabbi of New York and the United States). A prominent disciple of R. Yisrael of Salant, due to his exceptional Torah genius he was dubbed R. Yakli Charif (the sharp). He served in the rabbinates of Velon (Veliuona), Yurburg (Jurbarkas) and Žagarė (New). In the summer of 1883, he was appointed orator and head posek of Vilna. His sermons, which incorporated the mussar of his teacher R. Yisrael Salant, were widely acclaimed and many thronged to hear him speak. L'Beit Yaakov, his book of homilies, was printed in his lifetime in several editions. In 1888, he was appointed chief rabbi of New York by the Agudat HaKehillot who sought an illustrious personage to bolster Torah observance in the US. Upon his arrival in the United States, R. Yaakov Yosef established and consolidated all religious requirements of the Jewish community: Kashrut and Shechita, Batei Din and rabbinates, Torah education and the founding of the first yeshiva in the United States. He fell ill following fierce struggles with owners of meat plants who did not look favorably upon his activities in the area of Kashrut. He died in 1902 and was greatly honored by tens of thousands of Jews attending his funeral, the largest Jewish funeral to take place in the USA of those times. His gravesite in the Union Field Cemetery, NY, is until this day a prayer site, with thousands of Jews from all sects of Orthodox Judaism in America visiting his grave on the anniversary of his passing. Many stories circulate of salvations attained after praying at his gravesite, whether for health, livelihood or finding a spouse (R. Yoel Teitelbaum of Satmar encouraged people to pray at R. Yaakov Yosef's gravesite and he would customarily recount of people who merited a salvation after visiting this holy site). Many biographic articles and compositions were written about R. Yaakov Yosef, the most renowned work being the English book (translated from Yiddish) "The Rav HaKolel and his Generation". [3] pages, 18 cm. Fair condition. Dampstains. Ink on first page faded and difficult to decipher.

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