Auction 65 Judaica - Books, Manuscripts, Rabbinical Letters, Ceremonial Art
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LOT 230:

Interesting Letter Handwritten and Signed by the Aruch LaNer - Regarding the Pale of Settlement in Russia and ...

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Interesting Letter Handwritten and Signed by the Aruch LaNer - Regarding the Pale of Settlement in Russia and Against the "Wicked Reformers" of Frankfurt - Altona, 1843
An interesting familial letter, handwritten and signed by R. Yaakov Yukev Ettlinger, author of Aruch LaNer, to his father-in-law, brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law through his first wife. Below is another letter by his eldest daughter "Rella Ettlinger". Altona, 12th Av 1843. Yiddish. The letter opens with family matters, and is followed by the Aruch LaNer's expressions of sorrow over a recent Pale of Settlement edict decreed by Tsar Nicholas. This decree called for the expulsion of all Jews residing in the strip of fifty versts (a Russian unit of length, equal to approximately 1.1 km) along the Prussian and Austrian border, to the inner regions. The Aruch LaNer writes that since the time of the Spanish expulsion, an edict of such a large scope had never been decreed. The Tsar's edict would uproot the lives of over 100,000 Jewish families living in the areas included in his order. The decree would obliterate large communities such as Kalisz (in the end, the decree was not executed due to technical difficulties). R. Ettlinger recounts that in his Shabbat sermon in the synagogue, he spoke at length about the decree and roused the hearts of the Jewish people to pray that the calamity about to befall their brethren should be averted. He adds that in his opinion, this decree is retribution for the canceling of a prayer (part of the Tachanun prayer) calling upon G-d to retract his wrath and withdraw the evil which befalls his nation. The Reform cancelled this plea, claiming that the Jewish people no longer live in exile (this was one of the first amendments to the prayer texts which the reformers initiated. See: HaYeshiva HaRama BeFiurda, Part II, p. 361, section 19). Further in the letter, the Aruch LaNer writes about the Reform. He relates that he received a printed circular letter signed by leading Frankfurt Torah scholars - R. Ber Adler and R. Aharon Fuld, in the name of R. Zalman Trier, rabbi of Frankfurt, with a request to express his opinion on the society of the "wicked of Frankfurt who wish to eradicate religion and breach the covenant". He expresses pain over the necessity to write about such things, a situation which had not occurred since the time "of idol worshipers in the First Temple era". (The Aruch LaNer's response to the Frankfurt rabbis from 24th Av 1843 was published by R. Zalman Trier together with replies from other rabbis, in a German composition titled Rabbinische Gutachten über die Beschneidung, opposing the abolishment of circumcision, Frankfurt am Main, 1844, see: Kedem Auction 57, item 341). The Aruch LaNer signs his letter: "Your faithful son-in-law and brother-in-law, Yukev son of R. Aharon Ettlinger". The letter of the Aruch LaNer is followed by a letter from his daughter, Rella. She ends her letter with a request to send regards to all her uncles and aunts, and mentions her aunts Regina and Hannchen. R. Yaakov Yukev Ettlinger (1789-1872), Chief Rabbi of Altona and the region, was a foremost leader of German Jewry and a fierce opponent of the Reform movement. In his youth, he taught in the yeshiva of his father, R. Aharon Ettlinger, in Karlsruhe, and was a primary disciple of R. Asher Wallerstein, rabbi of Karlsruhe, son of the Shaagat Aryeh. He also studied in the Würzburg yeshiva headed by R. Avraham Bing and was a colleague of Chacham Yitzchak Bernays of Hamburg and of R. Elazar Bergman of Jerusalem. Around 1828, he was appointed yeshiva dean and rabbi of the Mannheim Kloiz, and in 1836, began his tenure as rabbi of the Three Communities (Altona, Hamburg and Wandsbek), where he established a prominent yeshiva. R. Yaakov Ettlinger dedicated his life to disseminating Torah and his disciples included leading German rabbis. Among them are R. Samson Refael Hirsch; R. Azriel Hildesheimer; R. Tzvi Binyamin Auerbach, Rabbi of Halberstadt and author of Nachal Eshkol; R. Getsch Schlesinger, dayan in Hamburg; R. Eliyahu Munk, dayan in Altona, and his son R. Yehuda Munk, Rabbi of Marburg; R. Ze'ev Yitzchak HaLevi Dunner of Köln, author of Lichvod Amudei HaTorah; R. Moshe Weisskopf, Rabbi of Paris; and other renowned disciples who were the glory of German communities of that generation. He authored the following books: Aruch LaNer on Talmudic tractates, Bikurei Yaakov, Responsa Binyan Zion, Minchat Ani on the Torah, and others, and was the founder and author of the Orthodox periodical Shomer Tzion HaNe'eman. Until this day, his books are studied in Torah study halls and his teachings are extensively cited in halachic literature. Already in his days, he was considered a leading Halachic authority and halachic questions were sent to him from Jerusalem and from all over the world. In several dispensations for agunot, R. Yosef Shaul Nathansohn wrote that he agrees to permit their remarriage, only if the "Altona Gaon" will concur with his decision (Shoel UMeshiv, Telitaa, Part II, 216; Part III, 87). He was the supreme authority among German rabbis, and even the great Torah scholar from Würzburg, R. Yitzchak Dov Bamberger, wrote that he presented all difficult issues before the leading Torah authorities of his time, R. Mendel Kargau and his mechutan R. Yaakov Ettlinger (Responsa Yad HaLevi, Jerusalem 1988, p. 60). After his passing and the death of the Ktav Sofer that same year, Rebbe Menachem Mendel of Deyzh wrote that they were "the righteous men of that generation" (Maaglei Tzedek, I, Parashat VaEra). The recipient of this letter is his father-in-law, R. Meshulam Kaufmann Durlach Wormser of Karlsruhe, who was also his uncle. R. Ettlinger's first wife, Mrs. Genendel (Nannette), died (after the birth of her daughter Sarah, who is mentioned in Rella's letter: "Our little Sarah…") on 16th Tevet 1842 (about half a year before this letter was written). Rella, who wrote the second letter, also called Relina, was the eldest child of the Aruch LaNer. She later wed R. Meshulam Zalman HaKohen (1822-1902), Rabbi of Schwerin, grandson of R. Meshulam Zalman HaKohen Rabbi of Fürth, and disciple of the Chatam Sofer, of his father-in-law R. Ettlinger and of the Ktav Sofer (see: Kinstlicher, HaChatam Sofer V'Talmidav, p. 380). [1] leaf. Written on both sides, approx. 28 lines handwritten and signed by the Aruch LaNer. 26.5 cm. Good-fair condition. Stains. Holes in several places from ink erosion, slightly affecting text. Folding marks.

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