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Letter from Leading German Rabbis to the Prussian Minister of War – Handwritten by Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch and Rabbi Azriel Hildesheimer – Regarding the Shabbat Observance of Jewish Soldiers – Berlin, 1881 Three versions of a letter, including a draft handwritten by R. Samson Raphael Hirsch, with comments handwritten by R. Azriel Hildesheimer. Berlin, 1881. German, with some Hebrew. Letter from German rabbis, addressed to the Prussian Minister of War Georg von Kameke, in which they ask him to act on behalf of the Jewish soldiers in the Prussian army, and grant them an exemption from military duties on Shabbat (just as soldiers are already exempted on festivals and fast days). The letter describes various aspects of the importance of the Shabbat in Judaism. This is a draft of the letter, entirely handwritten by R. Samson Raphael Hirsch, with his marginal deletions, emendations and additions. There are also two lengthy notes in the margins, handwritten by R. Azriel Hildesheimer. In one of them, he writes in Hebrew (in praise of R. S. R. Hirsch): "And who do we have greater than him, who personifies 'my tongue is a pen of an expert scribe'". This draft is dated: "Berlin, 19th May 1881". The draft concludes with an undecipherable calligraphic inscription, possibly the signature of R. Samson Raphael Hirsch. Enclosed with the draft are two neat copyings, handwritten by a scribe. The first is dated: "Berlin, 27th May 1881" (this date was deleted and replaced with "7th June"). This copying contains two particularly lengthy additions handwritten by R. Samson Raphael Hirsch. The second copying is dated: "Berlin, 7th June 1881", and incorporates R. Samson Raphael Hirsch's additions. Both copyings feature the signatures (copied by the scribe) of eleven German rabbis: "Rabbi Dr. Hildesheimer, Berlin; R. Hirsch, Frankfurt; Dr. Löb, Altona; Dr. Auerbach, Halberstadt; Dr. Plato, Cologne; Dr. Ehrman, Trier; Dr. Kahn, Wiesbaden; Dr. S. Cohn, Berlin; Dr. Feilchenfeld, Posen; Ehrenfeld, Gnesen; Dr. Löb, Samter". This letter provides an interesting documentation of the joint efforts of R. Samson Raphael Hirsch and R. Azriel Hildesheimer on behalf of the Jewish soldiers in Germany. These leaves disclose the various steps in the process of producing the final letter, beginning with the draft handwritten by R. Samson Raphael Hirsch, the editing it underwent by R. Hirsch and R. Hildesheimer, copying it into a well-presented letter, a second editing, and the final copying. R. Shimshon son of R. Refael Hirsch (1808-1888) was the legendary leader of German Orthodox Jewry and founder of the association of independent communities. He was a disciple of Chacham Bernays of Hamburg, and of R. Yaakov Ettlinger of Altona – the Aruch LaNer. At the age of 22, he began serving as rabbi of Oldenburg, Emden and later Nikolsburg. In 1850, he was summoned by eleven Orthodox families in Frankfurt am Main to stand at the helm of the new Adath Yeshurun Orthodox community. R. Samson Raphael Hirsch was the first to attempt to stem the rapid spiritual decline of German Jewry, painstakingly rebuilding Orthodox Jewry in Germany. He invested great effort in establishing independent communities in various German cities, and educated an entire generation to Torah and observance, through his discourses, books and essays (the Nineteen Letters, Horeb and others), which were originally delivered and written in German, and have since been translated and published in many editions, in Hebrew and other languages. R. Azriel Hildesheimer (1820-1899), rabbi, posek and leader. A foremost rabbi in his times, he stood at the helm of Orthodox Jewry in Germany. He was a close disciple of R. Yaakov Ettlinger – the Aruch LaNer in Altona (who refers to him in Responsa Binyan Tzion as "my son"), and studied under Chacham Bernays (R. Yitzchak Bernays) of Hamburg. In 1848, he founded a yeshiva in Halberstadt, and in 1851, he was appointed rabbi of Eisenstadt, where he also served as yeshiva dean and established a unique educational system. In 1869, he began serving as rabbi of the Adath Israel Orthodox community in Berlin, where he founded a yeshiva. In 1874, he opened the Rabbinical seminary, which edified generations of rabbis, educators and community leaders. Just like his teacher the Aruch LaNer, he was titled "Nesi Eretz Israel". He was renowned for his wide-ranging efforts on behalf of German Jewry, and for his extensive activities on behalf of Russian Jewry. He authored many novellae and halachic responsa, which were published in the books Responsa of R. Azriel (2 volumes), Chiddushei R. Azriel – on the Talmud (3 volumes) and others.  leaf (2 pages) handwritten by R. Hirsch +  double leaves (8 written pages) of copyings of the letter. Size varies. Good-fair condition. Stains, tears, fold lines. Enclosed: A handwritten leaf from the same period, in German (copy of an army regulation?); English translation (recent) of the letter.