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Lot 55: Complete Handwritten Pamphlet of Torah Novellae by the Netziv of Volozhin, with his Signature

Auction 53 - Rare and Important Items

by Kedem Public Auction House Ltd

15 November 2016

Jerusalem, Israel

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  • Complete Handwritten Pamphlet of Torah Novellae by the Netziv of Volozhin, with his Signature
  • Complete Handwritten Pamphlet of Torah Novellae by the Netziv of Volozhin, with his Signature
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Description: Complete pamphlet, handwritten by R. Naftali Zvi Yehuda Berlin - the Netziv of Volozhin. An extensive halachic research on the topic of the kashrut of vellum produced from an animal's firstborn, used for writing a sefer Torah, and other matters. [Volozhin, c. 1840s-1850s]. Handwritten by the Netziv of Volozhin, in a handwriting similar to manuscripts he wrote in his youth, with erasures and additions between the lines. 32 written pages. Most of the pamphlet was written in his youth but he added sections at a later time [1860s-1880s]. On Leaves 1-9, the Netziv writes a responsum on the subject of the kashrut of vellum made from an animal's firstborn, used for writing a sefer Torah. On page 9/b, the Netziv signed: "Naftali Zvi Yehuda son of R. Ya'akov Berlin". Following this signature is a long "omission" – "What has been omitted on the matter of a person prohibiting something which is not his". Afterward, more "omissions" were added at a later date. On page 11/a is another section written in response to someone who questioned his words: "Regarding the question you asked on Bechorot…". At the beginning of the pamphlet, the Netziv writes: "Please, G-d, guide me on the true path and prevent my feet from stumbling and only words of truth should be emitted from my mouth". On page 11/1, he writes: "Also here G-d should guide me along the straight path…". Part of the content has been printed with many variations in the Meshiv Davar responsa, Yoreh Deah, Siman 74. On the last leaf is an inscription in the handwriting of R. Chaim Berlin, the Netziv's son, listing his father's writings which R. Chaim received from his brothers: "Record of the things I have received from my brothers on Wednesday, the 11th of Elul 1893 in Warsaw of the novellae of my father…". R. Naftali Zvi Yehuda Berlin – the Netziv of Volozhin (1817-1893), one of the outstanding Torah leaders of his times, son-in-law of R. Yitzchak of Volozhin and his successor as head of the yeshiva. His father, R. Ya'akov Berlin of Mir (1794-1868) moved to Jerusalem in 1854 and was one of the leaders of the Perushim community in Jerusalem. Known for his great diligence and brilliance, he led the Volozhin Yeshiva with devotion and love for many years. This yeshiva produced eminent Torah scholars who glorified the Lithuanian, Russian and Polish Jewish communities. His noble personality and deep thorough knowledge yielded generations of exceptional Torah scholars, heads of yeshivas, dayanim and rabbis. He was also very involved in public leadership and his opinion was conclusive on community matters in Russia and Lithuania. He responded to many halachic queries by rabbis who turned to him for his decisions. For many years he was accustomed to signing his letters: "He who is laden with work". This pamphlet contains early writings, written in his youth before yeshiva and communal matters weighed on him. The Netziv wrote many books: Ha'amek She'ela, novellae on the She'iltot; Ha'amek Davar on the Torah; Meshiv Davar responsa, novellae on the Talmud and commentaries on Midreshei Halacha – Mechilta, Sifrei and Sifra. His illustrious son, R. Chaim Berlin was Rabbi of Moscow and later moved to Jerusalem (1832-1913), and his eminent son-in-law was R. Refael Shapira, his successor as head of the Volozhin Yeshiva and father-in-law of R. Chaim HaLevi Soloveitchik of Brisk. After the death of his first wife, the Netziv wed his niece, daughter of R. Yechiel Michel Epstein, author of Aruch HaShulchan who bore him sons in his senior years: R. Ya'akov Berlin and R. Meir Bar-Ilan (1880-1949). [1], 10, [1], 11-13, [2] leaves. Total of 32 handwritten pages. Approximately 22 cm. Fair condition. Stains and tears. Unbound. Enclosed is a letter by one of his descendants who was involved in printing his manuscripts and attests that the pamphlet is handwritten by the Netziv.

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