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Lot 85: Letter by the Chazon Ish and his Sister Rebbetzin Kanievsky - To Their Mother, the Rebbetzin of Kosava

Auction 53 - Rare and Important Items

by Kedem Public Auction House Ltd

15 November 2016

Jerusalem, Israel

Live Auction
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Description: Autograph letter (on a postcard) signed by the Chazon Ish, Rabbi Avraham Yeshaya Karelitz, author of the Chazon Ish, and a long autograph letter signed by his sister Rebbetzin Miriam Kanievsky, the Steipler's wife. Bnei Brak, Adar Aleph [1935]. In the center of the postcard are 5 lines, handwritten and signed by the Chazon Ish [in his usual manner: "Ish"]. These lines are surrounded by a long letter in Yiddish which continues on the verso, more than 20 lines handwritten and signed by his sister Rebbetzin Miriam. The Chazon Ish addresses the letter "To my mother and all of those with her". The letter contains words of Torah and Halacha [apparently, in response to a letter he received from his brother or brother-in-law who lived in Kosava]. At the end of the letter, the Chazon Ish writes that he did not receive a letter from Vilna, "I have not heard anything for the past three months and perhaps the letter was lost". The ending of the letter addresses both his mother and his brother. In the letter by Rebbetzin Miriam Kanievsky, written a short while after her aliya to Eretz Israel, she writes about obtaining a visa to Eretz Israel and about the consul in Warsaw, who conjures numerous difficulties in obtaining visas for rabbis. At the end of her letter she sends regards from her children. The mother of the Chazon Ish, Rebbetzin Rasha-Leah Karelitz (ca. 1854-1940), daughter of R. Shaul Katzenellenbogen, Rabbi of Kosava and Kobryn. In 1874, married Rabbi Shemarya Yosef Karelitz (1852-1916), who succeeded his father-in-law as Rabbi of Kosava (near Grodno) in 1882, after the latter relocated to serve in the Kobryn rabbinate. She was celebrated for her piety and modesty and was deserving that all her nine sons and sons-in-law were leading Torah scholars and G-d fearing individuals who became renowned rabbis in their days. Among them: R. Avraham Yeshaya Karelitz, author of the Chazon Ish; R. Meir Karelitz, Rabbi of Lyakhavichy (Lechovitz) and one of the heads of Mo'etzet Gedolei HaTorah; R. Abba Svatitzky, Rabbi of Kosava and Tykocin (Tiktin); and Rabbi Ya'akov Yisrael Kanievsky, author of Kehillot Ya'akov (the Steipler). Once, the Chafetz Chaim asked her how she merited such pious children. She answered: Perhaps because I conducted myself with excessive modesty and the beams of my home never saw the hairs of my head. She became ill soon after her marriage and the doctors warned her that giving birth may risk her life. Her father, R. Shaul, suggested that his son-in-law divorce her to enable him to have children but Rebbetzin Rasha-Leah thought otherwise. She heroically decided to bear children saying that for this purpose G-d created her and He will have mercy (HaChazon Ish B'Dorotav, p. 17). During WWI, she was widowed and the Kosava community wanted to appoint her son R. Yitzchak "Itzele" as rabbi, but he conceded the position to his brother-in-law Rabbi Abba Svatitzky. In her senior years, she made aliya to Eretz Israel and for several years lived in Bnei Brak near her son the Chazon Ish and near her daughter, the wife of the Steipler, seeing for herself the great stature of both her son and son-in-law. Postcard, 9X14 cm. Good-fair condition. Creases and folding marks (small tear to fold).

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