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Lot 74: Letter by the Maharsham of Berezhany - Halachic Responsum and Good Wishes for a Gmar Chatima Tova

Auction 53 - Rare and Important Items

by Kedem Public Auction House Ltd

15 November 2016

Jerusalem, Israel

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Description: Autograph letter signed by R. Shalom Mordechai Schwadron [the Maharsham], Rabbi of Berezhany (Galicia), sent to R. Moshe Sofer - son of R. Shimon Sofer Rabbi of Erlau. Berezhany, Tishrei 1908. Blessings for a gmar chatima tova and halachic responsum on the laws of shidduchim. At the beginning of the letter, the Maharsham writes that "although it is very difficult to write today, I made the effort to respond promptly for the sake of my friend, your father". On the margins, after his signature, he mentions the grapes sent to him by the Erlau Rebbe [apparently, for preparing wine for the holiday] and he writes: "I did not want to cause your father distress and inform him that because the grapes were delayed until after the holiday they almost all rotted and more than half were missing and the rest were not fit for consumption". The Maharsham - R. Shalom Mordechai HaCohen Schwadron (1835-1911), a leading posek of his times, Rabbi of Potok Z?oty, Jaz?owiec and Berezhany, was the top Torah authority in Galicia and of other places as well. He authored dozens of compositions including the following printed works: the nine parts of the Maharsham responsa, Mishpat Shalom on Choshen Mishpat, Gilui Da'at on the laws of terefot, Da'at Torah on the Shulchan Aruch, Techelet Mordechai on the Torah, etc. He was a Chassid close to the rebbes of Belz, Zhydachiv, Stratin and Chortkiv. In his youth, the maskilim attempted to lead him astray from a life of Torah and fear of Heaven, but Rebbe Meir of Premishlan foresaw this with his ru'ach hakodesh and cautioned him not to follow their path. From his childhood and formative years, he studied Torah with the utmost diligence dedicated to the ways of the Torah and Chassidism. After his marriage, his obligations forced him into trade, but during the time he sat in his shop, he was able to review the four parts of the Shulchan Aruch 400 times. After a while, he began serving in the rabbinate after he received an enthusiastic semicha from Rabbi Shlomo Kluger who wrote: "…I do not give semicha to any man for my own reasons, however this person does not need my sanction and can decide Torah rulings like one of the famous Torah leaders and you can rely on him in all cases…". The author of the Minchat Chinuch also wrote him a interesting letter of approbation: "The young man the author shows wonders of his Torah learning and his proficiency and we have already grown old…". The Maharsham is considered a leading posek of his times and the pillar of Torah rulings in Galicia, and from throughout Russia-Poland and Hungary difficult questions were referred to him to resolve. In the introduction to the book Techelet Mordechai, many amazing tales are recounted of revelations shown to him from Heaven and of salvation and cures which he performed with the power of his holiness; however his main renown remains his celebrated Torah and halachic proficiency. Leaf, 21 cm. 21 autograph lines. Very good condition. This responsum was printed with variations and additions in the Maharsham responsa, Part 4, Siman 152.

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