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Lot 66: Letter Regarding Smicha for the Rabbinate - Handwritten and Signed by the Ktav Sofer - Pressburg, 1842

Auction 53 - Rare and Important Items

by Kedem Public Auction House Ltd

November 15, 2016

Jerusalem, Israel

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Description: Interesting autograph letter signed by Rabbi Avraham Shmuel Binyamin Sofer, author of the Ktav Sofer. Pressburg, 1842. Letter to R. Aharon HaLevi Tauber Rabbi of B?torove Kosihy (B?torkesz), regarding Smicha (Rabbinic ordination) for his son R. Yehoshua Tauber, who applied to the Ktav Sofer for ordination. The Ktav Sofer highly praises his son and his Torah knowledge, cleverness and character traits. However, he refuses to give him semicha because "I have already restricted myself without exception, to refrain from writing authorizations for smicha". R. Yehoshua HaLevi Tauber (1818-1884), son of R. Aharon Tauber Rabbi of B?torove Kosihy (B?torkesz), author of Yad Aharon. Disciple of R. Pinchas Leib Frieden Rabbi of Kom?rno and of R. Zvi Hirsh Charif Heller of ?buda (Alt-Ofen). He was ordained by the Chatam Sofer and by leading rabbis of his times and served in the Kisk?r?s and Nagyt?t?ny rabbinates. See the book of novellae by Mahari Katz (Jerusalem, 1959), with a picture of this letter. See enclosed material (and see previous item). R. Avraham Shmuel Binyamin Sofer (1815-1871), eldest son of the Chatam Sofer and his successor in the Pressburg rabbinate and as head of the Pressburg Yeshiva. Eminent Torah scholar, his disciples were leading rabbis in Hungary and its region. His works of responsa, Talmudic and Torah novellae were titled Ktav Sofer. Before his birth, his illustrious father, author of the Chatam Sofer foresaw that the soul of a tsaddik was to descend to the world and indeed, from his youth his holiness and devotion to Torah were evident. At the young age of 17-18, he exchanged halachic correspondence with his father's leading disciples. At the beginning, he concealed the tremendous diligence and proficiency of his vast Torah knowledge from his father, but with time, his father discerned his Torah stature and designated him as his successor in delivering discourses in the yeshiva and in halachic responsa to various rabbis throughout the world. His illustrious father guided him down the path to greatness in knowledge of revealed and hidden Torah and sent him Kabbalistic books to peruse. After his father's sudden death in 1839, he succeeded his father as rabbi and head of yeshiva at the young age of 24 and was included in the sphere of the foremost Torah leaders of his times. He headed the rabbis who fought against the Reform movement and gave instructions to separate Hungarian communities into separate Orthodox entities. His halachic authority was widely accepted even by leading Torah scholars of his times. The Pressburg Yeshiva which he headed was the leading yeshiva in Hungary in the days of the Ktav Sofer, 300-400 students attended the yeshiva, most alumni of other Hungarian yeshivot. A substantial percentage of the rabbis serving in Hungary and central-Europe had been students at the Pressburg Yeshiva. Leaf, 27 cm. 16 handwritten lines. Good condition. Folding marks, minor stains, wear to folds. Address written on verso in the handwriting of the Ktav Sofer.

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