Original autographed Letter by the
Original autographed letter entirely handwritten by Rabbi Yechezkel Landau, Av Beis Din and Rosh Yeshivah of Prague, author of the famed Noda B’Yehuda and Chiddushei HaTzlach on Shas. Written in Prague in the year 1782.
This Chaver document, written in stunning poetry and rhymes, was delivered to his disciple Rabbi Moshe Boskowitz on 12 Av, 5542 (1782).
The Noda B’Yehuda
“The greatness of his name is known among Yehuda and Yisrael, the Gadol Hador, wonder of the era, extolled with all praises, the crown and glory of Yisrael, ” inscribed Rabbi Yeshaya Pick Berlin. “The captain of the ship and leader, father of the sages, ” extolled the Chasam Sofer. These accolades and countless others were written to praise the spiritual giant and leader of men Rabbi Yechezkel Halevi Landau, who is renowned to all as the Noda B’Yehuda after his landmark halachah sefer.
One who peruses the works of his contemporary sages will discover that there is hardly a praise or accolade that wasn’t used to describe the Noda B’Yehuda, regarded as the undisputed leader of his generation and whose halachic rulings were universally accepted by all.
The Admor Rabbi Chaim of Sanz wrote in Divrei Chaim: “Who am I before the genius of all geniuses, author of the Noda B’Yehuda… Though I have seen several Rabbanim who imagine that they are challenging the Noda B’Yehuda, due to our many sins, it is only due to ignorance and lightheadedness. Who can surpass the strength of the Noda B’Yehuda z”l whose force in halachah is known, and hardly anyone has ever triumphed upon him.”
The Noda B’Yehuda Rabbi Yechezkel Landau (1714-1793), Av Beis Din of Prague, was born in Apta, Poland. In his early youth, he studied in the famous Kloiz in Brod where he acquired the secrets of both the Revealed and Hidden Torah. In 1745, he was appointed Av Beis Din of Yampoli, and ten years later, accepted the Rabbinate in the great city of Prague. There he served as Rav for close to forty years and founded his famous yeshivah which cultivated numerous Torah giants. His written legacy includes Shu”t Noda B’Yehuda, Tzlach on Shas and Dagul Merevava.
In the past, ‘Chaver, ’ which literally translates as ‘member’ or ‘friend’ was a title designated for Torah scholars. Approximately 600 years ago, Ashkenazic communities began ordaining young scholars with the title ‘chaver’, and in later eras, this title was awarded to a young man who had completed his yeshivah studies in honor of his wedding.
The title was added to the scholar’s name in every official mention, such as when being called to the Torah, on a kesubah, and even on his tombstone.
Prague, 12 Av, 5582 (July 23, 1782). Official certificate with official printed seal. Page size: 15×12 cm. Signs of tear with damage to several letters on fold. Professionally restored.
Published by Rabbi Yisrael Stern in Kovetz Igra D’Kallah a limited edition of only 215 copies (London, 1981).
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