Lot : 105

Long  Letter by
Rabbi Chaim Berlin
Rabbi Yosef Chaim Sonnenfeld

Jerusalem, 1909

Start price: $2,000
Est. Price: $3,000 - $5,000
Long  Letter by
Rabbi Chaim Berlin
Rabbi Yosef Chaim Sonnenfeld

Jerusalem, 1909

Historic Treasure!
Long Prominent Jerusalem Rabbanim Regarding the Compromised State of Religion and Religious Schools in Eretz Yisrael. Jerusalem, 1909
In this letter, four eminent Rabbanim of early 20th century Jerusalem express their thoughts and feelings regarding the campaign to preserve religious schools in Jerusalem. In this letter, they emphasize the need of acting subtly, without grand public assemblies or fanfare that attract undue attention.
Further in the letter, the Rabbanim describe at length the efforts taken by Agudas Shomrei Torah which was established in Jerusalem with the goal of opening new religious institutions in the burgeoning new towns and settlements. They specifically describe their vigorous efforts in the cities of Petach Tikva, Rishon Letzion, Rechovot and Ekron.
The letter was handwritten by Rabbi Zerach Braverman and autographed by four famous Rabbanim:
Rabbi Chaim Berlin (1833-1913) was the son of the Netziv and succeeded his father as Rosh Yeshivah in Volozhin. In 1805, Rabbi Chaim journeyed to the Holy Land and settled in Jerusalem. Following the passing of Rabbi Shmuel Salant, he accepted the spiritual leadership of Jerusalem.
Rabbi Yosef Chaim Sonnenfeld (1849-1932) was the first Rav of the Eidah Hacharedis in Jerusalem. He stood at the forefront of the public battles to preserve the spiritual sanctity of Jerusalem.
Rabbi Zerach Braverman (1857-1838) was a disciple of the tzaddik Rabbi Nachum’ke of Horodna and prime disciple of Maharil Diskin. He was one of the eminent spiritual leaders of Jerusalem and founder and Rosh Yeshivah of Yeshivas Meah Shearim.
Rabbi Dovber Halevi Epstein (circa 1854-1931) was the son of the author of Aruch Hashulchan. As a brilliant scholar and talented public activist, he endeavored greatly on behalf of all institutions and organizations in Jerusalem.
Jerusalem, 13 Tishrei, 5669 (1909). Folded leaf with 4 handwritten sides.
Page Size: 29×22 cm. Several water stains.
Any inquiries about this lot ?
We are available also on
WhatsApp >>>
Valuable Collection of Letters
The Battle by Gedolei Yisrael
to Preserve traditional Judaism in Eretz Yisrael.
An Historical account



When the winds of the Enlightenment began blowing throughout Europe, one of the first objectives of the liberal movements to advance their agenda was to dismantle the institution of the traditional Rabbinate, by replacing the Rabbinate with “enlightened” Rabbis who would support their progressive ways and institutions.
During the era these letters were written, Eretz Yisrael was under the control of the Ottoman Empire whose axis was in Constantinople.
Ottoman authorities traditionally bequeathed the Chief Rabbi of Constantinople, known as Chacham Bashi, a wide scope of authorities and privileges that powerfully influenced and impacted Jewish communities throughout the vast Empire. In particular, the Chacham Bashi was able to facilitate the needs of the Jewish community in Eretz Yisrael and represent them to the authorities. Also included in the Chacham Bashi’s powers was the appointment of new Rabbis in the Holy Land.
In 1909, progressive Jews exerted their influence in the Ottoman court to depose the Chacham Bashi, Rabbi Moshe Halevi, and campaigned strongly to appoint Chaim Nahum in his stead. Nahum, a graduate of the Alliance school and of Parisian Universities,
Gedolei Yisrael of the era regarded his appointment as a severe blow to tradition, as well as a grave threat to the spiritual future of Eretz Yisrael. They put up a fierce battle to oppose the new Chacham Bashi and to preserve the religious character of the Holy Land and of Jerusalem in particular.
Rabbi Yitzchak Eisik Halevi (1848-1914), author of Doros Rishonim, spearheaded this spiritual battle, and the letters in this collection are all addressed to him.
The present collection constitutes an eye-opening historical documentary of the times, with letters spanning Gedolei Yisrael from Chassidic, Sephardic and Lithuanian (Misnagdim) sects, among them Rabbi Chaim Halevi Soloveitchik, the Avnei Nezer, Imrei Emes, Rabbi Chaim Ozer Grodzinski, and others. Each letter reveals the individual Rabbi’s unique perspective and pure Torah outlook on the concept of Rabbanus along with his personal battle to preserve spiritual sanctity during this turning-point in Jewish history.
For further information regarding the battle waged by Gedolei Yisrael, see Rabbi David Kamenetzky’s work Rabban shel Yisrael (Jerusalem, 2021 Ch. 14).