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Bidding Information
Lot #    10791
Auction End Date    5/24/2005 3:51:00 PM (mm/dd/yyyy)
Title Information
Title (English)    Financial Agreement
Title (Hebrew)    שטר בית דין
Author    [Ms. - Women]
City    Cleves, Germany
Publication Date    1791
Collection Information
Independent Item    This listing is an independent item not part of any collection
Description Information
   [1] p., 365:220 mm., light age staining, edges frayed, ink on paper, neat Ashkenazic script, signed and dated.
   Financial document drawn up in Cleves, town and historic duchy in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. The agreement, whereby a "virgin girl" loans funds to a gentleman for investment and business, in return the gentleman agrees to support and provide for the young lady in perpetuity.

Cleves is noted in Jewish history for the controversial divorce decree issued there in 1766–67. Though its focal point was Frankfort, it came to involve most of the great scholars of the day. On Elul 8, 5526 (August 14, 1766), Isaac (Itzik), son of Eliezer Neiberg of Mannheim, married Leah, daughter of Jacob Guenzhausen of Bonn. On the Sabbath following the wedding the bridegroom took 94 gold crowns of the dowry and disappeared. After an extensive search he was found two days later in the house of a non-Jew in the village of Farenheim and brought home. A few days later Isaac informed his wife's family that he could no longer stay in Germany because of the grave danger which threatened him there, and that he was obliged to emigrate to England. He declared his willingness to give his wife a divorce in order to prevent her from becoming an agunah. His offer was accepted, and Cleves on the German-Dutch border was selected as the place for the get to be given. Consequently, on the 22nd of Elul, R. Israel b. Eliezer Lipschuetz, the av bet din of Cleves, effected the divorce. Leah returned to Mannheim and Isaac proceeded to England. When his father learned of the divorce, he suspected that the whole affair had been contrived by the woman's relatives to extort the dowry money from Isaac. He turned to R. Tevele Hess of Mannheim who invalidated the get on the grounds that in his view the husband was not of sound mind when he delivered it. R. Hess, not relying upon his own judgment, applied to the bet din of Frankfort and to R. Naphtali Hirsch Katzenellenbogen of Pfalz, R. Eliezer Katzenellenbogen of Hagenau, and R. Joseph Steinhardt of Fuerth, requesting their confirmation of his ruling. The bet din of Frankfort, headed by R. Abraham b. Zevi Hirsch of Lissau, not only agreed, but demanded that R. Lipschuetz himself declare the get invalid and proclaim Leah to be still a married woman. The rabbis of Pfalz, Hagenau, and Fuerth, on the other hand, upheld R. Lipschuetz, declared the divorce valid, and the woman free to remarry. Both sides appealed to all the rabbinical authorities of the time. The rabbi of Cleves received the support of almost all of the leading scholars of the generation, among them R. Saul b. Aryeh Leib Loewenstamm of Amsterdam, R. Jacob Emden, R. Ezekiel Landau of Prague, R. Isaac Horowitz of Hamburg, R. David of Dessau, R. Aryeh of Metz, R. Elhanan of Danzig, SR. olomon b. Moses of Chelm, and ten scholars of the klaus (bet-midrash) of Brody. The bet din of Frankfort was virtually alone in its opposition. The moving spirit in the dispute was the Frankfort dayyan, R. Nathan b. Solomon Maas, on whose initiative the Frankfort rabbis even went so far as publicly and with solemn ceremony to commit to flames the responsa of the Polish rabbis in protest against their intervention in favor of R. Lipschuetz. The couple finally remarried and out of deference to the opinion of Rabbi Abraham of Frankfort, no blessings were pronounced at the ceremony. Instead the groom said that "with this ring you are still married to me." The complete episode of the Cleves divorce was recorded in Or ha-Yashar (Amsterdam, 1769) by R. Aaron Simeon Copenhagen who had followed the events and who had himself played a part in the granting of the get. R. Israel Lipschuetz devoted no less than 37 of his responsa to the polemic in his Or Yisrael (Cleves, 1770).

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Listing Classification
18th Century:    Checked
Germany:    Checked
History:    Checked
Language:    Hebrew
Manuscript Type
Other:    Decree
Kind of Judaica