PLEASE NOTE: All bidding for the auction currently underway
at our new website at
Auction End Date
3/7/2006 10:52:00 AM (mm/dd/yyyy)
Letter by R. David Zevi Hoffmann
כתב מה'ר דוד צבי האפמאן
This listing is an independent item not part of any collection
 p., 145:154 mm., light age staining, ink on paper, neat Ashkenazic script, signed.
Concerning a diploma of rabbinics and wishing the addressee a happy new year by R. David Zevi Hoffmann (1843–1921), rabbi and biblical and talmudic scholar. R. Hoffmann was born in Verbo (Slovakia) and studied at Hungarian yeshivot, as well as at the Hildesheimer Seminary in Eisenstadt. He later studied in the universities of Vienna, Berlin, and Tuebingen. In 1873, when R. Hildesheimer established his Rabbinical Seminary in Berlin, he invited R. Hoffman to lecture on the Talmud and the posekim, and later also on the Pentateuch. After R. Hildesheimer's death in 1899 R. Hoffmann was appointed rector of the Seminary. He was member and later chairman of the bet din of the Adass Yisroel congregation in Berlin. Toward the end of his life he was regarded as the supreme halakhic authority of German Orthodox Jewry and was inundated by questions in halakhah from most of the German rabbis. He was a member of the executive of Agudat Israel, but at the same time spoke on behalf of Zionism, although fearing the reaction of extremists he hesitated to publish his opinions. His responsa are distinguished by a concern with contemporary conditions, and a tendency to leniency, wherever possible, in matters of halakhah, though he was a violent opponent of reform. His biblical investigations, too, were directed against biblical criticism. These writings, which occupied him for many years, were viewed by R. Hoffmann as "a holy undertaking... an obligatory battle to answer decisively these new critics who come as oppressors to violate the holy Torah." In his work opposing Wellhausen, R. Hoffmann rejected the theories of "sources," but he did not formulate an original method of biblical investigation, relying on the basic assumption of "Torah from heaven." In his commentaries to Leviticus and Deuteronomy he emphasized the importance of rabbinic homiletical and exegetical interpretations for an understanding of these books. His approach to biblical investigation was essentially the result of the conditions of his time and place.
(Click thumbnail to view full size image)
Kind of Judaica