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Bidding Information
Lot #    26790
Auction End Date    6/15/2010 10:18:00 AM (mm/dd/yyyy)
Title Information
Title (English)    Yeshuah Gedolah
Title (Hebrew)   
Author    R. Gedaliah ben Isaiah Meir Silverstone
City    Belfast
Publisher    Bril & Co.
Publication Date    1903
Collection Information
Independent Item    This listing is an independent item not part of any collection
Description Information
   Only edition. 124, [4] pp., 8, 200:125 mm., nice margins, light age staining. A very good copy bound in contemporary boards.
   Only edition of the novellae on tractates of the Babylonian Talmud by R. Gedaliah ben Isaiah Meir Silverstone. The title page describes, in a concise manner, the volume as hiddushim and glosses on tractates Hullin and Arakhin in halakhah and aggadah. It notes that R. Silverston is currently in Belfast, Britain and that he is the author of Pirhei Aviv. There is, on the verso of the title page, an English title page, followed by approbations from R. Isaac Jacob Reines and R. Abraham Aaron Yudolowitz, R. Silverstons introduction, in which he informs that he entitled the book Yeshuah Gedolah because Yeshuah alludes to his father R. Isaiah Meir, who, because of his illness in his old age is unable to write books on his own, and R. Gedaliah Silverston said that he would call this book on his fathers name so that the Lord whould send him help and renew his days as of old and with his mother, daughter of gedolim, Rasha Gittel. Also, the name Yeshuah alludes to his brother, the first born, R. Yeshuah Dov. The second part of the title, Gedolah, alludes to his name Gedaliah, and commentators have written that it is a great merit for an author to allude to his name in his books. The text follows in a single column in square letters. R. Silverston was a prolific writer and has a large number of titles to his credit in addition to Yeshuah Gedolah.

R. Gedaliah b. Isiah Meir Silverstone, Chief Rabbi of Washington D.C. The commentary critiques many contemporary ills and leaders. R. Silverstone was born in 5631 [1871] in Jasionowka, Poland, where his maternal grandfather was the rabbi. At the age of two, he moved to Sakot, Kovno Province, where his father served as a rabbi. R. Silverstone studied in the yeshivot in Ruzhany and Telz until 1891, when his father moved his family to Liverpool. R. Silverstone was appointed the rabbi of the Orthodox Congregation of Belfast in 5661 [1901]. He visited America in 5665 [1905] to sell his books. The following year he decided to settle there because he could not support his large family in England and he was appointed rabbi of the Combined Congregations of Washington, D.C. R. Silverstone, a popular rabbi, was on good terms with his congregants. As opposed to other American rabbis of the period, his publishing endeavors were supported by the community at large and he issued pamphlets of sermons on an almost annual basis. He had little difficulty in attracting benefactors to defray the publishing costs. R. Dov Ber Manischewitz of Cincinnati and Noah [Nathan?] Musher were among his patrons and he repeatedly reported that his works were eagerly sought after by preachers. He generally published only sermons because he knew that most American Jews would not read his more scholarly works and because "many rabbis and sages from other states [or countries?] write to me that my approach to aggadah is the only one that can be used to influence the masses and lure them to their Father in heaven" (Mesamhai Lev, St. Louis 1925, pp. 5-6). A vocal opponent of non-Orthodox synagogues, seminaries and rabbis, his sermons contain many polemical statements. R. Silverstone was a vice president of the Agudath Harabbonim, a director of the Hebrew Sanitarium of Denver and the Hebrew Home for the Aged of Washington, D.C., and a member of B'nai B'rith. He also founded the first talmud torah in Washington, D.C. and many of his sermons refer to the poor state of Jewish education. An active Zionist, R. Silverstone attended the Sixth Zionist Congress (1903) as a delegate from Belfast. He later sent two of his sons to study in Jerusalem and, after visiting the Land of Israel ca. 1921, he announced that he would soon be immigrating there (Darke be-Kodesh, St. Louis 1922, pp. 4, 6). Though he was unable to carry out his plans right away (Doresh Tov, St. Louis 1923, p. 5), he did visit again within a year, this time together with R. Zevi Hirsch Masliansky. He finally settled in Jaffa by Elul of 1923 and he was invited to preach a number of times at the Neveh Tzedek synagogue. A few months later, however, he was compelled to return to Washington because his wife became ill. Attempts to settle in Safed in 1936 and in Jerusalem in 5698 [1938]-5699 [1939] failed as well and he returned to America each time. He returned once more a few years later, this time remaining until his death in 1944. R. Silverstone was a grandson of R. Elijah Abramsky; a nephew of R. Hayyim Zevi Hirsch Braude; the father of R. Dr. Harry Silverstone; a cousin of R. Zelig Reuben Bengis; and an in-law of R. Gershom Ravinson of Cleveland.

Belfast today is the capital of Northern Ireland. The earliest reference to Jews in Belfast dates from 1652. Mention of a "Jew Butcher" in 1771 suggests the existence of the nucleus of a community. Jews are again recorded in the 1840s. D.J. Jaffe, who settled in Belfast in 1851, established a congregation in 1869 and built its first synagogue in 187172. Joseph Chotzner was the first minister (186980; and again 189397). After 1881 the community increased with the arrival of Jewish refugees from Russia. These at first formed their own congregation but in 1903 joined the main congregation. A municipal Jewish elementary school was established in 1898. Sir Otto Jaffe , twice lord mayor and once high sheriff, served for many years as the congregation's president and built its second synagogue in 1904. R. Isaac Herzog served as rabbi of Belfast from 1915 to 1919, followed in 1926 by Jacob Shachter, and in 1954 by Alexander Carlebach (who served until 1965). In 1967 the Jewish population numbered about 1,350. In that year, a new synagogue building was consecrated. In the mid-1990s the Jewish population dropped to approximately 550, and in 2004 to about 500. An Orthodox synagogue and a Jewish community center continue to exist.

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   BE yod 1039; CD-EPI 0154035
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Listing Classification
20th Century:    Checked
Other:    Ireland
Novellae:    Checked
First Editions:    Checked
Language:    Hebrew
Manuscript Type
Kind of Judaica