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Bidding Information
Lot #    7300
Auction End Date    6/8/2004 10:15:22 AM (mm/dd/yyyy)
Title Information
Title (English)    Responsa by R. Isaiah Berlin (Pick)
Title (Hebrew)    תשובה מה'ר ישעי' פיק
Author    [Ms.]
City    Breslau
Publication Date    1785
Collection Information
Independent Item    This listing is an independent item not part of any collection
Description Information
   [5] pp., 238:194 mm., light age staining, ink on paper, net Ashkenazic script, approximately 40 lines per page, dated and signed.
   R. Isaiah b. Judah Loeb Berlin (Isaiah Pick; 1725–1799), was known also as Isaiah Pick after his father-in-law, Wolf Pick of Breslau, who supported him for many years. He was born in Eisenstadt, Hungary, but his father, an eminent talmudic scholar (who later became rabbi of Pressburg), moved to Berlin where the young Berlin studied under him. Later he studied under R. Zevi Hirsch Bialeh (Harif), the rabbi of Halberstadt, at the latter's yeshivah. In 1755 R. Berlin moved to Breslau where he engaged in business. In 1793, when already advanced in years, he was elected to a rabbinical post, being appointed to succeed R. Isaac Joseph Te'omim as rabbi of Breslau. His election was marked by a dispute between the members of the community and the local maskilim, who had begun to organize themselves as a body and opposed R. Berlin, who, despite his love of peace, openly attacked their ideas. R. Berlin was elected by an overwhelming majority. According to hasidic sources, R. Berlin was sympathetically disposed toward that movement and extended a friendly welcome to one of its emissaries, R. Jacob Samson of Spitsevka. R. Berlin was renowned for his conciliatory attitude and for his avoidance of all disputes. Characteristically, he called a work She'elat Shalom ("A Greeting of Peace"), for "all my life I have been careful not to treat my fellow men with disrespect, even to the extent of not slighting them by faint praises." R. Berlin corresponded on halakhic subjects with his brother-in-law R. Joseph Steinhardt, R. Ezekiel Landau of Prague, R. Eleazar b. Eleazar Kallir, and R. Ephraim Zalman Margolioth of Brody, among others. His chief claim to fame rests not on his rabbinic and halakhic but rather on his extensive literary activities devoted to glosses and textual notes on talmudic literature. He commented on the Bible, Mishnah, Talmud, Alfasi, Maimonides, the Arukh, and the whole corpus of the earlier halakhic authorities. Of his collated texts, in which he notes parallel passages and variant readings, the most important is that on the Talmud, entitled Masoret ha-Shas ("Talmud Tradition"), which supplements an earlier work by R. Joseph Samuel, rabbi of Frankfort. First published at Dyhernfurth (1800–04), it has since been printed in every edition of the Talmud. R. Berlin not only cites parallel passages, but also amends and compares texts, displaying an acute critical faculty and a profound grasp of history.

His other works are: She'elat Shalom (Dyhernfurth, 1786), a commentary on Ahai of Shabha's She'iltot, with sources and notes entitled Rishon le-Zion; Hafla'ah she-ba-Arakhin, glosses and annotations to Nathan b. Jehiel of Rome's Arukh (first published, part 1, Breslau, 1830, part 2, Vienna, 1859), and thereafter in many editions of the Arukh; Minnei Targima, expositions on Targum Onkelos (Breslau, 1831); Tosefot Rishon le-Ziyyon, notes and brief comments on the Mishnah (first published at Sulzbach, 1783–85, and often reprinted); Kashot Meyushav (Koenigsberg, 1860), in which all talmudic passages concluding with the word kashya ("difficulty") are answered;Omer ha-Shikhah, containing talmudic halakhot not mentioned by the codifiers. This work, first published as an addendum to Kashot Meyushav, was later printed separately (Johannisberg, 1866).

There was no early work to which Berlin did not write glosses and explanations, as he was in the habit of annotating every book that he read. Thus he wrote glosses to: the Bible (Dyhernfurth, 1775; Lemberg, 1861); the prayer book in Tikkun Shelomo (Dyhernfurth, 1806); Alfasi (Pressburg, 1836); Maimonides' Yad (Dyhernfurth, 1809); Elijah Bahur's Tishbi (his annotations appearing in Moses Koerner's Birkat Moshe, Berlin, 1834); R. Malachi b. Jacob's Yad Malakhi (Berlin, 1852); R. Elijah b. Moses de Vidas' Reshit Hokhmah (Dyhernfurth, 1811). Several work remain in manunscript.

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Listing Classification
18th Century:    Checked
Germany:    Checked
Responsa:    Checked
Language:    Hebrew
Manuscript Type
Responsa:    Checked
Kind of Judaica