Illustrated Notebook – The Po’alei Tzedek Tailors’ Association – Bacău, 1832 – Approbations by Foremost Chassidic Leaders and Rabbis
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Notebook of the Po'alei Tzedek tailors' association. Bacău, Romania, 1832. Handsome illustrations in ink. Illustrated title page: "The pure notebook of the Po'alei Tzedek association". The next leaf has another title page, with an illustration of a two-headed eagle and a shield with the inscription "The year 1832", a pair of lions holding a medallion with the name of the author and the illustrator: "I, the writer and illustrator Asher David ben Rabbi Mordechai of Dărmăneşti ". The opening leaf has an article on the virtue of having an occupation quoted from Talmudic sources. Six leaves follow with the association's regulations. After the regulations is a letter of authorization of the notebook with signatures of the Bacău community leaders. On the next leaves are the names of the members [some in their own handwriting], "Column of the association's workers". These leaves are decorated and illustrated with attractive gates, animals and fowl. Further are more leaves with entries of the association's decisions, appointing gaba'im,etc. The notebook includes five letters of approbation and blessing to the Poalei Tzedek association by the following rabbis: * A letter by "Aharon Moshe MiGeza Zvi of Brody" – Rabbi Aharon Moshe MiGeza Zvi (1775-1845), one of the most prominent Chasiddic leaders, disciple of the Chozeh of Lublin and Rabbi Uri of Novyye Strelishcha (Strelisk), one of the first Chassidim to ascend to Jerusalem. This signature is from 1838, when he was passing through Bacău on his way to Eretz Israel (reached Eretz Israel in 1839). Rabbi Aharon Moshe encourages the society and blesses them that "their work should by doubly blessed with life for us and all the Jewish people…". [Nine lines in his handwriting]. * Letter by "Yechiel Michel ben Rabbi M. Yitzchak of Medzhybizh" – Rebbe Yechiel Michel (Drahbtisher) of Yampoli, son of Rabbi Yitzchak Drahbtisher of Medzhybizh. From his paternal side, was grandson of Rabbi Yechiel Michel, the Maggid of Zlotchov. On his maternal side, he was grandson of Rabbi Yechiel Ashkenazi son-in-law of the Besht [grandfather of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov]. Son-in-law of Rabbi Mordechai of Chernobyl son of Rabbi Nachum of Chernobyl. Rabbi Yechiel Michel writes that he happened upon Bacău, read the regulations in the notebook and they found favor in his eyes. Therefore, he blesses the society with "the G-d's blessing of success in their endeavors, children life and sustenance and they should merit ascending to Zion with joy…". [6 lines in his handwriting]. * Letter by Rabbi Yosef Landau, a leading Chassidic figure. Disciple of Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berdychiv, Rabbi Baruch of Medzhybizh, Rabbi Avraham Yehoshua Heshel of Apta and Rebbe Yisrael of Ruzin. Rabbi in the city of Lityn and Kamyanyets (Kaminetz) and by recommendation of his teacher Rabbi Yisrael of Ruzhyn was appointed as Rabbi of Iaşi in Romania in 1834. Author of Birkat Yosef responsa. [13 lines of his handwriting]. Further in the notebook, an interesting, enigmatic letter is concealed between empty leaves which ends with the following words: I have signed, I who worry about the Jewish people's travails and am waiting for the salvation of G-d's presence and the consolation of Zion and Jerusalem, spoken by the lowly person and an undesired vessel, Gilgul Baruch ben Eliezer. We do not know who wrote this and if he was an important figure. Apparently, he encrypted his name. The Bacău Tailor Association was known for its large impact on the city. The Jewish tailors instituted the modern European attire which replaced the Turkish mode of dress. The society had a synagogue [a contract of sale of a Torah scroll to the society's synagogue appears on a leaf of this notebook]. Besides being an economic guild, the spiritual elements were also stressed, such as banning work on Chol HaMoed, reciting Tehillim and studying Chumash with Rashi every Shabbat. [See enclosed article about the Tailors' Society in Bacău, based on a Romanian translation of the
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