Letter to Rabbi Moshe Shapira from the time of his appointment to Rabbinate of Slavita
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A letter received by Rabbi Moshe Shapira, from the time of his appointment to Rabbinate of Slavita. Rabbi Moshe Shapira, Av Beit Din Slavita (1760-1838, Otzar Ha-Rabanim 15211). Son of Admor Rabbi Pinchas of Koretz (1728-1790) who was a disciple and friend of the Ba'al Shem Tov, and disciple of the Magid of Mezritch. Rabbi Moshe served as Rabbi in Slavita around 1792, but since he did not want to make a living of it he established his well known printing house in Slavita, and in this way could hold his position without recieving benefits from it. (It has been written that Rabbi Moshe's acceptance of Rabbinate and the establishment of the printing house were initiated by his father Rabbi Pinhas of Koretz but this document refutes this, as it mentions the appointment of Rabbi Moshe, son of "our teacher Rabbi Pinhas May His Soul Rest In Peace In Heaven"). This letter also contains a hint to the refusal of Rabbi Moshe to accept position of Admor, as it reads "Hashem will give him the honor of being counted with the Tzadikkim and Hassidim…". Rabbi Moshe managed the printing house until mid 1820s and then passed management to his sons Rabbi Shmuel Avraham Aba (1787-1864) and Rabbi Pinhas (1790-1872). In this printing house the first edition of the Tania was printed by the old Admor of Liadi, (The Ba'al Ha-Tania regarded this as a gesture of thanksgiving to Rabbi Pinhas of Koretz, for drawing him near their Rabbi Ha-Magid of Mezritch - see enclosed materials), and also many Kabbalah, Musar and Hassidut books, prayer books, Chumashim and Mahzorim, Sha"s, Talmud Bavli, Arba'ah Turim and Shulchan Aruch and more. Books printed in the Slavita printing house are sought after to this very day by the pure-minded for the sanctity of the books and especially their carefulness in the holy work done in purity and for the sake of Mitzvah, from the casting of the letters (done with the letters the Admor Rabbi Moshe casted with his own hands), the precise proofreading, the printing done in sanctity and purity, and the binding. Over the years, when Rabbi Moshe became rich, he casted silver letters instead of the lead ones, for the sake of Mitzvah and for the better printing quality achieved by these letters, and all in honor of the Holy Torah. After the Slavita Libel, between 1835-1838, which developed into a libel claiming the books were printed without proper censorship licenses, the authorities closed down the printing house and tens of thousands of copies of books printed in Slavita were burned (this is one of the reasons for the rarity of the books printed at the great printing house in Slavita - see enclosed materials), and Rabbi Shmuel Aba and Rabbi Pinhas were exiled to Siberia in 1838. Their old father Rabbi Moshe died of broken heart on 9th of Kislev 1838 (some claim it was in 1840 - see additional materials). Rabbi Shmuel Aba and Rabbi Pinhas returned from Siberia in 1856, and Rabbi Shmuel Aba became Admor until his demise in 1864. The Shapira printing house was later re-established in Zhitomir in 1847 by Rabbi Moshe's grandchildren - Rabbi Hanina Lipa and Rabbi Yehoshua Heshil Shapira and was active until 1867. On margins of the page there is a different interesting writing from 1907, from the "Ner Tamid" society, mentioning the name of Rabbi Moshe Ben Rabbi Yehoshua Heshil, with a few signatures. We don't know what is the Ner Tamid society and who is Rabbi Moshe Ben Rabbi Heshil but it is likely that he is the son of Rabbi Yehoshua Heshil Shapira, printer from Zhitomir, who is named after his great grandfather Rabbi Moshe of Slavita. Single page 31 cm. Good condition, stains, tear to written part with no loss of text.
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