Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Kestenbaum Auctions Rare Letter From Reb Noson


R. NOSSON OF BRESLOV: Autograph Letter Signed in Hebrew by Reb Nosson of Breslov, written to Reb Meir (Mirkis of Teplik). One page. Brown ink on coarse paper. Minute holes along folds, portion of text along right side very faint due to waterstain. 4 x 7 inches. Date: Motza’ei Shabbath, Parshath Lech-Lecha, 1842


In this highly personal and emotional letter written to a close chossid, Reb Meir Mirkis of Teplik, Reb Nosson empathizes with the plight ailing R. Meir, expressing concern for the recipient's welfare and sends advice and blessing for a full recovery from sickness. The key sentence in the letter - central to the philosophy of Breslov Chassiduth as a whole, reads: "Joy is the remedy for all sicknesses." ("Simchah hi refu'ah lechol ha-tachlu'im.")


You know that our only strength is (our ability to pray) and I have raised my hands to God, to help you from His Holy Place... a complete and speedy recovery from Heaven, a cure for the soul and a cure for the body. But, my beloved friend, my request of you is that you strive with all your might to gladden your soul. Joy is the remedy for all sicknesses

Be strong and courageous, and trust in God who will not forsake you and all will be transformed to good. The One who creates cures will cure you and make you well and restore your health, with added might and strength, until you will have the strength to study Torah, to pray and do good deeds your whole life, with lengthy days and good years.

[These are the] words of your true friend for eternity, who awaits for His salvation all day, and [wishes to] hear good news from you quickly.

Nathan of Breslov

Biographical Data:

Reb Nosson Sternhartz (1780-1844) of Nemirov and later Breslov, was the devoted, chief disciple and right-hand man of Reb Nachman of Breslov - the most pivotal figure of the early Chassidic Movement. Following Reb Nachman's death in 1810, Reb Nosson became the leader of the Chassidim of Breslov. It is safe to say that without Reb Nosson's total devotion to preserving, developing and expanding the Breslov movement after its founder's early death, Reb Nachman’s legacy would have been utterly lost. Reb Nachman himself is said to have foretold, "Were it not for Reb Nosson, not a page of my writings would have survived." Besides his committment to the dissemination of Reb Nachman's seminal work Likutei Mohara'n, Reb Nosson authored Likutei Halachoth, a commentary on the Shulchan Aruch based on the teachings of Breslov Chassiduth, Likutei Tephiloth, and more. It was Reb Nosson who was responsible for making Uman, the Ukranian town in which Reb Nachman is buried, a focal point of Breslov Chassiduth.

Concerning the recipient of this letter:

Reb Meir of Teplik was one of Reb Nosson's closest disciples (see Avaneha Barzel, Sichos VeSipurim MiMoharanat no. 47), and many Breslover Chassidim were guided by him (Gidulei Hanachal Mem. 2). Reb Meir was first introduced to Reb Nosson by Reb Shaul of Teplik, who was known for his enthusiastic davening and hisbodedus. Afterwards, Reb Nosson raised Reb Meir to a high level of devotion (ibid. no. 58). "All those Chassidim who were disciples of the Rebbe's disciples, particularly those who were followers of Reb Nosson and did as he instructed them ... all of their hearts burned to serve Hashem and so, were Tzadikim Gemurim, such as...Reb Meir of Teplik" (see Kochvei Or, Anshei
Moharan, Pesicha no. 32). Further details concerning Reb Meir and his descendants in relation to Breslov history is available upon request. Additionally, research-work is available in regard to Reb Nosson's activities around the time this letter was written.

This letter does not appear in "Alim LeTerufah," and has remained with the Mirkis family for 170 years. For the past many decades it has lain undisturbed in a bank-vault.

Auction-estimate: $40,000-60,000

Forthcoming Auction:
February 24th, 2011

Kestenbaum & Company
Auctioneers of Rare Books, Manuscripts,
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242 West 30th Street, 12th Floor
New York, NY 10001
Tel: (212) 366.1197
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