Sunday, March 31, 2019

Ohr Ha'Chaim's Handwritten Torah Notes Being Auctioned Tomorrow : $300,000.00 Opening Bid

On Monday, April 8, there will be a special auction with collectors' items the likes of which have almost never been seen in recent years. Chief among them is a precious manuscript by the Ohr HaChaim HaKadosh.

The lot is the Rosh Mashbir authored by the great sage Moshe Birdugo ztz"l, written in manuscript by him and his great disciples, with the Ohr HaChaim most prominent among them. The volume was written after 1721, as evident from the content of the eulogies contained in the work. The manuscript opens with a title page and an introduction by the author. At its conclusion, the author praises the Ohr HaChaim's father-in-law. Leaves 16-37 feature a compilation of the author's Torah handwritten by Rabbeinu Chaim Ben-Attar, the author of Ohr HaChaim, the author's great disciple.

Rabbeinu Chaim Ben-Attar 1696-1743 [תנ"ו – תק"ג], is known as the "Ohr HaChaim" or the "Ohr HaChaim HaKadosh" per the name of his renowned work on the Torah. He was one the greatest biblical commentators from the period of the Acharonim, a Talmudic commentator, a kabbalist and a posek. For most of his life, he lived in Morocco and was primarily known amongst Moroccan Jewry. He ascended to Eretz Yisroel at the age of 43, and printed his famous work as he passed through Italy, earning himself a prominent reputation throughout the Jewish diaspora. After a while, he settled in Jerusalem, where he established his yeshivah, Midrash Knesset Yisrael. He passed away in 1743.

Rabbi Chaim Ben-Attar was admired by Chassidic leaders. This reverence for a Sephardic sage was quite unusual for Polish and Ukrainian Chassidim and was reserved for exceptional characters. It is told that the Besh"t sensed the passing of the Ohr HaChaim from his place in Podolia, when he whispered: "The light of the West has been extinguished." He even called Rabbi Chaim Ben-Attar "Chad B'Dara" [unique in the generation].

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