Two items of great historic and religious value were just revealed to the public: A piece of fabric which was part of a robe worn by Rabbi Yisrael Baal Shem Tov (known as The Besht), and a pipe which once belonged to Rabbi Yaakov Yitzhak Rabinowitz.
Rabbi Yisrael Baal Shem Tov was the founder of the hassidic movement, and Rabbi Yaakov Yitzhak Rabinowitz was the founding father of the Gur hassidic sect.
Rabbi Rabinowitz is widely known as the "Yehudi Hakadosh" (Holy Jew) of Peshischa.
The two items are currently on display in the Kedem Auction House in Jerusalem, and will be put up for public auction on Tuesday.
The piece of fabric, which is part of a robe worn by the Baal Shem Tov, is fashioned of woven floral fabric. It was passed down to the descendants of the Rebbe Rabbi Haim Tirer of Czernowitz for generations as a family heirloom.
The Czernowitzer Rebbe was the author of the celebrated hassidic work Beer Mayim Haim and his daughter was married to the son of the Degel Mahane Efraim, who was the Baal Shem Tov’s grandson.
The item passed down for generations and last belonged to Mrs. Bracha Maor, a direct descendant of the Czernowitzer Rebbe Rabbi Chaim Tirer.
According to family tradition, this piece of fabric was taken from a robe worn by the Baal Shem Tov from the time he was 26 and until his passing at the age of 60. Mrs. Bracha Maor endowed the heirloom to Rabbi Efraim Gutman of Tel Aviv, whose home she frequently visited during the final years of her life.
Enclosed with the piece of fabric is a signed affirmation by the Romanian-born Tel Aviv Rabbi Efraim Gutman that he received the fabric from Mrs. Bracha Ma'or, as well as a signed affirmation by the Hussaków-Tel Aviv Rebbe Rabbi Efraim Dov Teitelbaum.
The second item up for public auction is a tobacco pipe crafted of sepiolite and silver which formerly belonged to the Yehudi HaKadosh (Holy Jew) of Peshischa.
This tobacco pipe was a family heirloom passed down by the descendants of the Yehudi HaKadosh until present times.
The pipe was first bequeathed by the Yehudi HaKadosh to his son Rabbi Nehemia of Bykhaw, after which it passed to his nephew Rabbi Avraham of Parysów, who gave it as a dowry to his granddaughter Malka and her husband Rabbi Betzalel Halevi.
Rabbi Betzalel Halevi then bequeathed the pipe to his son Rabbi Asher Ferens of Haifa, who is the father of the current owners.
The tobacco pipe has special significance in hassidic tradition, which describes the special spiritual salvations, "unifications (yichudim)," and rectifications their spiritual leaders performed while smoking their pipes.
It is told that the Ba'al Shem Tov showed his disciple Rabbi David of Ostroh the "New Heavens" he created with the "unifications" he made while smoking his pipe, and Rabbi David instantly fainted from fear.
Similarly, the Toldot Ya’akov Yosef stated prior to his passing that he “Entreated G-d that he should be rewarded for all the Torah he learned and mitzvot he fulfilled throughout his lifetime, and which his master the Ba'al Shem Tov acquired while offering ‘yichudim’ during one bout of smoking his pipe.” (Zohar, Chai Teruma, 62, 2).
According to hassidic tradition, the Yehudi HaKadosh also performed many miraculous feats while smoking his pipe, as he personally shared when his pipe was once stolen. Tiferet HaYehudi (and Zechuta D’Avraham) cite that a short while after the pipe was stolen, it returned miraculously to him.
“Once, this pipe was stolen and he was very aggrieved upon the loss of his pipe, and he expressed, ‘When I smoked my pipe, I accomplished great things and was able to draw great holy abundance for the Jewish People.’”
According to hassidic lore, the Yehudi HaKadosh then declared that his pipe would be returned to him within a short while, and indeed it reappeared. The pipe had been sold to the district governor, yet the man’s tongue filled with sores and lesions every time he tried smoking the pipe.
The Rabbi of Warsaw Rabbi Dov Berish Meislish recounted that he heard from one of Gur's rabbis that while smoking his pipe, the Yehudi HaKadosh would focus upon the same thoughts and intentions which the High Priest had reflected upon while bringing the incense offering on Yom Kippur in the Holy of Holies.