SNEERSON, HAYIM ZVI. Palestine and Roumania. A Description of the Holy Land, and the Past and Present State of Roumania and the Roumanian Jews.

AUCTION 6 | Tuesday, November 17th, 1998 at 1:00
Fine Judaica: Books, Manuscripts and Works of Art The Property of Various Owners

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Lot 16

SNEERSON, HAYIM ZVI. Palestine and Roumania. A Description of the Holy Land, and the Past and Present State of Roumania and the Roumanian Jews.

Full-length frontispiece portrait of the Author. pp.(2),168. Lightly discolored. Original boards, broken, lacking backstrip. 8vo Singerman 2362; Rubens 2277

New York: Hebrew Orphan Asylum Printing Establishment 1872

Est: $2,000 - $3,000
Hayim Zvi Sneersohn of Jerusalem, a fouth-generation descendant of R. Schneur Zalman of Liadi - the founder of Chabad Chassidism, undertook far-reaching fund-raising missions to both the Near and Far East on behalf of Colel Chabad and others. Whilst on these lengthy trips he conceived the notion that the Redemption of the Jews would come about, not through Messianic forces, but in a natural way, beginning with small gestures and eventually resulting in the complete Redemption of the Jewish People in their Land. Sneersohn felt that in order to realize his plan, he must obtain the active assistance of the Gentile Nations of the world, to garner not just financial support from Jews but also aid and encouragement from Christian political and ecclesiastic leaders. After having been successfully feted in Australia, he travelled to America, where he was honored with the opportunity to meet and later correspond with President Ulysses Grant. Later, he was even granted citizenship of the United States. The present volume records a selection of letters and articles on the Jewish presence in Eretz Israel, “delivered by the Author during his sojourn in the United States, before intelligent and appreciative audiences in different large cities of this glorious Union.” The book also details journeys by Sneersohn to Egypt, Persia, India andAustralia, as well as an attempted mission to China. The volume concludes with Sneersohn’s towering efforts to focus the attention of America upon the tribulations suffered by the Jews of Rumania. “My faith in the liberality of this blessed land, and above all in the mercy of the Lord my God, was not shaken. I knew that the Government of this country would not be deaf to any cry for help in the cause of humanity and justice.” Indeed Sneersohn’s efforts resulted in President Grant appointing a Jewish consul to Rumania, Benjamin P. Peixotto, to effect relief for the suffering Jews. Among several approbations at the beginning of the volume is a surprising invitation from Brigham Young, affording Sneersohn the opportunity to address the Mormon Congregation in their Temple in Salt Lake City, Utah. Upon his return to the Holy Land, Sneersohn discovered his activities had aroused the opposition of the communal heads in Jerusalem, and therefore he felt compelled to leave. He went to South Africa, where he died in 1882. It seems clear that Sneersohn was unaware of the thinking and writings of others, such as Alkalai and Kalischer who were working in the same proto-Zionist direction. Sneersohn apparantly seems to be a philosophic-precusor to the late 20th century Chabad notion of broadly disseminating a pro-active Jewish Messianic message to the world at large. See I. Klausner, Rabbi Chaim Zvi Schneerson (1943); and Yaari, Sheluchei Eretz Yisrael pp.816-19.