64 133 GRODZENSKI, CHAIM OZER (Spiritual leader of Lithuanian Jewry, 1863-1940). Autograph Letter Signed, written in Hebrew on letterhead to Rabbi Dr. Yitzhak Unna of Mannheim (1872-1948). Written at at time in which Nazi law in Germany had created intense difficulties for religious life, this is an historically important response to Rabbi Unna’s earlier plea to R. Chaim Ozer, seeking Halachic leniency that would permit electroshock-stunning of animals prior to Shechitah. One page. Folio. Vilna, Friday, Parshath Terumah [4th February], 1938. $2000 - $3000 ❧ Immediately following their rise to power, the Nazi government forbade Kosher slaughter (Shechitah) throughout Germany. Several prominent German rabbis (including Rabbis Unna and Yechiel Ya'akov Weinberg) proposed a solution in which the animal would undergo electroshock prior to its ritual slaughter. This proposal was rejected as halachically unacceptable by R. Chaim Ozer Grodzenski of Vilna, the widely acknowledged "Posek Hador" (halachic decisor of the generation). However due to concern over food scarcity among the Jews in Germany Rabbi Unna persisted to plead for a lenient ruling over the proposal of nitrogen stunning (“Chenkin”) prior to Shechitah. Indeed Unna wrote a sharp letter (published posthumously in his Sho’alim Vedorshin pp. 36-7) bitterly complaining that a lenient decision was ruled out solely due to R. Chaim Ozer’s opposition. The present letter is R. Chaim Ozer’s response. He commences: “Whose heart is not distressed due to the the terrible situation of the Jews in Germany where Shechitah has been prohibited… However you are mistaken in placing the blame on my neck. There are absolutely no Halachic authorities who will permit stunning. Over forty years ago when Shechitah was banned in Switzerland, none of the senior Gedolei HaDor at the time would permit stunning. The new proposal to permit anesthetic stunning utilizing nitrogen, is based upon tests performed by Rabbi Zuber in Stockholm and is still being investigated by Rabbi Dr. Ze’ev Tzvi Klein of Berlin. In any event, I am told by Rabbi Klein that the German government will not permit [Shechitah even with] nitrogen stunning… It is true as you say, this question entails great responsibility. Thus, as one who has the yoke… upon himself, I take on this enormous responsibility.” For more on this issue see the responsa of R. Chaim Ozer published in Achiezer Vol. 4 (1986) pp. 28-29 (this letter unpublished). See also Y.Y. Weinberg, Seridei Esh Vol. 1 (1977) pp. 9-172; M. B. Shapiro, Between the Yeshiva World and Modern Orthodoxy: The Life and Works of Rabbi Jehiel Jacob Weinberg (1999) pp. 119-29; Y.Y. Zuber, Gefen Yisrael (2019) pp. 107-175. 134 WEINBERG, YECHIEL YA’AKOV. (Rosh Yeshiva of the Hildesheimer Seminary in Berlin, Author of Seridei Esh. 1884- 1966). Two Autograph Letters Signed, written in Hebrew on Rabbiner-Seminar letterhead to Rabbi Dr. Yitzhak Unna of Mannheim (1872-1948). Both letters unpublished concerning the Halachic response to the Nazi ban on Shechitah in Germany. One page; and two pages. Folio. Berlin, 34th day of the Omer, 1934, and Sunday, Parshat Vayetzei, 1935. $1000 - $1500 ❧ (For historical context see previous lot). The first letter reports the receipt of correspondence from Rabbi Eliezer Yehudah Finkel of Mir concerning the decision reached at a meeting of Roshei Yeshivoth in Vilna not to permit the stunning of animals prior to Shechitah. However, if the German rabbis decide to allow it, they will not protest. Rabbi Weinberg passionately defends himself in the second letter, noting how much he has already invested seeking a resolution to the Shechitah matter, including traveling to meet rabbinic colleagues in Poland and Lithuania, hoping to find a consensus. As for the sudden announcement whereby R. Chaim Ozer outright prohibits animal stunning, R. Weinberg states that it surprised him as well. R. Weinberg surmises that is due to the fact that he had personally informed R. Chaim Ozer he was about to publish his ruling that permits stunning, in response to which, R. Chaim Ozer requested R. Weinberg desist. “If this is not possible then I should announce I am rescinding my opinion and agree with the Gedolim that [stunning] is prohibited. - I am not responsible for the actions of R. Chaim Ozer who is besieged with letters and telegrams from across the world. I must close my mouth so as not to cause strife and conflict. I hope that you will justify my actions.”