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Bidding Information
Lot #    22130
Auction End Date    12/23/2008 10:22:30 AM (mm/dd/yyyy)
Title Information
Title (English)    Mishpat ha-Kotel (Western Wall)
Title (Hebrew)    משפט הכותל
Author    [Only Ed.] R. Abraham Isaac ben Gabriel Triwaks
City    Tel Aviv
Publisher    Gutenberg
Publication Date    1931
Collection Information
Independent Item    This listing is an independent item not part of any collection
Description Information
   Only edition. 164 pp. [8] illustrations octavo 220:140 mm., usual age staining. A good copy bound in later cloth boards.
   Only edition of this comprehensive work on the halakhot relevant to the Western Wall, by R. Abraham Isaac ben Gabriel Triwaks for the International Commission for the Wailing Wall. The text is accompanied by eight varied full page photographs. There is a word to the reader, beginning “whoser heart has not trembled to hear Mishpat ha-kotel, the Western Wall, the remaining remnant of our greatness, symbol of the tragedy of our people . . .” R. Triwaks continues that the purpose of the book is assemble relevant material for the reader, to evaluate and judge for himself, this work being a summation (completion) of earlier works on the subject by the author, given the tragedy seen in recent times. There is a preface on the development of the issue and the difficulties occurring in 1929. The text begins with a historical overview, encompasses the continuous holiness of the site to Jews, aggadot, and relevant issues, including the positions of other interested if negative parties.

The commission resulting in Mishpat ha-Kotel was motivated by what occurred in 1929. After the Balfour Declaration and the British Mandate had given the Jews a recognized national status in Erez Israel, they began to add national significance to the traditional religious significance of the Western Wall. The Arab mufti incited his community against the Zionists (who, he claimed, intended to seize control of the Wall) by proclaiming it a sacred Muslim site which he named after the legendary horse "Al-Burak," upon which Mohammed is supposed to have ridden to Jerusalem and which he allegedly tied to this wall during his visit. Many intercommunal conflicts about the Western Wall occurred in the 1920s. In order to antagonize the Jews the mufti ordered the opening of a gate at the southern end of the street thus converting it into a thoroughfare for passersby and animals. In addition the Muslims deliberately held loud-voiced ceremonies in the vicinity. They also complained again about the placing of accessories of worship near the Wall, and a partition (between men and women) was forcibly removed – by the British police – on the Day of Atonement 1928. In August 1929 an instigated Muslim crowd rioted among the worshipers and destroyed ritual objects and, following the excitement and unrest this created, murderous riots broke out a few days later. The British set up a committee of inquiry and consequently an international committee (consisting of a Swede, a Swiss, and a Dutchman) was appointed by the League of Nations to resolve "the problem of the Wall." Although this committee ascertained that the place was indeed holy to Jews well before the time of Saladin (i.e., 1187), this was most likely a reference to the holiness of the Temple Mount as a whole, with no clear chronological data as to the origins of the worship at the Western Wall being available to them. The committee met in Jerusalem, in the summer of 1930, and the results of "the trial of the Wall," as it became known, were as follows: (a) the Muslims had absolute ownership of the Wall; (b) the Jews had the uncontested right to worship and to place seats in the street; (c) the Jews were not to blow the shofar there. The Arabs objected. The Jews accepted, except for the prohibition to blow the shofar, which was considered a searing humiliation. Indeed, each year nationalist youths would blow the shofar near the Wall at the termination of the Day of Atonement, which would always lead to the intervention of the British police.

Paragraph 2    דין וחשבון ועדת הכותל המערבי הבין-לאומית: השתלשלות הענין; החקירות והעדויות בירושלים; התזכיר היהודי; פסק הדין; דבר המלך, עם תמונות ([מאת] י. טר.) ...
   BE mem 4258; EJ; CD-EPI 0134952
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Listing Classification
20th Century:    Checked
Israel:    Checked
Halacha:    Checked
History:    Checked
Polemics:    Checked
First Editions:    Checked
Language:    Hebrew
Manuscript Type
Kind of Judaica