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Bidding Information
Lot #    22168
Auction End Date    12/23/2008 10:41:30 AM (mm/dd/yyyy)
Title Information
Title (English)    Letter by R. Moses Zevulun Margolies
Title (Hebrew)    כתב מה'ר משה זבולן מרגליות
Author    [Ms.]
City    Boston
Publication Date    1900
Collection Information
Independent Item    This listing is an independent item not part of any collection
Description Information
   [1] p., 280:216 mm., light age staining, creased on folds, ink on stationary, neat Ashkenazic script, , signed and dated.
   R. Moses Zevulun Margolies (1851–1936), U.S. Orthodox Rabbi. Rabbi Margolies was born in the small Lithuanian city of Meretz, not far from Kovna and Slobodka. On his father's side, he was the grandson of Rabbi Abraham Margolies, chief of the bet din of Telshe, and of Rabbi Wolf Altschul, chief of the bet din of Lutzan who traced his lineage to Rashi. On his mother's side, he was the grandson of Reb Eliyahu Krosczer, the brother-in-law of the Vilna Gaon. Ordained by his uncle and by Rabbi Yom Tov Lippman Halpern, the rabbi of Bialystok in the year 1876. He served as rabbi of Sloboda for 12 years. In 1889 he was invited to assume the chief rabbinate of Boston. In 1906 he was called to the rabbinate of Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun in New York, a post which he held until his death. His primary occupation was study. The Talmud was always open on the dining room table. He began study at five in the morning and he would make a siyyum on the completion of the whole Talmud every year on the yahrzeit of his mother. It meant that he covered seven pages of the Talmud every day. Rabbi Margolies introduced the system which supervised the distribution of kosher meat in New York City. He served as president of the Union of Orthodox Rabbis of the United States and Canada. He founded the New York Kehillah and the Central Relief Committee (later absorbed by the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee). An early Zionist, Rabbi Margolies was a member of the Mizrachi Organization of America. He also served as president of the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Yeshiva (which ultimately became Yeshiva University) for several years, presiding over the ordination of a generation of Orthodox rabbis.

Gifted with a sharp and crisp wit, he used it not to entertain people but to drive home a point and to help solve a problem. He was consulted by people of all religious persuasions on both personal matters and communal issues. On one occasion, he was consulted by the impresario Meyer Weisgal who had scheduled a performance of "The Romance of a People" at the Polo Grounds in New York on a Saturday night in late August which coincided with the first seliḥot (penitential service). The performance was to start 8:00 in the evening which, at that season of year, would involve violating the Sabbath. Weisgal wanted the rabbi to grant absolution for the Sabbath violation. "Mr. Weisgal," the rabbi responded, "You came to the wrong Moses; I would have to refer you to the original Moses. He was the one who gave us the Sabbath." A wise and witty observation ended the inquiry.

His last public appearance just months before his death was at a Madison Square Garden rally against Hitler's Nuremberg laws. He had to be carried on to the stage. His hands trembled, but his voice never wavered, as he read his message. When he finished, 20,000 people rose to their feet in reverence and appreciation. He was known to many as the RaMaZ (an acronym for Rabbi Moses Zevulun).

   Lookstein, Haskel. "Margolies, Moses Zevulun." ; EJ
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Listing Classification
19th Century:    Checked
America-South America:    Checked
Language:    Hebrew
Manuscript Type
Letters:    Checked
Kind of Judaica