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Bidding Information
Lot #    34780
Auction End Date    7/17/2012 10:43:00 AM (mm/dd/yyyy)
Title Information
Title (English)    Letter by R. Joseph Kahaneman, Ponevezher Rav
Title (Hebrew)    כתב מה'ר יוסף כהנמן מפוניבז'
Author    [Ms.]
City    Bnai Berak
Publication Date    1951
Collection Information
Independent Item    This listing is an independent item not part of any collection
Description Information
   [1] p., 212:134 mm., light age staining, creased on folds, typewritten on stationary, signed in ink, and dated.
   Letter signed by R. Joseph Kahaneman, Ponevezher Rav, (1888–1969), rabbi and yeshiva head, founder of the talmudic educational complex in Bene Brak, Israel. As a young man, R. Kahaneman studied in the yeshiva of Telz. The rosh ha-yeshivah, R. Eliezer Gordon, had a lifelong influence on R. Kahaneman. For ever after, whenever R. Kahaneman made reference to "der rov," he meant Rabbi Gordon. After Telz, he spent a short time in the musar yeshivah of Navarodok. From there he went to join the kolel of the Hafez Hayyim in Radin. It was there that R. Kahaneman became close with R. Elhanan Wasserman and R. Hayyim Soloveitchik of Brisk. In 1910 he married the daughter of another famous Lithuanian rabbi, R. Aryeh Leib Rubin. In 1916 he was appointed head of the yeshivah of Grodno, where his outstanding organizing abilities soon became evident. Possessed of a dynamic and winning personality, he devoted himself not only to the development of the yeshiva, but also to the establishment of similar centers of learning throughout Lithuania, among them a preparatory yeshiva in Ponevezh. On the death of R. Isaac Rabinowitz, the rabbi of Ponevezh, in 1919, R. Kahaneman was appointed his successor. He opened a yeshivah which after the attainment of Lithuania's independence became one of the largest in the country. In addition to his preoccupation with the yeshiva, in which he lectured twice a week, and whose material needs he personally looked after, R. Kahaneman was active in many spheres of communal endeavor. He was a leader of Agudat Israel and an elected member of the Lithuanian parliament. He established a Talmud Torah attended by 400 children and a preparatory yeshiva to serve as a feeder for the main institution.

R. Kahaneman was on a mission abroad when World War II broke out. In 1940 he settled in Erez Israel and from there directed efforts, in vain, toward the rescue of Lithuanian Jewry from the Nazis. Most of his family perished in the Holocaust. Thereafter, he devoted himself to reestablishing in Erez Israel a network of Torah institutions. In 1943 he established Batei Avot, an orphanage for refugee children. At the end of 1944 he laid the foundation of the Ponevezh Yeshiva in Bene Brak with seven students. Over the years, he traveled throughout the Jewish world to enlist financial support for his ambitious venture. The result was Kiryat Ponevezh, where more than 1,000 students have studied and which has included hostels for children and adults, a large library, and a memorial to Lithuanian Jewry. He instituted the yarHei kallah, an annual summer refresher course in talmudic studies for adults. All this, he stated, he did "with 21 fingers," those of his hands and feet and the finger of G-d. In later years, he established a branch yeshiva in the development town of Ashdod. He was widely revered among all sections of the population. The Ponevezh Yeshiva in Bene Berak and its sister institution in Ashdod have thrived along with the communities R. Kahaneman built around them. In 1989 and again in 2003, collections of Kahaneman's writings and lectures were published, Kovez Shi'urim ve-Hidushei Torah and Sefer Divrei ha-Rav, respectively.

   A. Avnon (ed.), Ishim be-Yisrael (1966), 154; D. Lipez et al. (eds.), Sefer Yahadut Lita (1960), index; S. Kol, Ehad be-Doro, 2 vols. (1970); A. Sorasky, Ha-Rav mi-Ponevezh, 3 vols. (1999); Y. Schwartz, Ha-Rav mi-Ponevezh (1997); EJ
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Listing Classification
19th Century:    Checked
Israel:    Checked
Language:    Hebrew
Manuscript Type
Letters:    Checked
Kind of Judaica