Would You Pay $50,000 for Maran Rav Ovadia Yosef’s Gemara?


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oAfter a car dealer sold the last car used by Maran HaGaon HaRav Ovadia Yosef ZT”L for a handsome profit, it appears another item is being auctioned.

The Kedem Auction House will be offering the Shas used by Maran, published in 1949. It is among the first Gemaras published as an entire set following the Holocaust, printed by rabbonim in a refugee camp in Germany.

This particular edition was designed especially to mark the occasion of printing in Germany after the war, with illustrations of a Jewish town and a labor camp surrounded by barbed wire with the captions ‘Ashkenaz labor camp during the Nazi days”. The Gemaras were used first by Maran during his limud in Egypt in 1949 and 1950. Accompanying the set is a letter of authenticity from the family.

The auctioneer believes the set of Shas will sell for $40,000-$50,000.

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)


  1. The Shas is easily worth over $50,000. I would think a bidding war between European Jews and Sepahrdic Jews might occur. The SHas has tremendous value as a strong symbol of our nation’s eternal existance and resilience. The Shas that were printed in Germany jump started hundreds of survivor bochurim back to Torah and yiddishkeit, as well as older survivors who viewed the Shas and other seforim as a renewed lifeline to Yiddishkeit. Halevai I could afford to buy this Shas.

  2. Well, if I *had* $50K to begin with, no, not for the volumes. But, if I could obtain his *lumdus* in exchange for that sum of money, boy oh boy, you bet I would! 🙂

  3. Torah is not for “sale”! What a bizayon! A Gemorah is meant to be used with Ameiylus, not to be “sold” at an auction, to be relegated to a museum show piece behind a locked glass door!
    What a terrible lack of Kavod Hatorah!

  4. #4 Not getting involved – you go back to shteiging and leave business to those of us who are called upon to support you in your shteiging. I’m sure you will not refuse our help just because we deal in the marketplace.

  5. #4 and #5 – you have a lot to learn about the real world. There is a whole industry of buying, selling and auctioning off seforim and kisvei yodos… there is nothing wrong with it and has nothing to do with Ameilus B’Torah! Some people collect stamps, some collect coins, and some collect rebbe’s seforim or signatures. Will be interesting if they get the 40k estimate.

  6. Especially if it is complete and in good condition, with proof of past ownership it is probably a very valuable rare book. The “camp” gemaras are not all that rare at this point, but complete sets are rare, and their condition will worsen unless professionally conserved (which probably involves deacidificiation). The combination of being a “camp” gemara and ownership by someone so important makes it unique, and therefore valuable.

    Collecting rare books can be very expensive, but this will probably be valuable. Hopefully it will end up in a library that specializes in rare books, since it will require expensive steps to keep it from disintegrating.

  7. When the car was sold YWN (and others) reported that: “… members of the rav’s family are furious over the abuse of the gadol hador’s name to turn a profit. “How can one do such a thing? What a disgrace. However, we have no control over this” family members are quoted as saying in response”.

    So why are they not ‘furious over the abuse of the gadol hador’s name to turn a profit’ on these books – for which they are providing a letter of authenticity? Why is this suddenly not ‘a disgrace’?