This was Rabbi Gedalia (George) Silverstone’s second book – the first was Pirchei Oviv, published in 1901. Rabbi Silverstone was born in Jasionowka, Poland, in 1871, and died in Jerusalem in 1944. He was at yeshiva in Telz and other places until 1891, when his father, Rabbi Yeshiyahu Meir Silverstone emigrated with his family to Liverpool.
Rabbi Gedalia Silverstone was appointed to his first rabbinical position, in Belfast, Northern Ireland, in 1901. He visited the United States in 1905 to sell his books and emigrated there the following year as he could not support his large family in Belfast. Later on he became very well known as the Chief Rabbi of Washington, D.C.
In America he published many books of sermons, and it has been said that he chose to publish sermons because he did not think that American Jews would read his more scholarly works.
There are two interesting Haskomos (approbations). The right-hand one is from Rabbi Yitzchak Yaakov Reines, who had Semicha (Rabbinical Ordination) from the Volozhin Yeshiva and was a Rabbi and founder of Yeshivos in Lithuania. He was a founding member of the Hovevei Zion movement. In 1893 he proposed, with Rabbi Rabbi Samuel Mohilever, a settlement in the Land of Israel that would synthesize Torah and Labour. Mohilever coined the phrase, “Mercaz Ruchani” (religious center), abbreviated as “Mizrachi.” Although the settlement did not succeed, Reines revived the Mizrachi name in 1901, for the new religious Zionist movement which he founded. In 1901 he was in Basel, Switzerland, for the fifth Zionist Congress, and it was from there that he wrote this Haskomo, before returning to Lida.
The left hand Haskomo is from Rabbi Abraham Aharon Yudelowitz, who had been a Rabbi in Manchester from 1898, and later, like Rabbi Silverstone, emigrated to the United States. I have previously written about Rabbi Yudelowitz and his life in Manchester.
In the introduction, Rabbi Silverstone explains the title of his book. The word Yeshua is a hint of the name of his father, Rabbi Yeshiyahu Meir Silverstone (originally Zilbershtein), who was then a Rabbi in Liverpool, but because of illness had not been able to write a book of his own. The word Gedola is an indication of his own name, Gedalia.
And here is a short word from Rabbi Gedalia Silversone’s brother, Rabbi brother, Rabbi Yehoshua Dov (Simon) Silverstone of Manchester, England, who was to be one of the founders of the Manchester Yeshiva in 1911: