The black pants of Rabbi Haim Kanievsky, who died last year at the age of 94, were supposed to be auctioned off on March 1, with the starting bid set for NIS 11,000.
The auction's website, managed by the US firm Prime Judaica based in Lakewood, New Jersey, specializing in selling Judaica, included a photo of a note signed by Kanievsky's grandson, Rabbi Gedalia Honigsberg, which confirmed the pants' authenticity.
The note says that "the black pants made by the company Shay Saul with the tear at the bottom" were worn by the rabbi for a long time. New Shay Saul pants cost around NIS 77.
The pants were later removed from the site last Friday, 10 minutes after The New York Post sent the auctioneers a press query regarding the pants.
What did prospective buyers think about Kanievsky's pants?
They didn't respond to questions regarding why they pulled the pants from the website – a move that sparked discontent from potential buyers.
"We demand they put the pants back on," said art dealer Israel Clapman, who wanted to buy the pants to either sell them at a profit or to rent them out to people who may want to get married while wearing Rabbi Kanievsky's pants.
However, there were many who didn't like the idea from the start.
"I understand if it's his hat, his tzitzit, or [tallit, prayer shawl] or his tefillin, but pants I find to be very repulsive."Abe Kugielsky
"I understand if it's his hat, his tzitzit, or [tallit, prayer shawl] or his tefillin, but pants I find to be very repulsive," Judaica-specialty auction house manager Abe Kugielsky explained. "Imagine if they auctioned off the Pope's sock."
Judaica collector Rabbi David Bashevkin said he was worried people were commercializing the late rabbi.
"I could feel fairly confident that the legacy [Rabbi] Haim Kanievsky would want people to spend their money on would not be his clothes, but on sharing and analyzing his Torah and his religious ideas," Bashevkin told The New York Post.
The collector's market for rabbinical items has been around for a long time and it usually sells items of spiritual significance, like Kiddush cups and tallit accessories.
In 2019, religious texts with Rabbi Kanievsky's comments sold for thousands of dollars while he still lived.
Some commentators claim the clothes that a rabbi wore while studying Torah are considered holy.