Auction 86 - Part I - Rare & Important Items

Adon Chasdecha – Venice, 1609 – Mi Kamocha Piyyut by Rabbi Yehuda HaLevi, with Italian Translation

Opening: $1,000
Estimate: $1,500 - $2,500
Sold for: $2,750
Including buyer's premium
Adon Chasdecha with Italian translation. Venice: Zuan di Gara, 1609.
The book comprises the piyyut Adon Chasdecha, better known as Mi Kamocha, composed by R. Yehuda HaLevi. Text of piyyut and Italian translation in Hebrew characters on facing pages. The piyyut recounts the story of Megillat Esther, and was originally intended to be recited on Shacharit of Shabbat Zachor, after the verse Mi Kamocha shortly before the Amidah. In some communities, this Shabbat is called Shabbat Mi Kamocha after the piyyut. The piyyut is a double alphabetical acrostic, with the name of the author added after each alphabet.
The first part of the piyyut contains two stanzas beginning with the letter Resh. According to Sefer HaDorot, R. Yehuda HaLevi experienced difficulty composing a stanza for the letter Resh, and R. Avraham ibn Ezra, who disguised himself at the time as a servant in the home of R. Yehuda HaLevi, completed it for him. Upon realizing his servant's true greatness, R. Yehuda HaLevi embraced him and selected him as a groom for his daughter. R. Yehuda HaLevi later also composed a stanza for the letter Resh, and this resulted in the piyyut eventually comprising two stanzas beginning with Resh.
The piyyut was cherished by many communities, and over the years, it served as a model for many other piyyutim, all beginning with Mi Kamocha and commemorating various local miracles (these are known as Mi Kamocha piyyutim).
In the present printing, the name of the piyyut Mi Kamocha was omitted, and the title given is Adon Chasdecha. This may reflect the move of the piyyut from its original location in the prayers. The recital of the piyyut between Kriyat Shema and the Amidah prayers aroused the halachic problem of an interruption in the prayers, and over the years, the piyyut was relocated to various places in the prayers. In 1586, the piyyut was printed in the press of Zuan di Gara, under the title of Mi Kamocha, to be recited between Mi Sheberach and Ashrei on the Shabbat preceding Purim. Though the piyyut was not anymore recited after Mi Kamocha, it retained the name Mi Kamocha in that printing. Several decades later, in the present printing (by the same printer), the name Mi Kamocha was omitted from the title page and piyyut, and the piyyut was titled instead Adon Chasdecha, after its opening words. Nevertheless, the piyyut is known until this day as Mi Kamocha.
16 leaves. 15 cm. Good condition. Stains, including dark stains. Inscriptions. New parchment binding, slipcased.
Siddurim and Prayer Books, Bibles, Talmud
Siddurim and Prayer Books, Bibles, Talmud