Auction 63 - Rare and Important Items

Booklet Handwritten by Rabbi Refael Yeshaya Azulai – Son of the Chida – Homily for Shabbat HaGadol – Ancona, 1789 – First Sermon he Delivered After his Appointment as Rabbi of Ancona

Opening: $2,500
Estimate: $3,000 - $5,000
Booklet (9 leaves) in the handwriting of R. Refael Yeshaya Azulai, the son of the Chida and Rabbi of Ancona, homily for Shabbat HaGadol. [Ancona], 1789.
Title at top of first leaf: "Shabbat HaGadol 1789". This sermon is the first "Shabbat HaGadol sermon" delivered by R. Yeshaya Azulai in Ancona since he began his tenure in the month of Tamuz 1788. This is the draft of the sermon, with erasures, additions and revisions in the handwriting of R. Refael Yeshaya Azulai.
R. Refael Yeshaya Azulai (1740-1823) was born in Jerusalem, the eldest son of his illustrious father R. Chaim Yosef David Azulai, the Chida. A great Torah scholar, he wrote halachic responsa, some of the responsa in his book Imrei No'am were printed in his son's book Zichron Moshe and some were printed in books authored by his father, who honored and esteemed him and always mentioned him with epithets of love ("my dear son", "my firstborn son, the perfect great chacham", "the light of my eyes", "friend of my soul", etc.). In 1780, he travelled to Italy and to Western Europe as emissary of the city of Tiberias. Apparently, he also visited Germany and his father, the Chida, wrote (in his recommendation to the Ancona community) of the wealth of Torah knowledge his son acquired from the Ashkenazi Torah scholars. He concluded his mission in the city of Amsterdam in 1783 and settled there trading in books. In 1785, R. Avraham Yisrael Rabbi of Ancona died and the position of rabbi remained unfilled until the community leaders applied to the Chida in 1787, requesting his assistance in finding a suitable candidate for rabbi of the city. The Chida suggested two candidates and hinted that his son R. Refael Yeshaya is also suitable for the position. The community readily agreed and in 1788, sent R. Refael Yeshaya a letter appointing him rabbi of Ancona. However, he only arrived in Ancona in the month of Sivan and in the beginning of Tamuz began his tenure. He served as Rabbi of Ancona until his death on the 9th of Shevat 1823 (he lived 83 years like his father). He was greatly honored at his death and was mourned by his congregation for a long time after [for further information see the book by M. Benayahu on the Chida, pp. 476-487].
[9] leaves, [14] written pages. 19 cm. Good condition. Stains. Several tears. New leather binding (erroneous embossment on the spine: "Manuscript of Rabbeinu the Chida").
Enclosed is an authentication letter identifying the handwriting as that of R. Refael Yeshaya Azulai.
Oriental Rabbis – Manuscripts, Letters and Signatures