Auction 42 - Rare and Important Items

Chemdat Yamim on the Torah – A Volume Handwritten by the Author Rabbi Shalom Shabazi – Yemen, C. 1658

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Manuscript, Chemdat Yamim, Midrash on the Torah – Bereshit-Shemot, in the handwriting of the author, a leading Yemenite poet and a great Torah scholar, Rabbi Shalom Shabazi. Yemen, [c. 1658].
This volume has more than 300 pages in the author's handwriting. Begins in mid Lech Lecha and ends with Parshat Mishpatim.
Watermarks on paper: crown, star and moon one above another and the initials M.C. An identical mark has been found in a Jerusalem manuscript – The National Library of Israel Ms. AP Ar. 499 from 1658.
Rabbi Shalom (Shalem) Shabazi – the Rashash (1719-1795), called by Yemenite Jews Abba Shalom Shabazi. A leading Yemenite poet, a wonder-worker tsaddik, Torah scholar and Kabbalist and the Torah figure most revered by Yemenite Jewry. Born in the village of Najd al-Walid near Ta'izz in Southern Yemen, to the Mashtā family which was renowned for its lineage of Torah scholars and scribes. In his youth, he moved to Sana and studied in one of its yeshivot. Afterward, he returned to the city of Ta'izz where he lived and was active until his death. Rabbi Shalom Shabazi was exceedingly proficient in all parts of the Torah, revealed and hidden, in Kabbalah and philosophy and was one of the most prolific writers of his times. He dealt in practical kabbalah as well and was an expert in astronomy. He is especially famous for his abundant poems and piyutim – over one thousand, today more than five hundred survived – with deep kabbalistic secrets and remazim. His poems and piyutim are recited by Yemenite Jews on Shabbat and festivals, at se'udot mitzvah and at every stage of life.
Stories of wonders and miracles told about Rabbi Shabazi are common among Yemenite Jews. One story told is that every Erev Shabbat he had a miraculous Kvitzat HaDerech (instant arrival at a destination) and he would arrive in Eretz Israel to spend the Shabbat, once in Jerusalem, another time in Tiberias or in Acre or Hebron and on Motzei Shabbat he would return to his country. Rabbi Ya'akov Sapir who visited Yemen writes that he saw written explicitly in a composition by Rabbi Shalom Shabazi that "I was in Jerusalem and saw such and such and in Safed, I saw such and such…". In one of his poems he writes: "My heart is in Yemen, just my soul has flown to the Land of Israel…". He is celebrated for many miracles which he performed for the salvation of the general public and for individuals such as curing the ill and the childless. Among other works, he wrote the book Goral HaChol on practical kabbalah so that the Jews of his times would not be led astray by non-Jewish wonder-workers. His grave in the city of Ta'izz is famous as a holy site and Yemenite Jews would visit it each year.
One of his most important works is the book Chemdat Yamim on the Torah. This book is a midrash on the Torah according to pshat, drash, philosophy and kabbalah, compiled from various sources [including sources unknown today], arranged in his language and style. The first time he had written the book was in 1746 at the age of 27 but he later wrote other expanded editions (in one place he writes that he added “ten times” the first edition). A few copies of this work are known, (handwritten by Rabbi Shalom Shabazi), some are abridged versions of the Mahadura Kama. This manuscript is from the last edition of the book and includes glosses and additions by the author, integrated in “windows” inside the text with the opening initials Taf and Tet standing for “An additional explanation”. There are significant differences between the manuscript and the printed editions.
181 leaves. Missing leaves at the beginning and at the end. Several missing leaves in the body of the manuscript. Varying condition among the leaves, fair-good. Spotting, traces of moisture and wear, worm damages, coarse tears on several leaves and tears on leaf edges. Detached leaves and signatures. Without binding.
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Rare and Important Items