Auction 71 - The Collection of Rabbi Prof. Daniel Sperber

Early Esther Scroll – Italy, Late 16th Century or First Half of 17th Century

Opening: $1,000
Early Esther scroll, written on gevil. [Italy, ca. late 16th century / first half of the 17th century].
The scroll was written on soft dark brown gevil; 24 lines per column. In several places, the text deviates from the Masorah. Italian-Sephardic script, combining characteristics of 14th and 15th century script (seen in the letters dalet, heh and chet) and later script (particularly seen in the letters gimmel, lamed and the final kaf). This style of script is similar to that used by 16th and 17th century Italian scribes. It is found in the writings of R. Meir "HaSofer" of Padua (a famous scribe and kabbalist, active in the 16th century - see enclosed material), and in a few of the Torah scrolls and single Torah scroll membranes extant from that time. Based on this, it seems that this scroll was written in Central or Southern Italy in the late 16th century or in the first half of the 17th century. See enclosed expert's report.
In six places, enlarged letters spell out the four-lettered Names of G-d (allusions to G-d's Name in the Book of Esther have already been mentioned in early sources, such as Kad HaKemach by Rabbenu Bachyei ben Asher ibn Halawa, in Pri Etz Chaim by R. Chaim Vital [Shaar HaPurim, Chapter 6] and in the commentary of R. Moshe Alshech on Tehillim [Chapter 118]; yet they do not mention the custom to emphasize the letters alluding to G-d's Name. This custom was common in Ashkenazi countries as early as the 18th century, however an early Italian-Sephardi scroll with these accentuations is indeed rare).‏
Enclosed is a piece of gevil of a similar color, containing the blessings of the megillah in a handwriting similar to that of the scroll (with one line of instructions written in semi-cursive script). The wording of the blessings conforms with 16th century Italian-rite machzorim.‏
Scroll + a piece of gevil (containing the blessings of the megillah). Height: 25 cm. Good-fair condition. First membrane was replaced at a later time. Stains. Damage and corrections in several places. Late wooden roller and case.
This description is based on the enclosed expert's report.
Nevi'im (The Prophets) and Scrolls