Auction 42 - Rare and Important Items

The Maharanach Responsa, Constantinople 1610 – Scholarly Glosses in the Handwriting of Rabbi Avraham Rozanis I, Father-in-law and Teacher of the Mishne LaMelech – Signature of Rabbi Avraham Alkalai Author of Zechor L'Avraham

Opening: $5,000
The Maharanach book of responsa, Volume 1, by Rabbi Eliyahu Ibn Chaim. Constantinople, [c. 1610]. First edition.
Approximately seven long scholarly glosses in the characteristic and well-known handwriting of Rabbi Avraham Rozanis, teacher and father-in-law of the Mishne LaMelech. The glosses are written with the use of sharp expressions and Rabbi Rozanis ardently argues with the words of the author ("I was not able to understand what is behind his words", "The rabbi's thoughts are not clear to me", "I do not know what this is" and other such sharp language). On the other hand, one can also discern his acquiescence to the words of the author and the extent to which he toiled to understand his intention (for example, in several glosses he explains the depth of the "intention of the rabbi". See the gloss on Leaf 84/a where he argues with the author's grandson, the author of Pnei Moshe on the explanation of the words of his grandfather and he writes at length to prove that the Ra'anach meant something else).
On the first leaf is the signature of Rabbi "Avraham Alkalai" author of Zechor L'Avraham, and on the line above, his son Rabbi Shmuel Alkalai adds his signature "Shmuel".
The renowned Rabbi Avraham (ben Rabbi Meir) Rozanis (1535-1620), known by the name Rabbi Avraham Rozanis the first, was one of the greatest and most resilient Torah scholars in Constantinople in his days, at the time that this city was one of the greatest centers of Torah knowledge. He was a disciple of Rabbi Shlomo HaLevi HaZaken (the Elder) and Rabbi Yom Tov Tzahalon (the Maharitz). From his youth, he was famous for his great wisdom and all the Torah scholars of Constantinople accepted his opinions. He served as a vizier in the court of the royal house of the Sultan. In 1659, he was forced to move with the king's court to the city of Adrianople where he lived until 1677. He was praised throughout the Ottoman Empire and during the time he lived in Adrianople he received a letter from Rabbi Yosef Kitzvi who wrote: "Avraham is just one, the height of our glory…and he was wiser than all men" (the Mahari Kitzvi responsa, Siman a). Rabbi Ya'akov Alfandari wrote about him as well: "… Giant, head and shoulders above all…the complete Torah scholar…" (ibid, Siman b).
He was one of the staunchest fighters against the false Messiah Sabbatai Zevi and his signature heads the rest of the rabbis' signatures on the renowned letter sent to the communities in Turkey warning them not to follow his order to cancel the fast of Tisha B'Av. He himself met with Sabbatai Zevi when he arrived in Adrianople and was imprisoned by the Sultan and it was then that Sabbatai Zevi admitted to him that Natan HaAzati led him astray with his "prophecies".
The daughter of Rabbi Avraham Rozanis married his great disciple his nephew Rabbi Yehuda Rozanis author of the Mishne LaMelech who repeatedly quotes his illustrious father-in-law “The rabbi my uncle”. A few of his responsa were printed in books written by great Torah scholars of his generation but he wrote his main Torah novellae as glosses and marginalia on the sheets of his books. After his death, all his books with their glosses were inherited by his great son-in-law author of Mishne LaMelech and many of his novellae were printed in the book Mishne LaMelech arranged for printing by Rabbi Ya’akov Kuli author of Me’am Lo’ez.
The Chida in his book Shem HaGedolim writes: “In several place where thoughts are written in a short form in the book Mishne LaMelech and especially when he writes disagreeing with the later Torah authorities, these are not his own thoughts but they are the words of his father-in-law Rabbi Avraham Rozanis and the rabbi copied the words of his father-in-law from the sheets and Rabbi Ya’akov Kuli found these handwritten glosses and thought that they were the Torah of the Mishne LaMelech. This I have learned directly from the elder rabbis”.
The Chida further writes in Shem HaGedolim for the entry Rabbi Avraham Rozanis: “Rabbi Avraham Rozanis the first…father-in-law of the Mishne LaMelech, was a great Torah scholar (Sinai v’oker harim) and wrote extensively on the sheets of books and all the short strong words in the Mishne LaMelech on the Maharshach originate from this rabbi and his son-in-law has copied them into his book. The person who arranged the book [Rabbi Ya’akov Kuli] thought that this is his Torah (the Mishne LaMelech) and I have seen the book Gedolei Teruma and it is almost entirely copied from the rabbi’s disagreement written on the sheets of the book. Also in the Maharitz responsa, he wrote sharp words of disagreement…”
Rabbi Avraham Alkalai (1759-1811) was born in Thessaloniki and was a disciple of Rabbi Yosef Ibn Ya’ish. In 1780, he ascended to Eretz Israel and settled in Safed. He wrote the Chesed L’Avraham responsa and his famous Zechor L’Avraham (halachic rulings in alphabetical order) became one of the basic books for studying Halacha and is mentioned often in the books of the poskim.
His son Rabbi Shmuel Alkalai, a rabbi in Tiberias, [mentioned in the introduction to the book Chesed L’Avraham Thessaloniki 1813], signed with Tiberias rabbis on the emissary writ of Rabbi Yehuda Nechmad from 1831.
184 leaves (lacking title page and index, and without the novellae on Tractate Ketubot. Originally: 6, 272 leaves). 29.5 cm. Good-fair condition, moisture stains and wear. Few worm holes. Elaborate leather binding.
Enclosed is an authorization by experts identifying the handwriting as that of Rabbi Avraham Rozanis.
Rare and Important Items