Auction 42 - Rare and Important Items

Manuscript, Midrash HaChefetz – Yemen, 16th Century – Signature of Rabbi Yichye Yitzchak HaLevi – Chief Rabbi of Yemen

Opening: $6,000
Sold for: $10,000
Including buyer's premium
Manuscript, Midrash HaChefetz, by Rabbi Zecharya ben Shlomo "the doctor". [Yemen, 16th century]. Midrash HaChefetz is a midrashic composition on the Torah and on the Haftarot written by Rabbi Zecharya the Doctor [also called the Raze], a leading Yemenite sage of the 15th century. The work was written in Judeo-Arabic, the language commonly spoken by Yemenite Jews.
A thick volume, ancient Yemenite writing on high-quality paper. Titles in red and green ink. Two illustrations of Noah's ark (in red and black ink) appear on Page [64]. On Page [116] is an illustration of Ma'arat HaMachpela (Cave of the Patriarchs). Several marginalia. Under the illustration of Noah's ark is a long marginalia in Judeo-Arabic, with a curly signature.
This is one of the earliest manuscripts of this composition. The manuscript belonged to Rabbi Yichye Yitzchak HaLevi (1867-1932), Ra’avad of Sana’a and Chief Rabbi of Yemen and one of the great leaders of Yemenite Jewry who signed the manuscript in his own handwriting [Page 321]. He estimated that this manuscript was written in the 16th century: “This book Midrash HaChefetz was written more than 400 years ago, Yichye ben Rabbi Moshe HaLevi” [curly signature].
[682] pages (the manuscript begins at the end of the introduction and at the beginning of Sefer Bereshit and ends at Parshat Ki Tavo). 24 cm. Varied condition of leaves. Most leaves are in good condition, some in fair condition. Few leaves are in poor condition (some were restored by mounting). Spotting, wear and tears at the margins. New binding.
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Rare and Important Items