Auction 92 Part 1 Rare and Important Items

Responsa She'erit Yosef – Kraków, 1590 – First Edition

Opening: $2,500
Estimate: $4,000 - $5,000
Sold for: $3,125
Including buyer's premium

Responsa and commentaries – She'erit Yosef, by R. Yosef Katz, rabbi of Kraków (brother-in-law of the Rema). Kraków: Isaac Prostitz, [1590]. First edition.
Early handwritten inscriptions on the title page: "Elyakum son of R. Baruch Gershon of ---", "Moshe son of R. Yitzchak Aharon Wermaiz – 1700" – "I acquired this book from the community leader R. Shlomo son of R. Chaim for… so says Moshe Wermaiz" (his father R. Yitzchak Aharon Wermaiz was rabbi of Trier, Breisach and Mannheim; his approbation to the book Mekor Chaim by R. Yair Chaim Bacharach was published at the end of Responsa Chavot Yair).
The author, R. Yosef son of R. Mordechai Gershon Katz (ca. 1511-1591), rabbi of Kraków, brother-in-law of the Rema and leading Torah scholar in his times. He served as dayan in Kraków Beit Din, alongside R. Moshe Segal Landau and R. Moshe Isserles – the Rema (author of HaMapah on the Shulchan Aruch). The Rema later became his brother-in-law when he married Kreindel, the sister of R. Yosef Katz (in 1542, after the passing of the first wife of the Rema, Golda daughter of R. Shachna of Lublin). Apart from his position as dayan, R. Yosef Katz served as yeshiva dean in Kraków, and after the passing of the Rema, he was recognized as the foremost Torah disseminator and community leader in Kraków. He was reputed throughout the Jewish world as an outstanding Torah scholar, posek and halachic authority, and even his brother-in-law the Rema took his rulings into consideration and accepted his teachings. Amongst the Torah leaders who sent R. Yosef Katz their rulings and asked for his opinion was the Maharshal, who wrote of him with admiration, presenting himself as his disciple. A year before his passing, R. Yosef Katz brought to print his book She'erit Yosef, comprising for the main part responsa, as well as novellae and commentaries on the Mordechai (on various tractates) and on Tur Choshen Mishpat. She'erit Yosef spread rapidly after its publication amongst the Torah scholars of the generation, who discussed the novellae and rulings found in the book and quoted them in their works. These include his contemporaries (disciples of the Rema and the Maharsha) R. Binyamin Aharon Slonik in his book Mas'at Binyamin and R. Yehoshua Falk, the Sema, in his book Derisha UPerisha. R. Yoel Sirkis, the Bach, who succeeded him as rabbi of Kraków, mentions him in his work; followed by R. Shabtai Katz, the Shach, who discusses his teachings several times in his work on the Shulchan Aruch.

92, [2]; 32 leaves. Leaf [2] blank. 19 cm. Good condition. Stains. Minor marginal tears to several leaves. Worming, slightly affecting text. New leather binding.

The present copy contains [1] additional leaf at the end of the response part, comprising three responsa, followed by an additional blank leaf. There are other copies with a page containing an additional responsum, instead of (or pasted onto) the blank leaf. These responsa, which were only printed after the printing of the book was completed, were added to a few copies only, and were therefore not included in most subsequent editions of the book (see: Y. Yudlov, Ginzei Yisrael, no. 724).

Early Printed books
Early Printed books