Lot 1

Sefer HaRokeach – Fano, 1505 – First Hebrew Book Printed with a Title Page

Opening: $9,000
Estimate: $10,000 - $15,000
Sold for: $20,000
Including buyer's premium

Sefer HaRokeach, composed by R. Elazar [of Worms] son of R. Yehuda. [Fano: Gershom Soncino, Erev Pesach 1505]. First edition.
A foremost work on halachah and ethics.
According to many bibliographers, this is the first Hebrew book to be printed with a title page. The title page states in large characters: "Sefer HaRokeach composed by R. Elazar son of R. Yehuda"; and in smaller characters: "Proofread with great precision by… R. Yehuda Yaaleh of Pesaro".
The author, R. Elazar of Worms (ca. 1160-1234), was a kabbalist and halachic authority, one of the Tosafists. He was a disciple of his father's cousin R. Yehuda HaChassid, and of his father R. Yehuda son of R. Kalonymus of Mainz. He composed many works, in halachah, Biblical commentary, ethics and kabbalah, yet was primarily known for his illustrious work, the Rokeach, which he composed after his wife and children were murdered in his presence (the numerical value of Rokeach is equal to that of his name, Elazar, as he writes in his preface). Sefer HaRokeach contains halachic rulings and customs, and serves as an important source for many rulings of the early Tosafists and Ashkenazi Torah scholars in the 12th century. It encompasses a variety of fields and Talmudic topics – halachic pilpul, customs, reasons of halachot, ethics, and more.
The book was recognized as a primary source on halachah and custom, and had a great impact on halachic literature. Thus, its teachings spread and became accepted throughout the Diaspora. The Pnei Yehoshua writes that he greatly rejoiced when his opinion followed that of the illustrious Baal HaRokeach, who merited Divine Inspiration (Megillah 16a); the Bnei Yissaschar similarly mentioned that the Rokeach received revelations from Eliyahu HaNavi (essays of Kislev-Tevet, essay 2, section 2).
Inscriptions in Italian script on the title page. Several glosses and emendations in Italian script.
Censorship deletions (several leaves with extensive deletions), censor's signature on final page: "Camillo Jaghel 1619".

[109] leaves. 30 cm. Good condition. Stains, including dampstains. Marginal worming to several leaves. Minor marginal open tears to several leaves. Marginal paper repairs to first leaves. Old, elegant leather binding, with gilt decorations (new endpapers), slipcased. Minor blemishes and worming to binding.

Early Printed books
Early Printed books