Auction 63 - Rare and Important Items

Shiviti Leaf with LaMenatze'ach Menorah Illustration, Commentaries and Segulot – Printed on Parchment by the Kabbalist Rabbi Avraham Alnakar – Livorno, 1793 – First Menorah Printed on Parchment Following the Words of the Chida

Opening: $1,500
Estimate: $4,000 - $6,000
Sold for: $2,750
Including buyer's premium
Shiviti leaf with a LaMenatze'ach Menorah, including commentaries and segulot, by the kabbalist R. Avraham Alnakar. [Livorno, 1793].
Copper-engraving on parchment, two pages side by side. At the top of the right-hand page, the Shiviti text with Holy Names appears. The center of the page is occupied by a fine illustration of the Menorah and its utensils, with Kabbalistic commentaries and allusions to the LaMenatze'ach Psalm. The left-hand page bears a horseshoe arch-shaped ornamented border, surrounded by Kabbalistic allusions.
A long passage by the author, R. Avraham Alnakar, was printed within the arch, describing the segula of the LaMenatze'ach Psalm in the form of a Menorah. He mentions the words of his close colleague, the Chida, on the importance of writing this Psalm specifically on parchment: "…to be zealous every day to recite the LaMenatze'ach BiNeginot Psalm handwritten on parchment in the form of a Menorah, since its segula is well-known… as it says in Tziporen HaShamir by the Chida…". This printing was presumably effected following the words of the Chida, the first known source recording the significance of writing the LaMenatze'ach Menorah on parchment.
R. Avraham writes that he left the Menorah branches hollow, in order to subsequently complete the verses by hand, since the verses of the Psalm need to be handwritten rather than printed. A copy exists with the Psalm filled in by hand, however in this copy, the Menorah branches remain empty, and only the first verse was inscribed above the branches.
R. Avraham further writes that he toiled extensively over the drawing of the Menorah with all its details, and instructs how and what to intend when contemplating the Menorah. He then brings ten distinctive segulot of reciting the LaMenatze'ach Psalm in form of a Menorah, especially from a handwritten one. Amongst the segulot: "Whoever sees this Psalm every day in form of a Menorah will find favor in the eyes of G-d and man…"; "If it is illustrated on the Holy Ark in a synagogue, it will protect the congregation from all harm"; "Whoever says it from a handwritten text at sunrise, no adverse incidents will occur to him"; "Whoever recites it from a handwritten text seven times - it is as if he is receiving the Shechina, and he will never lack sustenance…"; "Whoever recites it from a handwritten text during the days of the Omer counting after the blessing of the Kohanim, no harm will befall him the whole year…"; "Whoever says it seven times while travelling, will go in peace and with success", and more.
The year of printing appears at the foot of the page, at the end of his words.
R. Avraham Alnakar (1740-1803), rabbi and kabbalist, was a Torah scholar of Fez. In his travels, he reached Livorno, Italy, where he settled and became close to the Chida. In Livorno, he published a machzor with a commentary he composed, first named Machzor Katan, and later published as Zechor L'Avraham. He arranged the machzor with the assistance and guidance of the Chida. This machzor is highly widespread and was reprinted in many editions. The printing of this Menorah may have also been under the guidance or encouragement of the Chida. Toldot Gedolei Yisrael U'Geonei Italia (Neppi-Ghirondi, p. 47) mentions a "Commentary on the Menorah" printed in Livorno by R. Avraham, referring to this sheet (see: M. Narkiss, Biur al HaMenorah shel Avraham Alnakar, Kiryat Sefer 11, 4 [1935], p. 506).
[1] parchment leaf. 26X17.5 cm. Good condition. Light stains. Bound in paper wrappers with thread (with holes in the center for binding). Minor marginal tears, not affecting text.
Parchment Manuscripts – Illustrated Manuscripts, Megillot and Single Leaves
Parchment Manuscripts – Illustrated Manuscripts, Megillot and Single Leaves