Auction 62
Books, Manuscripts, Rabbinical Letters, Ceremonial Art

Lot Number 23

Responsa Binyamin Ze’ev – Venice, 1538 – Corrections in the Author’s Handwriting

Unsold
Opening
1,400$
Lot Number 23

Responsa Binyamin Ze’ev – Venice, 1538 – Corrections in the Author’s Handwriting

Binyamin Ze'ev, Halachic responsa and rulings, Parts 1-2, by R. Binyamin Ze'ev ben R. Matitya. [Venice]: Daniel Bomberg, [1538].
This copy contains corrections in the author's handwriting: corrections appear on pp. 260a, 405b and 501b in R. Binyamin Ze'ev's handwriting, and a lengthy addition in his handwriting appears on p. 456b, signed with the following words: "So it seems to me, the layman" (as R. Binyamin Ze'ev commonly refers to himself in his book).
Apart from these notes, there are three scholarly notes by a different writer, two of which are signed: "A.Y." (pp. 200a, 302a, 504a).
This book was brought to print by its author, R. Binyamin Ze'ev ben Matitya of Arta, Greece, one of the greatest halachic authorities of his generation, and was the first book of halachic responsa to be published by its author. The book aroused great controversy due to several halachic decisions it contains which some leading Italian rabbis strongly contested, and R. Binyamin was dismissed from his position as rabbi of Arta in its wake. Some changes were made during the printing, including the omission of sections 255-256 (at the end of Part 1) "in order to maintain peace", and their replacement with two leaves of new text. The book was proofread by R. Binyamin Ze'ev alone, as he writes in the colophon at the end of the book, and the great trouble this entailed caused mistakes to creep into the printing. After the initial printing, R. Binyamin Ze'ev proofread and corrected some of the copies by hand.
Great importance has been ascribed to this book in halachic literature, though some halachic authorities banned it following the opposition it aroused. It is interesting to quote the words of the Maharshal, his contemporary, who contested one of the halachic decisions in the book, and relates to the errors which in his opinion crept into the book: "If he is righteous, why did G-d allow an error to come about through him? Was he not the writer, who brought the book to print in person?". The Rema, however, lists the author among the greatest halachic authorities and relies upon his decisions. (About the book, the controversy it aroused and the differences between the copies, see: Meir Benayahu, Introduction to Sefer Binyamin Ze'ev, Jerusalem, 1989).
Copy lacking beginning of Part 1 and end of Part 2: 81-367, [2], 376-399, 399-573 leaves. (Missing leaves 1-80 at the beginning of the book, and last 2 leaves at the end of Part 2, in the middle of the eulogy on the author's son). 20 cm. Good-fair condition. Thick, high-quality, light-colored paper. Stains. Wear to some of the leaves. Worming in several places. The lengthy glosses are trimmed. A loose gathering in the middle of the book. Acidic adhesive paper strips on the margins of the [2] leaves at the end of Part 1. Old binding, worn and damaged.

Unsold
Opening
1,400$

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