A small Torah Scroll, in its original case, with finials. [Iraq, early 20th century]. A dedication dated 1932.
Parchment; wooden case; blue velvet fabric; various silver ornaments; beads; silver finials.
· Torah scroll. Soft, light-brown parchment. Fine Sephardic script.
Height of parchment: approx. 28 cm. 51 lines per column. Good condition. One membrane partly detached.
· Fabric-covered wooden case. On the inside: two silver plaques. An engraving of two Hebrew verses appears on one plaque: "Vezot HaTorah asher sam Moshe lifney Bnei Israel" and "VeTorah tziva lanu Moshe"; on the second plaque appears a dedication: "tik ze veSefer Torah shebo asa'o harav Shmuel Hashem yishmerehu, shenat 5692" [this case and Torah Scroll were made by Rabbi Shmuel in the year 1932].
On the exterior are three silver bands: two with floral ornamentations and one with a Hebrew dedication: "This case and Torah were made by Rabbi Yehezkel and Rabbi Shmuel, in the year 1932". Between the bands and on the upper part of the case are silver plaques with hammered floral ornamentations. Upper band is crown-like, adorned with red beads. The case is topped with a silver ornamentation in the shape of a flower bud with descending bells. On both sides are two original finials in Iraqi style, decorated with engraved vegetal patterns and metal chains. Two silver clasps.
Height: 62 cm. Velvet fabric is damaged and in poor condition, with tears next to the clasps. Several beads are missing. Height of finials: 24 cm.
Esther Scroll, scribal handwriting (ink) on parchment, illustrated with hand-colored engravings. Amsterdam, circa 1720.
Four parchment membranes, 16 columns, 26 lines per column. Square Ashkenazic script. Wooden roller (upper part missing).
This scroll, produced in the first decades of the eighteenth century, belongs to a group of several engraved Esther Scrolls produced in Europe around the turn of the 17th-18th century.
The engravings depict detailed narrative scenes from the Book of Esther along the lower borders of the columns, and portraits of the characters of the story above the text. Stylized pillars separate the columns, each with a different decoration. Below their bases (in cartouches) appear various views: gardens, houses, sail boats, a rider on a horse, and more. The pillars are topped with flowers, fruit, stars, angels, and more. The opening panel contains the benedictions recited before the reading of the scroll, surrounded by a series of engravings: Queen Esther, wedding of Esther and Ahasuerus (on top); Bigthan and Teresh, the hanging of Haman and his sons (center); Mordechai sitting at the town’s gate refusing to bow to Haman, Haman leading Mordechai on the horse, Esther and Mordechai writing the Purim letter (lower part).
The panel after the final column contains “Harav et Riveinu” blessings and the hymn “Asher Heni” (“Shoshanat Ya’akov”). On the lower border are portraits of the Scroll’s heroes, each holding a shield inscribed: “Arur Haman asher bikesh leavdi”, “Baruch Mordechai HaYehudi”, “Arura Zeresh eshet mafchidi”, “Berucha Esther Ba’adi”, and “Hervona zechura letov”.
Height of parchment: 21 cm. Length of scroll: 182 cm. Overall good condition. Some tears at the beginning of first membrane. Some tears. Stains. The end of the wooden roller is missing.
For further information, see: “The Stieglitz Collection, Masterpieces of Jewish Art”, Chaya Benjamin (The Israel Museum, 1987), p. 188.
Exhibition: New York, Hebrew Union College, Jewish Institute of Religion, The Collector’s Room: Selections from the Michael and Judy Steinhardt Collection, 1993, no. 64, p. 25.
Illustrated Esther Scroll on parchment. [Italy, 18th century]. Purchased in China in 1794 (see further).
Thin parchment, black and brown ink. Miniature format. Rolled on Atzei Chaim, with a fabric mantle.
The borders of the scroll are decorated with floral motifs. At the beginning of the scroll is an illustrated cartouche with a family emblem at its center: an illustration of a tree with a squirrel leaning on its right side - symbol of the printers Dr. R' Refael Yitzchak Chaim D'Italia, who reinstated the Hebrew printing press in Mantua in 1724, and of his son the printer Dr. Eliezer Shlomo D'Italia, (see: Avraham Ya'ari, Diglei haMadpisim haIvriyyim, Jerusalem 1944, Illustrations 121 and 150, and pages 163-164 and 171).
Following the cartouche is an ornamented square frame encompassing the blessings recited before reading the scroll. The frame is flanked by two flower vases.
At the end of the scroll, the floral decorations are replaced with decorations in the form of grapevines. This section includes the HaRav et Riveinu blessing (recited after the reading of the scroll) followed by the piyuyt "Arur Haman… Baruch Mordechai…" and another piyyut by Rabbi Avraham Ibn Ezra.
Between the end of the scroll and the section with the blessing and the piyyut is an illustration of a hand holding a goblet of wine. The border of the goblet is a micrography, using the words (in Aramaic): “Rava says that a man must drink on Purim until he cannot distinguish between Baruch Mordechai and Arur Haman” (Babylonian Talmud, Tractate Megillah, leaf 7b).
Enclosed in a letter in English, from March 18, 1849 by S.M. Drach [Solomon Moses Drach, an English Jewish scholar. See enclosed material], that attests that this scroll was purchased in China in 1794 by Sir J. Barrow [Sir John Barrow, who was attached on the first British embassy to China from 1792–94]. In the letter is a detailed description of the scroll and an (erroneous) attempt to decipher the year in which it was written.
The scroll is rolled on two Atzei Chaim and covered with a fabric mantle which is very uncommon. A mantle is mentioned in the enclosed letter. Possibly the mantle offered here is a remnant of the original mantle, reconstructed a later time.
Height of parchment: 4.5 cm. Height of the Atzei Chaim:15 cm. Good condition. Few stains, wear and a tiny tears at margins. Coarse tears and damages to fabric mantle.
Ketubah recording the marriage of the groom Avraham son of Yosef Colon with the bride Nechama daughter of Moshe Puah. Fossano, Italy, Tevet 1710.
On the right margins of the ketubah are the witnesses' signatures: "Yonah son of Gavriel…", "Avraham… Natan of the Baruch family". On the left side is the groom's signature.
The text of the ketubah is framed by colorful illustrations: at the top, inside a cartouche supported by three angels, is a family emblem - an elephant carrying a tower on his back [this symbol appears in the coat of arms of the printer Giorgio di Cavalli, who printed Hebrew books in Venice from 1565 to 1568]. On the right and left margins are leaves integrated with winged hearts pierced with arrows, crowns and plants with leaves and fruit, with bases of winged angels. On the bottom is a cartouche (empty) supported by a pair of angels and a large flower facing downward.
The Fossano community is one of the three communities – Asti, Fossano and Moncalvo ("Afam") - founded by expatriates who settled in the Piemonte district of Italy after being expelled from France in the 14th century. These communities preserved the ancient traditional prayer version of France which was relinquished after the Jewish expulsion. This version, called "the Afam tradition", was never printed and survived only in ancient manuscripts.
36.5X47.5 cm. Fair-good condition. Stains. Creases and folding marks. Open tears (about 1 cm. on right margin and 3.5 cm. on left margin). Tears reinforced with tape.
Ketubot from Fossano are not listed in the Ketubot catalog and website of the NLI
Ketubah recording the marriage of the groom Shimon son of R' Yosef Nataf with the bride Sultana daughter of R' Eliyahu Nataf. Tunis, 1835.
Parchment, gouache, ink.
Characteristic frame with floral ornamentation. The text of the ketubah is written in square script. On the margins are additions regarding the dowry in cursive writing. Calligraphic witnesses' signatures [undeciphered].
35X50 cm. Fair condition. Stains, creases and folding marks, tears and damages in several places (restorations with glued pieces of parchment on back of ketubah).
This ketubah appears in the book HaKetubah B'Iturim, by David Davidowitz, Bat Yam 1979, p. 78 (picture on opposite page).
Parchment ketubah, recording the marriage of the groom Aharon son of Dinar Ochana with the bride Rachel, daughter of Ya'akov Apriyat. Mogador, Morocco, the month of "Sivan crowned with the crown of the Torah", 1921.
Illustrated and decorated by the artist and poet Rabbi David (Nissim) Elkaim. Signed in the bottom left corner: "David Elkaïm Mogador".
The content of the ketubah is written inside an elaborate architectural frame, with two massive pillars and adornments in gold and silver colors, surrounded by drawings of wooden posts with green tendrils and fabric ribbons, and various verses.
At the beginning of the ketubah is a golden crown above a pair of clasped hands – belonging to the groom and bride (with a wedding ring on her finger). In the center of the pillars is a medallion with a drawing of a flag with blue stripes beside a Star of David.
At the bottom of the frame is a monogram integrating the initials of the bride and the groom: R (Rachel) and A (Aharon).
In the ketubah itself, the groom undertakes not "to marry another woman unless it complies with the new regulation, and not to take her out of this country to another place unless she agrees…".
The ketubah is written in square script followed by the details of the dowry in semi-cursive script. Signatures of the groom and the witnesses: “Ye’uda Ibn Abu”, “Mordechai Ochayon”. With authorization of the ketubah signed by the Mogador Beit Din rabbis: “Masud Knafo”, “David Knafo Ibn R’ Yachin [Yosef Knafo]”, “Moshe Ibn Simchon”.
Rabbi David Elkaim (1851-1941) – Chacham, poet, sculptor, artist, journalist and Jewish scholar was one of the three authors of the Shir Yedidut anthology, which constitutes the basis of the bakashot sung by Moroccan Jews [for more information, see: Yosef Shitrit, “R’ David Elkaim, Meshorer Ivri BeMarocco” (Hebrew: R’ David Elkaim, Hebrew Poet in Morocco), Apyrion no. 1, Spring 1983, pp. 96-102; Shalom Sabar, “Ketubah Mehuderet…” (Hebrew: Elaborate Ketubah of the Mogador Community, Morocco, 1898, by the Artist R’ David Elkaim, the leading ketubah artist in Mogador), Brit 25, 2006, pp. 18-21]. See also next item.
Enclosed is an article about this ketubah by Prof. Shalom Sabar.
Approximately 61X50 cm. Fair-good condition. Stains. Creases. Tears, primarily to margins. Several holes.
Parchment ketubah, recording the marriage of the groom Ya'akov son of Yosef Morsiano with the bride Simcha daughter of Nissim Nachmias Ashkenazi (son of Aharon). Safi, Morocco, Elul 1913.
Illustrated and ornamented by the artist and poet Rabbi David (Nissim) Elkaim. Signed in the bottom left corner: "D. Elkaim". For more information, see previous item.
Parting with Moroccan tradition, the wedding took place on Thursday and not on Wednesday. The bride is the daughter of the praiseworthy Nissim Nachmias Ashkenazi son of Aharon, who is "a descendent of the great holy… Rabbi Ya'akov Nachmias Ashkenazi… called by all 'Moulay almay’".
The text of the ketubah is framed by a wide arch supported by four marble Corinthian columns with massive rectangular bases, adorned in gold and silver colors. At the top of the arch is an elaborate crown inscribed Keter Torah. Above the arch are two fabric ribbons inscribed "B'Simana Tava…" encompassed by a rectangular frame with verses from Megillat Ruth.
In the ketubah, the groom promises the bride never to marry another woman during her lifetime without her consent and not to take her to another country without her consent.
Signatures of the witnesses appear on the ketubah margins: “Shalom Asabag” and “Shimon Zrihan” [Rabbi Shimon Zrihan – a Torah authority in Safi].
Next to the signatures, a Tosefet Ketuba (appendix) appears in cursive writing: “After the groom was joyful with his bride on the joyous day of his wedding and she found favor in his eyes… he wanted to add to her…”. With the signatures of the groom and witnesses.
47X61 cm. Good condition. Folding marks. A few stains on the margins. Tears, primarily to margins and folding lines, some with reinforcing paper strips.
Ketubah recording the marriage of Elya Meir son of Moshe Yosef Bachar with the bride Lulu daughter of Moshe Avraham Chacham Ovadia HaLevi. Calcutta, India, 17th of Elul 1921.
Thick paper, gouache, ink.
Ketubah of the Baghdadi community in Calcutta. Framed by drawings of leaves and flowers (lotus flowers), peacocks and parrots, in vivid colors. At the top are two tigers holding a medallion with the Hebrew initials בהנו"א [B'Shem Hashem Na'aseh V'Natzliach]. At the upper part of the Ketubah are two architectural frames enclosing the opening: "B'Shem Rachman Yitbarach Shemo…". Two silver fish, swimming one towards another, are drawn on the strip dividing the blessings and the text of the ketubah. Apparently the fish symbolize fertility and protection from ayin hara.
The text of the ketubah is written in a separate column in the center of the bottom part with the witnesses' signatures.
38X55 cm. Good condition. Few stains. Tear at the upper part. Restored tear at the bottom.
For information about ketubot of the Baghdadi community in India see: Shalom Sabar, "HaKetubah HaMetzuyeret" in the book "Yehudei Hodu", the Israel Museum, 1995.
Large illustrated leaf, holy sites in Eretz Israel. [Second half of 19th century].
Paper, gouache and ink.
Illustrations of the holy sites and graves of tsaddikim in Eretz Israel, arranged in horizontal columns and divided into "holy cities" – Jerusalem, Hebron, Safed and Tiberias; Nablus and Meron.
In the center of the leaf is the Temple Mount with Beit HaMikdash next to Midrash Shlomo [this was the name of the place in earlier times] and the Western Wall. Surrounding them is an arch, with the inscription: "Yehi ratzon…that the Beit HaMikdash shall be built speedily in our days…". On the top and at the sides are the holy sites of Jerusalem and its surroundings: the tombs of the kings of the House of David, Hulda the Prophetess, Hagai the Prophet, the 70 Sanhedrin, the tomb of Zecharya and Yad Avshalom, Rachel's tomb, etc. At the bottom of the leaf are tombs of tsaddikim and sites of the cities of Hebron, Safed, Tiberias and Nablus. In the center of this section is a large illustration of the tomb of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai in Meron.
The illustrations are influenced by Ottoman architecture, depicting building with domed roofs, atop of which are crescent moons. The illustrations of the holy sites are drawn in a schematic style, resembling the style of illustrations seen in maps and landscapes of Jerusalem in the 19th century. A similar illustration can be found in the collection of the Israel Museum (see: Omanuth ve-Umanuth be-Eretz Israel, the Israel Museum, Jerusalem 1979, pp. 98-100).
46X65 cm. Fair condition. Stains. Folding marks and wear. Tears, some restored.
"Darom". Painting on glass, indicating the direction of prayer. Safed, 1882.
In the center appears an ornamented circle, adorned with a crown and the word "Darom" [south] (indicating the direction of prayer towards Jerusalem), on a light blue background. On both sides appear two lions and the inscription "Vegibor Ka'ari" [brave as a lion] (Pirkei Avot, 5). Below the inscription "Darom" appears an illustration of the Mount of Olives depicting the graves in the Valley of Kidron (grave of Zecharia, Absalom and the Prophets) and an illustration of the Western Wall (inscribed in Hebrew: "Western Wall"), topped with Cypresses and a bush, on its right "Midrash Shlomo" and on its left Dome of the Rock [according to Yehossef Schwarz]. Below the drawing appears the Hebrew verse "Vehitpalelu elecha…" (Book of Kings A, 8:48). On the lower border, within a decorated frame, the artist signed his name: "Created by the artist Yisachar Dov Halevi, Safed, 1882" (Hebrew). Symmetrical decorations on both sides – branches in a coppery shade, two flower pots, with flowers, and two birds.
There are several known paintings painted by hand on glass, created in Eretz Israel in the late 19th century and in the first decades of the 20th century. Most of them were created by Moshe ben Yitzchak Mizrahi (Shah), or attributed to him over the years (for example: the drawing of the Binding of Isaac on glass, from the collection of Yitzchak Einhorn). One painting is attributed to the artist Yossef Geiger from Safed (scenes from the Esther scroll, painted on glass, Feuchtwanger Collection, no. 438; Israel Museum collection).
Now, that this unique piece is presented, with the signature of the artist, Yisachar Dov Halevi, it is possible to re-examine the attribution of the anonymous works to Mizrahi and Geiger. As to the identity of the artist who painted the "Binding of Isaac" on glass, there is a resemblance between the 'Binding of Isaac" and this "Darom": in the shades of blue and green, the floral motifs drawn in the frame, the depictions of the Western Wall and the Mount of Olives, and mainly the shapes of birds and flowers. The typography of that work is very similar to that appearing in the “Darom”. From every aspect it seems that the “Binding of Isaac” was created by Yisachar Dov Halevi and not by Moshe Mizrahi.
Shoshana Halevi and Aryeh Morgenstern mentioned a Hasid Habad of Safed by the name of R’ Shema’aya son of rabbi Yisachar Ber Halevi, and it is possible that Yisachar Dov Halevi, who signed this “Darom”, is the son of Rabbi Shema’aya who named his son after his father. In addition, the signature of Yisachar Dov Halevi (as witness) appears on an agreement to purchase a printing press in Safed in ca.1876.
Glass plate – approx. 40X40 cm. Back plate made of wooden boards – approx. 44X44 cm., frame – 50.5X51.5 cm. Unexamined out of frame. Fair condition. Break to glass at the upper left corner. Old dampstaining. Cracks and flaking to paint. Enclosed is a professional condition report.
1. Omanut Ve-Umanut Be’Eretz Israel Ba-Mea Ha-Tesha Esreh [Arts and Crafts in Eretz Israel in the 19th century (Hebrew)], (The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, 1979), pp.118-140, pictures no. 72, 96,105,115.
2. Jewish Tradition in Art, the Feuchtwanger Collection of Judaica. Dr. Yesha’ayahu Shachar (The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, 1971), item 438.
3. Jerusalem – Spirit and Matter, Nitza Behruzi (Eretz Israel Museum, Tel-Aviv, 1993), p. 74.
4. “The Binding of Isaac in the works of Moshe Shah Mizrahi, one of the pioneers of folk art in Eretz Israel”, by Shalom Sabar. In: “Minha leMenahem: Jubilee Book in Honor of Rabbi Menahem haCohen” (Hakibbutz Hameuchad, 2007), pp. 465-487.
Sidrei Taharot – Anthology of the Talmud and Midrashim, with commentaries on Seder Taharot. Part 1 – Tractate Kelim, by Rebbe Gershon Chanoch Henich Leiner of Radzyn. Józefów, 1873. First edition.
Attractive copy with very wide margins. At the end of the book is a leaf with a Hebrew printed map of Eretz Israel, its borders and the division of land among the tribes [hand-colored].
The author, Rebbe Chanoch Henich of Radzyn [author of the Techelet], initiated the idea of arranging a “Gemara” on the Mishnayot of Seder Taharot. He gathered sections of the Babylonian and Yerushalmi Talmud and of midrashei Halacha connected to topics in Tractate Taharot and arranged them according to the order of the tractates. The work is structured like the Babylonian Talmud: the Mishnah followed by a compilation of the Gemara flanked by two commentaries [the long commentary and the short commentary, arranged by the Rebbe], Mesoret HaShas and Ein Mishpat Ner Mitzvah. This work stirred a great polemic and some rabbis opposed a work so similar to the Talmud, fearing that with time it will erroneously be considered part of the Talmud. On the other hand, the work merited approbations of many of the leading Torah scholars of his times. Due to the opposition, the title “Sefer Sidrei Taharot” was printed at the top of each page of Part 2 and at the bottom of the pages is a notice that the work is “compiled from the words of the Tana’im and the Amora’im”.
, 544 pages +  plate. 43 cm. Good condition, stains. Open tear to upper corner of title page. Ownership inscriptions. Ancient leather binding, without spine.
Stefansky Chassidut no. 434.
Printed leaf, “Tzurat HaBayit D'Yechezkel by the Gaon… Eliyahu of Vilna" – Illustration of the plan of the third Beit HaMikdash, according to the Vilna Gaon. [Grodno, 1820].
Large leaf. Originally, the leaf was a folded plate enclosed with the edition of the Nevi'im-Ketuvim printed in Grodno in 1820 (in the printing press of Menachem Mann son of Baruch [Romm] and Simcha Zimmel son of Menachem Nachum). This leaf is rare and not found in most copies. Bibliographically listed according to the copy of the British Library (see: Bibliography of the Hebrew Book, record no. 0309647; Vinograd, Otzar Sifrei HaGra, no. 24).
Printed on the upper left corner is the name of the publisher: "These were all made by my hands Dov Ber son of Yosef Yuzpa of Vilna", who adds that he printed it to satisfy the wish of "My late exceptional son Aharon Moshe", who wanted to publish the plan of the Beit HaMikdash according to the Gra.
Leaf, printed on one side, 36X43 cm. Fair condition. Stains and wear, folding marks and tears.
Manuscript, machzor for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. [Worms], 1788. Two volumes.
Illustrated title page at the beginning of the machzor. Square script [partially vowelized] and cursive Ashkenazi script. Enlarged and decorated initials.
In the center of the title page is an interesting inscription by the writer "Yitzchak Isaac son of the late R' Wolf Pollack Segal, who was the cantor of the Rashi Synagogue in Worms: "For the past few years, I was the regular cantor in the Rashi Synagogue and every year I would lead the Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur prayers… G-d knows that every time I stand in prayer I am overtaken by tremendous fear and trembling lest, G-d forbid, I stumble in my prayers because until now, I have always prayed from the machzor of the late… R' Leib Zintzheim, who donated these machzorim to the aforesaid synagogue…". Segal writes that with the passing years, glosses and additions were added by the city's sages to the ancient machzor and Rabbi Wolf decided to copy the prayers in the machzor for his personal use "like the machzor of the community in the old synagogue… all according to the customs here".
The first volume contains the Rosh Hashanah prayers [from HaMelech of Shacharit], with yotzrot and piyyutim.
The second volume begins with Kol Nidrei and includes the Yom Kippur prayers with yotzrot and piyyutim and Arvit for Motzei Yom Kippur. Also included is a section of the piyyut about the nations of the world HaGoyim Eimim Zamzumim Kedar V'Adomim, which was omitted from the printed machzorim because of the censor and can only be found in manuscripts.
The machzor features a number of customs of Worms and Ashkenazi communities, such as the custom to say out loud the words "He is our G-d, there is no other" in the Aleinu prayer [mentioned among the customs of the Worms community, by R' Y. Shemesh. See enclosed material]; and more.
Rabbi Leib Zintzheim who is mentioned on the title page of the manuscript was a well-known influential dignitary active in the royal city of Vienna who supported many communities. Among other achievements, he built the Beit Midrash [the Kloiz] and the Rashi Synagogue.
Two volumes, ;  leaves, 30 cm. Good condition, stains, tears to several leaves, [in the Rosh Hashanah machzor, several leaves are bound out of order]. New leather bindings.
Large manuscript on parchment, Tehillim – "Arranged for the days of the week and whoever recites it each day is promised the World to Come". [Mladá Boleslav, Bohemia], 1719.
A complete manuscript, particularly large and impressive (format for a cantor). At the beginning is an artistically illustrated title page with architectural structures and vegetal and geometric motifs. At the top of the title page is the figure of King David playing the harp. Artistic, distinct and neat, scribal writing, vowelized (partially with te'amim). Enlarged initials.
The manuscript opens with a prayer "To recite before Tehillim" and after the prayer is a list of the Shir Shel Yom for weekdays and Festivals. The pages are titled: "Tehillim for Sunday", "Tehillim for Monday", etc. Two prayers to recite after Tehillim appear at the end of the book. Enclosed at the end of the volume are two additional parchment leaves by a different writer with a prayer for the sick.
On the verso of the title page is a dedication for a Tehillim group, which apparently was active in Mladá Boleslav: "The volunteers to recite in the synagogue evening, morning and noon, Zmirot Israel … they have undertook... to write the book on elaborate parchment sheets so that it will be known for a long time… they have written… the following names". Further is a list of members: Avraham, son of the late R’ Yosef Mordechai Katz of Mladá Boleslav; Ya’akov, son of R’ Mordechai; Yosef, son of R’ Leib Sabatky; Yitzchak, son of R’ David; Simcha, son of R’ Meir; Yehuda, son of R’ Eliezer; Eliezer, son of R’ Aharon; Moshe son of R’ Shimi”.
The community of Mladá Boleslav near Prague was one of the oldest Jewish communities of Bohemia. Many great prominent rabbis served in its rabbinate: Rabbi Shabtai Sheftel Horowitz, author of Vavei Amudim [son of the Shla]; Rabbi Shmuel son of R’ Yosef Yaski of Lublin, author of Lechem Rav; and others. At the time this book of Tehillim was written, the Rabbi of Mladá Boleslav was Rabbi Moshe HaLevi Brandeis, who was called “R’ Moshe Charif” (died in 1760), and later [from 1733] served as Av Beit Din of Mainz [see: The City of Mladá Boleslav and its Rabbis”, by Rabbi Zvi HaLevi Horowitz, Otzar HaChaim (Ehrenreich) anthology, Year 8, pp. 16-26].
, 54,  leaves. 36 cm. Good-fair condition. Many stains and wear. Faded ink on title page illustration. Tears to several leaves. Several loose or detached leaves. Ancient leather binding, torn and damaged.
Manuscript on parchment, Chazzan HaKnesset, prayers for the chazzan (cantor) and the gabai at the time of the Torah Reading. [Pressburg, during the Chatam Sofer's term in the rabbinate, ca. 1811].
Manuscript on parchment. Square vowelized script. Written and illustrated in various colors and with golden ink. Initials and titles in colored ink.
Contains: Yehi Ratzon recited after reading the Torah on weekdays, the blessings on the Haftara [for Shabbat, the three Festivals, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur]; the haftara for public fast-days, Yekum Purkan and Mi She'Berach, prayer for the Royal Family, Birkat HaChodesh, Yizkor for Festivals and High Holidays, prayers for the toke'ah and before hearing the teki'ot with kavanot, the blessing recited before reading the megilla with piyyutim, Shinui HaShem.
On Page 7, the word Yekum (of Yekum Purkan) is framed by leaves and flowers, encircling a pair of lions.
A prayer for the Royal Family appears on page 9, "G-d who created the heavens and the earth… should bless and protect… our Master of High Lineage The Mighty Compassionate Caesar [blank] and the Queen The Lady… [blank]…". The first words of the prayer are framed and embellished with a large crown, a pair of lions and a human face, Rocailles and vegetal patterns.
This manuscript belonged to the Brill Shul in Pressburg during the time of the Chatam Sofer. The synagogue is named after its founder – Rabbi Azriel Brill [Brilin]. Written on the margins of Page 13 at a later date [after the death of R' Azriel and his wife] is an inscription: "G-d should remember the soul of Azriel son of Chana and his wife, Troyla bat Ruchama for donating for this synagogue …". This manuscript with its special prayer for R' Azriel and his wife is mentioned in the book Avnei Beit HaYotzer about the Pressburg community, by Yitzchak Weiss, Paks 1900, Leaf 73: "Rabbi Azriel Brilin… built… the impressive synagogue… named after him… and in this merit we mention his soul and the soul of his pious wife… at each of the Three Festivals and on the holy day of Yom Kippur. This is the wording of the Yizkor we say for them: G-d should remember the soul of Azriel son of Chana and the soul of his wife Troyla bat Ruchama for donating this synagogue… and this 'Yizkor' is written in his 'Knesset', on parchment…".
Rabbi Azriel Brill (died in 1818), was a leader of the Pressburg community. His signature appears on the Ktav Rabbanut of the Chatam Sofer. Besides his wealth, he was also a Torah scholar and in his youth he taught Torah and had many disciples. From a young age until his senior years he fasted regularly and his wealth distressed him throughout his life. The Chatam Sofer eulogized him and among other praises he said: “The glory of our community… diligent and sharp in Torah knowledge and taught disciples… he was our ‘eyes’ in all matters… and performed all types of chesed, supported widows and orphans and the weak and infirm… a great man… never asked for honor… not for his Torah and not for his wealth…”. See enclosed material.
Added to this manuscript is a strip of parchment from a later time upon which is written: “L’Zikaron – the yartzeit of the Tsaddik Azriel Brilin on the 23rd of Iyar… he established this synagogue which is named after him… and also donated the Sefer Torah and the holy vessels for this synagogue, and the yartzeit of his pious wife Ms. Troyla…”.
22 pages. 27.5 cm. Overall good condition. Stains, ink smears in several places. New leather binding.
Manuscript, Seder Minchat Erev Rosh Chodesh, Selichot, songs and refrains, with "Poems upon the anniversary of the Talmud Torah Society and the salvation from siege with the tale of the entire event". Written by Refael Chizkiya Lattes. Cuneo (Italy), 1819.
Illustrated manuscript on bluish paper, with original binding. An illustrated title page, with the name of the writer and year on the margins, appears at the beginning of the manuscript. Throughout the manuscript, the openings and closings are embellished with flowers, plants and vases, some with red ink (with yellow ink in one place). The word le'Sukkot in the piyyut for Sukkot is framed by branches of the arba minim (Four Species).
The manuscript begins with the text: "Seder Minchat Erev Rosh Chodesh" [Yom Kippur Katan], with piyyutim according to Italian tradition (by Rabbi Moshe Zakut), including the vidui "I ate forbidden foods and foods that require netilah", called Vidui Peimiti (i.e. written by Rabbi Yosef Peimita of Ancona, author of Or Boker, Venice 1709).
On Leaves [19b-25a] are refrains for festivals to be recited after removing the Torah from the ark during Shacharit “according to the Cuneo tradition”. Including piyyutim for Pesach, Shavuot, Sukkot, Hoshana Raba and Shmini Atzeret.
On Leaves [26a-29b] is a “Poem for the anniversary of the Talmud Torah fixed on Rosh Chodesh Tevet each year” – poem of 13 stanzas, for the society’s anniversary. The poem has a flowery introduction about the society and its objectives. R’ Refael Chizkiya Lattes is mentioned in the introduction.
From Leaf [30a] onwards, a unique historical documentation of the salvation of the Cuneo community during the Napoleon wars, is recounted. This occasion, referred to as Purim Sheni, is celebrated each year and is called Purim della Bomba, commemorating a miracle which occurred during the war, when a bomb fell on the synagogue where Jews congregated for the evening prayers. First are two pages with “The account of the miracle which occurred on the 4th of Kislev after three months of siege, no one could leave or enter…”; Beit HaSedarim follows with a long description of the itinerary of the activities in the synagogue on the anniversary of the day of salvation. This itinerary includes reciting Hallel and piyyutim, removing Sifrei Torah from the ark and hakafot (circling the bimah), etc. At the end of this section is an illustration of a besieged city, shooting cannons and flying shells.
This is followed by a long poem about the miracle, depicting the German army's operation and the siege of France, followed by the occupation of the Piedmont district and the siege of Cuneo, and another poem describing the event.
The Jewish communities in the Piedmont district of Italy, which encompasses the Cuneo community, are rooted in the renowned communities of Provence (Southern France). The Jews emigrated from Provence following living limitations by the Pope in 1569. The Jews of the Piedmont district suffered greatly from wars and many restrictions inflicted on them by various European armies passing through Italy due to the proximity of their area to several borders and international intersections.
The event documented in this manuscript took place in 1799, when a small division of Napoleon's army took position inside the city and attempted to defend itself from the Russian and Austrian forces who besieged the city. The battle continued for about three months during which the city's Jews were exposed to bombing, deprivation and illness and faced violence and acts of revenge from local residents. On the 4th of Kislev 1800, a short time after a heavy barrage of ammunition, the French army retreated and the city was conquered by Austrian and Russian forces. During the bombings, a cannonball hit the synagogue wall at the time Jews were praying within, but, miraculously, no-one was hurt. To commemorate this event, the community celebrated Purim Sheni each year for over one hundred years (until the holocaust). Among other customs, the full Hallel and piyyutim were recited and a study ritual was fixed for that night, as well as distribution of charity and a festive meal. Even today, the hole torn into the wall of the Cuneo synagogue can be seen, next to a sign that reads “The miracle which occurred here.
 leaves (many more empty leaves). 19 cm. Good condition, stains. Original green leather binding, with gilt embossments, and the owner's initials "S.L." [of the Lattes family]. Damages and wear to binding.
Manuscript, prayers for those stricken by a plague, and Pitum HaKetoret for a plague. [Italy, 18th century].
Attractive pocket-format volume. The manuscript is divided into two parts, each part has an illustrated title page. An introduction appears before the first title page: "This book is divided into two parts, the first part with prayers for the ill… and the second part with Pitum HaKetoret… to be recited during the plague…".
Dedications appear after the first and second title pages, "For the Catalan and Aragonese Synagogue", donated by "The young R' Mordechai bar Matitya Lattes". The first part is dedicated "In memory of the elder… R' Shlomo Lattes, his grandfather…", and the second part is dedicated to "The holy G-dly man R' Elisha Gershon Shmuel Chaim Amron… 1743…". Following the dedication are two poems with the acrostic "Mordechai Lattes".
The first part contains: “Verses with prayers for the ill”, “Prayers for ill males”, “Mi SheBerach prayer”, “Prayer for changing names”, “Prayers for ill women”, “Prayers for the birthing woman” and “Prayers for a plague (Aba’abu’ot)”.
Contemporary binding, with gilt embossments. On the front cover – an Italian dedication within a decorated frame. On the back cover: a family Coat of Arms (apparently of the Italian Lattes family).
, 28, ; , 15,  leaves (including several empty leaves). Thick high-quality paper. 12.5 cm. Good condition, stains, traces of dampness. Gilt edges. Contemporary leather binding.
Manuscript, Kabbalistic prayers and kavanot for the tokeah (the person who blows the shofar on Rosh Hashanah), includes the composition Hachanat HaTokeah, by an unidentified author. [Italy, 18th/19th century?].
Large format. Square and cursive Italian script.
Prayers and songs, unique version [according to one of the communities in Italy], including Kabbalistic kavanot and prayers in Hebrew and Aramaic. Written in scribal writing, in square script, vowelized.
Added to the end of the manuscript is an original composition [5 pages], in cursive Italian writing by another writer, about mussar and Kabbalistic "Preparations of the Tokeah before blowing [the shofar]". At the beginning of the composition is the title "Here is a short seder for the preparation of the Tokeah before the blowing and general kavanot for the tekiot according to mussar”. The writer added glosses and additions on the margins of the composition. To the best of our knowledge, the composition was never printed.
The writer of the composition, who was apparently proficient in Kabbalah, edited some of the prayers and kavanot. On Leaf 4b, he writes: “…The vowels of these names in Sefer HaKavanot by Rabbi Bach…”. [The Rabach – Rabbi Binyamin HaCohen Vitali (1651-1730), disciple of Rabbi Moshe Zakut, elder of Italian rabbis and kabbalists].
The manuscript contains many prayers. For further details, please see Hebrew description.
2; 17; 3 leaves (22 written leaves and additional empty leaves). 36.5 cm. High-quality paper. Good condition. Stains. Original leather binding, with damages.
Manuscript, Passover Haggadah, with the Commentary of Rabbi Yechiel Michel Ber Oppenheim Av Beit Din of Friedberg and Offenbach – Unprinted Commentary – Written by Rabbi Ya’akov Neumburg, Author of Nachlat Ya’akov – Mainz, 1772
Manuscript, "Passover Haggadah, with the handwritten commentary of R' Michel Ber [Oppenheim] Av Beit Din of Friedberg and its provinces and Offenbach and its provinces", copied by Rabbi Ya'akov ben R' Baruch Neumberg “from the author's manuscript…while I was studying at the yeshiva of the famous Rabbi Teveli Sheyer in the Mainz community, 1772".
Manuscript on large leaves, written in an elegant, cursive Ashkenazic script, with square headings, written around pages (pasted to the leaves) from a printed Passover Haggadah published in Frankfurt am Main, 1749 (Ya'ari 130; Otzar HaHaggadot 204) – a rare edition today. The writer used two copies of this edition, separated their pages and pasted the leaves of the two copies so that each leaf of the Haggadah is pasted twice and all the pages can be seen. Surrounding the pages [the sizes of which are about one quarter of the handwritten pages] Rabbi Oppenheim handwrote his commentary. The columns are surrounded by lines in red ink.
The end of the commentary is styled in a geometric form with artistic ornaments at the base. On the last leaf is "Shihehat Haomer", omitted from a commentary on the words of Rabbi Elazar ben Azarya "I am a man of seventy years".
To the best of our knowledge, this is the only manuscript of this commentary on the Passover Haggadah and it has never been printed. A full comprehensive commentary, including a long detailed explanation of each phrase of the Haggadah. The author incorporates explanations with Aggadot Chazal, halachic pilpulim and Kabbalistic teachings. The work also has a broad commentary on the piyyutim at the end of the Haggadah.
On the title page is a handwritten dedication from 1801 by the writer – Rabbi Ya'akov Neumberg who gave the manuscript as a wedding gift to his disciple R' Yozel Wolf Speyer (Speyer's signature appears in the list of signatures of Offenbach rabbis on the book Minchat Yehuda, Furth 1801).
The author, Rabbi Yechiel Michel Ber Oppenheim (died 1750, Otzar HaRabbanim 9248), was born in Frankfurt, son of Rabbi Aharon Ber Oppenheim, an influential leader of the Frankfurt community. In 1701, he wed the daughter of the famous Rabbi David Oppenheim, Av Beit Din of Prague, and in honor of their wedding, his father printed the pamphlet Seder V'Hanhaga shel Nisu'im (customs of weddings) (Frankfurt 1701)j. He first served as Av Beit Din of Offenbach and afterward was elected as Av Beit Din of Friedberg, a position he held for over 40 years until his death. His Torah teachings were not printed with the exception of a small pamphlet of the laws of Chanuka which appears in Tractate Shabbat that was printed in his lifetime in Frankfurt in 1710. (The only copy of this pamphlet in the world was found in the library of his father-in-law and is kept today in the Bodleian Library in Oxford). His composition Mechal HaMayim, Aggada novellae on the Torah, also in manuscript form, is also preserved in his father-in-law's library at Oxford.
The writer, Rabbi Ya'akov ben R' Baruch Nuemberg of Mainz, first resided in Mainz and studied in the Beit Midrash of Rabbi Teveli Sheyer. At that time he wrote this manuscript [soon thereafter, in 1776, the Chatam Sofer studied in that same Beit Midrash and was a disciple of Rabbi Teveli Sheyer and of his son Rabbi Michel]. He later moved to Offenbach and wrote several compositions on Midrashim of Chazal. His works remained as manuscripts with the exception of his Nachalat Ya'akov commentary on Masechtot Ketanot which was first printed in Furth in 1793 and later in the Talmud editions bringing him fame as the primary commentator on Masechtot Ketanot.
 written pages. 36 cm. good condition. Stains. Contemporary binding, worn and partially detached, without spine.
Passover Haggadah, with laws and customs; manuscript, written and illustrated by Raphael Neckarsulm. [Germany], 1796. With instructions and Piyyutim translated to Yiddish-Deitsch.
The Haggada was written in black and red ink, on thick paper of good quality. Each leaf is framed. The text is in square script, vowelized; the laws are in semi-cursive script (Rashi), and the Yiddish-Deitsch in "Tsena Ure'ena" script. The laws derive from various sources. Next to each of the Simanim of the Passover Seder ["Kadesh", "Urechatz", etc], in decorated letters, appear instructions in rhymed prose, in Hebrew and in Yiddish-Deitsch. The songs "Echad Mi Yodea" and "Had Gadya" are translated to Yiddish-Detisch, stanza by stanza.
The manuscript is accompanied by nine illustrations, two are in black and white and the others are in color, with appliqué of pieces of colorful cloth (illustrations were prepared on separate leaves and pasted on the Haggadah leaves): · A colorful illustration of a gate appears at the beginning of the manuscript – a remarkable architectural structure with four columns, two featuring intertwining grapevines with clusters of grapes. · On leaf [7b] appears a colorful illustration of a basket with flowers. · On leaf  a colorful illustration of the Four Sons (after the Amsterdam Haggadah), decorated with various pieces of fabric.
· On leaf , an illustration in black and white of Moses drawn from the Nile. · On leaf  an illustration in black and white of Moses and Aaron in Pharaoh’s palace. · On leaf  a particularly colorful illustration, with pieces of paper and fabrics, depicting the five sages around the Passover Seder table in Bnei Brak, with frogs on the table and on the floor (to illustrate the Plague of Frogs and the verse “…ten plagues”). · On leaf [16b] a colorful depiction of the Passover Seder and “Matzah Zo”, portraying a figure holding a stick (to illustrate the Exodus from Egypt). · On leaf [23b] a woman is depicted, dressed in fine garments, opening wooden doors (folding to the sides) revealing the word “Shefoch”, cut out of cloth and pasted on golden fabric. · On leaf , at the beginning of “Halel” a small illustration in color of King David kneeling, with his harp in front of him.
The artist, who signed his name on the title page, is Raphael ben Itzik Neckarsulm. Two other manuscripts illustrated by him are known: one is a manuscript of a Passover Haggadah similar to the one offered here, created in 1797 – collection of the Jewish Theological Seminary in New-York, ms. 8338; the manuscript in the collection of JTS features less illustrations and only one illustration in color, for “Shefoch”. The second manuscript is “Memorbuch” of the Laubheim Congregation Synagogue, also dated 1979 – collection of the National Library of Israel, Jerusalem (ms.Heb 105 °4).
An ownership inscription appears at the beginning of the manuscript: “This Haggadah was presented by Chuna (?) Breitlinger to Rabbi Yosef ben Leib Brelengold in 1819”.
A fine volume, gilt edges. Binding covered with pink velvet, with colorful embroidery of a floral frame, a medallion with sequins and a golden ribbon. The initials “RJ” are embroidered in the medallions on the front and on the reverse.
 leaves, 22.5 cm. Overall good condition. Blurred ink stamp on title page. Stains (mainly food and wine stains) on many of the leaves. Wear, some stains and tears to binding. Contained in the original leather and cardboard case, worn (torn, missing parts).
1. Collection of Rabbi Dr. Arthur Zechariya Schwartz, Vienna-Jerusalem.
2. Collection of Teddy and Tamar Kollek, Jerusalem.
Sefer HaIkarim, Rabbi Yosef Albo. Soncino, . Printed by Yisrael Nathan Soncino and his sons. First Edition. Incunabula.
First Edition of one of the basic books of Jewish thought. Printed in the early years of Hebrew printing, in the city of Soncino (Italy), in the famous printing press of the family of the first Hebrew printers.
Leaves [56-58] were torn out of this copy by the Christian censor, as is the case in most copies (Pamphlet 8, Leaves 2-4), [see the Bibliography of the Hebrew Book, Record 0109905).
Two colophons at the end of the book. The first features the date of the completion of printing: "It was completed here in Soncino in the country of Lombardy … on the 21st of Tevet 1485…". The second colophon is by the "Disciple, the servant who worked on this book" who signs his name with the famous epitaph (originating from here): "From Zion comes forth Torah and G-d's word from Soncino".
Censor erasures in several places. Several ancient glosses in Italian writing. On Leaf 2 appears the owner's inscription: "My father has given me this Sefer HaIkarim as a gift, Baruch Bennet Lichtenstein" [apparently, Rabbi Baruch Bennet Lichtenstein of Kolomyya, who received the book from his father Rabbi Hillel Av Beit Din of Kolomyya]. Owner's inscriptions and other signatures: Moshe Tirziki, "reached the possession of Yosef Chaim Yichye", "I have bought this with my money… Shmuel M.S.".
 leaves. 14 signatures: signatures 1-2 consists of 8 leaves, signature 3 consists of 6 leaves, signatures 4-13 consist of 8 leaves each. Signature 14 consists of 6 leaves. Leaves 2-4 of signature 8 were removed by the censor. 26.5 cm. Most of the leaves are in good condition. Stains. Some leaves are in fair condition, with damages and tears and damages to text as follows: Leaf 1 (with the introduction of the Mechokek) is partially lacking and restored with paper filling. Leaf  is torn and restored with paper filling, with damage to text. Leaf  has restorations in the lower left corner, with damage to several words. Leaves [4-6], with restoration to lower left corner, without damage to text. The last leaf is restored with glued paper strips, without damage to text. Ancient worn binding.
"This is the book of Adam HaRishon given to him by Raziel HaMalach". Kabbalah and segulot. Amsterdam, . Printed by Moses Mendes Coitinho. First edition. Many Kabbalistic illustrations.
This is the first edition, edited and printed from manuscripts. This book is the source of many renowned segulot, for remembering Torah study, an amulet to protect a woman who is giving birth, etc. Just having this book at home is a segula for protection from harm and fire as is written in the title page. Some say that it is a segula for the childless and women experiencing difficult labor.
45 leaves. 21.2 cm. Good-fair condition. Restorations to several places, few stains. Throughout the book there is professional restoration of damages to the bottom right corners, with paper filling and replacement of damaged texts. New elaborate leather binding.
Mesillat Yesharim, includes matters of mussar and fear of G-d, by Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto – the Ramchal. [Amsterdam, 1740]. Printed by Naftali Hertz Rofeh. First edition.
Printed in the lifetime of the Ramchal, by his leading disciples in Amsterdam. With introductions and poems by the editors and publishers (not printed in the following editions), as well as an index, "Mafteichot HaMa'amarim", and a closing by the author (omitted from most editions).
Mesillat Yesharim is a refined clear summary of all the Ramchal's books (Derech Hashem, Da'at Tevunot, 128 Pitchei Chochma, etc.), written in a precise language, showing depth of thought. In his introduction to the book Mesillat Yesharim – im Iyunim (with study), Rabbi Yechezkel Sarna mentions a tradition passed down in the name of the Vilna Gaon that until Chapter 11 not one unnecessary word can be found in the book [!]. Rabbi Yerucham of Mir used to tell his disciples that Mesillat Yesharim is structured from all the Ramchal's books on Kabbalah, but he "lowered" the thoughts and expressed them in language we can understand so that as we study it, we imagine that we have a connection to it", (Da'at Chochma U'Mussar, Part 1 p. 249).
In the author's introduction, he explains that the book was written to acquire the wisdom of mussar and fear of G-d which cannot be acquired only by knowledge. The benefit gained from the book is not in the novelty of ideas written in the Mesillat Yesharim, but by its constant review and repetition and much meditation which anchor the thoughts inside a man's soul. Indeed, this book has been accepted throughout the Disapora as the primary book of mussar study.
When the Vilna Gaon first laid his eyes on the book he proclaimed that a new light has come down into the world and out of his love for the book, he paid a gold dinar for it. Rabbi Y. Meltzen wrote in his introduction to Derech Hashem that he heard Torah scholars say in the name of the Vilna Gaon that if the author was still living, he would walk all the way to Italy to greet him. The Vilna Gaon was accustomed to reviewing the book again and again.
Chassidic leaders as well understood the great qualities of the book and the holiness of its Kabbalistic author. The Magid of Kozienice said that all the levels he reached in his youth were from the book Mesillat Yesharim. The holy Rebbe of Apta, author of Ohev Yisrael and Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Rimanov diligently studied Mesillat Yesharim in depth and had awesome and wonderful things to say about it. The Rebbe of Apta was used to saying that he received his spiritual direction and his education first and foremost from the book Mesillat Yesharim (Sefer HaChassidut, p. 146). Rabbi Nachman of Breslev was accustomed to instruct newcomers to Judaism to study Mesillat Yesharim and the Rebbe author of Bnei Yissaschar wrote in in his additions to the book Sur MeRa V’Ase Tov that “this book will quench your thirst and … its words are sweeter than honey”. Rabbi Ya’akov Yosef of Ostroh writes in his approbation to the book 138 Pitchei Chochma by the Ramchal (Koritz 1785): “The book Mesillat Yesharim, the path the tsaddikim tread, written by …Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto is the Torah which Moshe presented to Israel to understand the words of our Sages and their ‘riddles’, by its straight sayings..”. In his introduction to the book, the publisher quotes the words he heard from the Magid of Mezritch that “his generation was not worthy to understand his righteousness and abstention”.
The tsaddik, Rabbi Yosef Zundel of Salant told his great disciple Rabbi Yisrael of Salant that upon receiving a farewell blessing when leaving the Volozhin Yeshiva, he asked Rabbi Chaim of Volozhin which mussar book to study. His teacher responded: “All mussar books are good to study, but Mesillat Yesharim will guide you”.
From the time the book was printed in 1740, it was reprinted in hundreds of editions [!], and until today it remains the primary mussar book in Torah and Chassidic study halls.
, 63 leaves. 15.5 cm. Good-fair condition, worming to text. Stains and slight wear. On the title page is an owner’s inscription from Italy: “Moshe ben E. Avraham Padovani”. Library stamps. New fabric binding.
Siddur Korban Mincha, nusach Sefarad (Chassidic). With Ivri-teitch commentary, laws and customs in Yiddish. Contains the Book of Tehillim with Ma'amadot (separate title page). Zhitomir, 1864. Printed by Rabbi Chanina Lipa and Rabbi Yehoshua Heshel Shapira, grandsons of the Slavita Rabbi.
392 pages; 221 pages. 26.5 cm. Fair condition. Wear and tears, professionally restored (damage to text on several leaves), stains. New elaborate leather binding.