"Seder Birkat HaMazon with lovely illustrations, also Seder Birkot HaNehenin… and Seder Kriat Shema al HaMita…" - illuminated parchment manuscript. [Germany/Austria, 18th century].
Pocket size. Ink on parchment, with colorful illustrations. Contemporary parchment binding, with charming floral ornamentation.
A book of blessings with illustrations and ornamentation characteristic to the "Moravian School" of book illumination, of 18th century Germany or Austria. The illustrator of this manuscript was, most probably, familiar with books created by artists of the "Moravian School": Aaron Wolf Schreiber Herlingen of Gewitsch (Jevíčko), Meshulam Simmel of Polná, and others.
The manuscript is composed of 17 parchment leaves. Neat Ashkenazi square script with vowel points, and instructions in Hebrew (Rashi script) and in Yiddish-Deutsch (German in Hebrew letters - Tzena U'rena script). The initial words and some letters are decorated with miniature decoration. Rectangular borders frame the text on every page.
The manuscript opens with an architectural title page - illustration of an arched gate with two pillars, topped with three vases. Written at the end of the title page: "In Amsterdam typeface", with the word Amsterdam enlarged (as was the custom of printers in those days). On the following leaf, at the beginning of Seder Birkat HaMazon appears a colorful ornamentation surrounding the words "Baruch Hu U'Varuch Shemo" (Blessed is He and blessed is His Name). The initial word of HaMalach HaGo'el, on p. a, is decorated with flowers, an angel and a light-purple border.
 leaves (33 written pages). 12.5 cm. Fair-good condition. Stains. Slightly faded ink in several places. Ink and paint smears to illustrations. Tiny needle-holes to inner margins from previous sewing of the leaves. New endpapers. Contemporary restored parchment binding, stained.
Parchment manuscript, "Nighttime Kriat Shema". [Italy, ca. 19th century].
Miniature manuscript. Ink on thin parchment leaves, Italian square script, with instructions in Italian semi-cursive script. Title page with illuminated border: "Nighttime Kriat Shema". The page following the title page contains the title: "Nighttime Kriat Shema according to Kabbalah".
Bedtime Kriat Shema, with prayers and verses. Divided into the seven days of the week, with different psalms for each day. This service is rooted in the teachings of the Kabbalistic scholars R. Moshe Cordovero and the Arizal (printed in "Seder VeTikkun Kriat Shema She'al Hamita", Prague, 1615). This service was also printed in the "Shaar HaShamayim" siddur of the Shlah (Amsterdam, 1717, leaf 151), in the name of "the kabbalistic scholars in an oral tradition" and according to "the Sefardic siddur".
 leaves. 8.7 cm. Good condition. Stains. Leather binding.
Holidays Machzor – High Holy Days, Pesach, Shavuot, Sukkot and Rosh Chodesh – Elaborate Miniature on a Single Sheet of Parchment Cut Into Circles – Unusual and Unique Hebrew Manuscript – Italy, 15th Century
Miniature manuscript on parchment - year-round machzor for the High Holy Days, Pesach, Shavuot, Sukkot and Rosh Chodesh. [Italy, 15th century].
Illuminated Hebrew manuscript - unusual and exceptionally unique - of the Late Middle Ages.
Miniature manuscript, written on both sides of a single sheet of parchment cut into 76 circles, each with a diameter of approximately 3.5-4 cm, attached to one another at their margins. There are seven rows of circles, with eleven circles in each row (one circle is missing), for a total of 151 pages of text (one side of one of the circles is blank). This unique format allows for dynamic use of the manuscript, enabling the reader to fold the various circles into different configurations in order to expose the appropriate prayer segments. Upon completion of the prayers, the entire manuscript can be folded to the diameter of a single circle, and be easily stored and carried.
The manuscript is written in Italian semi-cursive script, within circular frames. The initial words are decorated with miniature leaves and ornamented in vivid blue and red colors. Several of the paragraph indentations are marked in red (tab marks). Headings are framed or underlined with curved lines. Instructions are written or decorated in red. The style of illumination and the shape of the letters match those of other Hebrew manuscripts written in Europe in the late Middle Ages.
Contents of the Manuscript:
The manuscript includes the text of the Amidah prayers for Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Pesach, Shavuot and Sukkot according to the Italian rite, as well as "Inyan Rosh Chodesh", which includes Mussaf for Rosh Chodesh, Mussaf for Shabbat Rosh Chodesh and "Hallel for the entire year".
The liturgical poem (piyyut) "Reshut D'Nishmat L'Harav Yoav" appears preceding Mussaf for Rosh Hashanah - a piyyut by R. Yoav ben Yechiel of Rome (Davidson, Thesaurus of Medieval Hebrew Poetry, no. 3291).
The Neilah prayer for Yom Kippur, as well as the prayers for Pesach, Shavuot and Sukkot, do not contain the first three blessings nor the final three blessings, whose text is standard. The scribe only included the unique middle blessing of each prayer.
Order of Text:
Pages [1-15]: Amidah prayer for Shacharit, Minchah and Arvit of Rosh Hashanah.
Pages [15-22]: "Avinu Malkeinu" prayer.
Pages [23-60]: Mussaf for Rosh Hashanah (complete text, including the Malchuyot, Zichronot and Shofarot blessings). Page  contains a concluding colophon: "The Rosh Hashanah prayers are complete, praise G-d", as well as the title: "Seder Yom HaKippurim".
Page : Instructions for the Minchah prayer of Yom Kippur eve, followed by the decorated heading: "Tefillat Tzom Kippur".
Pages [62-82]: Amidah prayer for Yom Kippur.
Page : This page is blank (the text completely faded). It apparently included the final line of the "Elokai Netzor" prayer of the Yom Kippur Amidah, as well as the title for Mussaf of Yom Kippur.
Pages [84-97]: Mussaf for Yom Kippur (the three final blessings were not copied, and the reader is referred to the previous Amidah).
Pages [98-103]: Neilah prayer.
Page  concluding colophon: "The Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur prayers are complete, praise G-d, Amen Selah".
Page  opening title: "Tefillah of Pesach, Shavuot and Sukkot".
Pages [106-110]: Amidah prayer for Pesach, Shavuot and Sukkot.
Pages [111-132]: Mussaf for Pesach, Shavuot and Sukkot (separate paragraphs for each holiday; the texts for the eight days of Sukkot are titled: "Mussafin shel Chag"). Page  contains a concluding colophon: "The prayers for Pesach, Shavuot and Sukkot are complete, praise G-d, Amen".
Pages [133-137]: Mussaf for Rosh Chodesh with the title: "Inyan Rosh Chodesh".
Pages [137-142]: Mussaf for Shabbat Rosh Chodesh titled: "Mussaf for Shabbat and Rosh Chodesh".
Pages [143-152]: "Hallel for the entire year". A page is missing between pages  and , with part of the text of Hallel missing.
Only a few Christian and Muslim manuscripts from the 15th century that bear some similarity to this manuscript are known; the best-known of them is the Codex Rotundus, a "book of hours" (Christian devotional) manuscript written and illuminated in Bruges during the 15th century, known as the Rotundus due to its circular shape. None of these manuscripts, however, include the most striking and unique features of the manuscript offered here - namely, its miniature dimensions, it being written on a single sheet of parchment that can be folded to pocket size, and it being written in Hebrew. These three features make this manuscript an extremely rare and exceptionally unique item.
There are only two known items which are similar to this manuscript: In 1984, Sotheby's auctioned a similar manuscript, consisting of 49 circles with a diameter of 6.5 cm, containing the prayers for Pesach, Shavuot and Sukkot. A similar manuscript is held in the collection of the Skirball Museum in Los Angeles. It consists of 64 circles and contains the Passover Hagaddah.
Enclosed is a metal case (with glass remnants), similar to a pocket-watch case, used to store the manuscript.
 pages. Each circle has a diameter of 3.5-4 cm. The entire sheet (unfolded) is 43X27 cm. Condition varies; fair to good. The first circle of the first row is missing (part of the text of Hallel was written on its verso, see above). One circle detached. P.  is blank and darkened (its text was apparently worn and completely faded). Stains, tears and damage to text on the outermost circles. Stains from oxidation due to contact with the metal carrying case when folded. The inner circles are in good condition, with slight staining. Corrosion and damage to metal case. Broken and missing glass.
Manuscript with Illustration, Engravings and a Papercut – The Priestly Breastplate and Beit HaMikdash (Holy Temple) – Amsterdam, 1688 – Binyamin Senior Godines, Illustrator of the Title Page of Meah Berachot
Manuscript on topics related to Beit HaMikdash (the Temple), with an illustration by Binyamin Senior Godines. [Amsterdam], 1688. Spanish and Portuguese.
The manuscript contains two compositions, an illustration, engravings and a papercut. The title page bears the title "Choshen HaMishpat" and a splendid high-quality colorful gilt illustration of the priestly breastplate, signed "By Binyamin Senior, 1688".
The first composition (in Spanish) deals with the breastplate gems, their names, virtue and identity in our times. At the beginning of the composition, the author notes that the composition is arranged according to the book Shiltei Giborim (by the physician R. Avraham Portaleone, 1542-1612).
The second composition (in Portuguese) describes the edifice of the Temple and its services: dimensions, time of construction, amounts of gold and silver required for the various Temple vessels, amount of oil and wine required annually for the services, etc. This composition is also found in another manuscript which belonged to R. Isaac de Matatia Aboab, held in the Ets Haim Library in Amsterdam (Manuscript 48 E 26, third pagination, pp. 28/b-33/b).
Three engravings were bound between the two compositions: One, hand-colored engraving, with gilt adornments, depicts the Mishkan (Tabernacle) and its vessels, and the other two depict the Temple and its vessels. The engraving of the Mishkan is taken from the book Retrato Del Tabernaculo De Moseh and the other two engravings of the Temple and its vessels were taken from an edition of the book Retrato del templo de Selomo, both by R. Judah Leon Templo (1603-1675), a Dutch scholar from Amsterdam who extensively studied matters pertaining to the Temple and the Mishkan and built a model of the Temple which he exhibited throughout Europe. A unique papercut shaped like the ephod and choshen is glued on the blank leaf following the engravings.
Binyamin Senior Godines was a renowned artist, scribe and engraver, member of the Portuguese community in Amsterdam. He copied compositions for R. Isaac de Matatia Aboab of Amsterdam (1631-1707) and published the book Meah Berachot (also called Seder Berachot, Orden de Benediciones, Amsterdam 1687-1688) with his own engraving on the title page (signed: B.G.). In the introduction to the book Me'ah Berachot, Godines writes that he prepared the book for print and that it is based on a manuscript found in the library of R. Isaac de Matatia Aboab, while in fact, he himself wrote the manuscript at the behest of R. Isaac de Matatia Aboab (this manuscript is held today in the Ets Haim Library in Amsterdam, no. 47 E 33). Three drawings created by Godlines are held today in the Jewish Museum London which were made "at the behest of Isaac de Matatia Aboab". Several other manuscripts written and illustrated by Godlines are held in the Ets Haim Library in Amsterdam including a kabbalistic illustration of an Ilan Sefirot (end of manuscript no. 48 A 16).
 wrapper,  leaves +  engravings. Good condition. Few stains and creases.
Manuscript, laws of shechita and terefot, with questions and answers regarding these laws and verses for Sefirat HaOmer. [Italy, ca. second half of the 16th century].
Cursive Italian script, on thick high-quality paper (watermark on one leaf concurring with paper produced in Germany in the mid-16th century).
At the beginning of the manuscript is a brief composition on the laws of shechita and terefot by an anonymous author. This is followed by questions and short answers for testing proficiency in these laws.
P. [26b] opens with a special compilation of verses which allude to the numbers 1-49, corresponding to the days of the Counting of the Omer. This conforms to a well-known custom of noting the number of each day of counting by means of a verse. [This custom is cited in the book Mo'ed David by R. David Meldola, Amsterdam 5500: "Scribes had the custom of writing, on letters which they wrote to loved ones or to relatives during the period of Sefirat HaOmer, a verse from the Torah or Scriptures which alluded to the number of that day of counting instead of writing the number…". The manuscript attests that this custom had already been practiced in earlier times]. Most of the numbers have a large and varied selection of verses. Including the source of each verse.
The parchment binding of the manuscript was made from a part of an ancient Latin manuscript.
46 leaves. 13.5 cm. Good-fair condition. Stains, traces of dampness. Faded ink in several places. Worming to some leaves, affecting the text in several places. Contemporary damaged parchment binding.
Manuscript, Libro de Capitoli della Unione de Compari [Book of Regulations of Chevrat Sandekaut]. Senigallia, Italy, 1740.
Book of regulations of the "Chevrat Sandekaut" [Society of Sandeks] in Senigallia. Most of the manuscript is in Italian, with two pages and several headings in Hebrew. Following the title page is a page in Hebrew with the title: "The Importance of Sandekaut", with quotes from Shnei Luchot Habrit (Shlah) regarding the importance of this mitzvah [holding of the baby at his circumcision]. The bottom of the page is beautifully decorated. The words at the end of the text, "the sandek is akin to an altar", are emphasized with enlarged letters.
Following is an introduction in Italian with the date (in Hebrew letters): "Rosh Chodesh Nissan 1740". Handwritten on the cover: "Libro de Capitoli" (book of regulations) and the date: "1740".
At the end of the manuscript (pp. 26b-27a) are signatures (in Italian) of the members of the society, followed (p. 27b) by a document of testimony (Italian Hebrew script) which was written at the beginning of the following Hebrew year (October 1740), containing the names of the society members in Hebrew: "In our presence, the undersigned members requested our testimony to the fact that they established this organization of their free goodwill, and they have read all the ordinances in this book of regulations, and have signed their names below… [list of signatories]… Cheshvan, 1740, Senigallia".
The testimony is signed by "Yitzchak M. dell Almo" and "Menachem Vaterbi".
In Italy, as in other Ashkenazic communities, members of "Chevrat Sandekaut" would provide the expenses of the brit milah and the accompanying festive meal for those of limited means, and would serve as sandeks at the bris.
, 28 leaves. 20.5 cm. Good condition. Stains and wear. Original cardboard cover, with stains and wear.
Large Handwritten Proclamation, “Regulations for Fiancés” and Other Regulations of the Ancona Community, by R. Yosef Fiametta (Son-in-law of the Author of Shemesh Tzedaka) and by the City Rabbis – Ancona, 1691
Large broadside (proclamation), "Regulations for fiancés" and other regulations of the Ancona community for preventing immorality and reinforcing halachic controls, with signatures of the city's rabbis, headed by R. Yosef Fiametta, Rabbi of Ancona. [Ancona], 1691.
Large-format broadside. Square Italian script on thick paper. In the margins are copied signatures of the city's rabbi, R. Yosef son of R. Shlomo Fiametta (Rabbi of Ancona, eminent Italian Torah scholar and kabbalist. Son-in-law of R. Shimshon Morpurgo, author of Shemesh Tzedaka) and two other Rabbis of Ancona.
At the top of the leaf is a "Regulations for fiancés" - to prevent "the practices of the ignorant and unlearned which lead to thousands of thousands types of Gehinnom", that fiancés meet their fiancées in private places. The regulation prohibits such meetings, with the exception of meeting in public places and threatens those fiancés who breach this prohibition ["If we find… a fiancé who breaches this agreement… he will not be blessed with the 'Minchat Chatanim' and he will not receive a place of honor in the synagogue…"].
In the center of the leaf is another title - "Regulations of Shabbat and Yom Tov" and a list of various regulations: closing shops on Erev Shabbat in the late afternoon, ceasing all work after Kabbalat Shabbat, prohibition to warm food and drink by non-Jews on Shabbat except for the ill or for children, prohibition to leave the ghetto to buy commodities from non-Jews, prohibition for women to comb their hair on Shabbat, etc.
Further in the leaf are more regulations: prohibition to purchase grape juice without proper kashrut supervision, prohibition of mixed games not within the immediate family (with a detailed list of games: cards, dice, chess, etc.), prohibition to participate in parties at which men and women or women alone drink alcoholic beverages to inebriation; prohibition for "women of marriageable age as well as those who are engaged to be married and married women" to wear short clothing; prohibition to shave side locks with a razor, etc.
Handwritten leaf, height: 56.6 cm, width: 42.5 cm. Fair condition. Dark stains. Folding marks, with coarse tears in several places, affecting text.
Manuscript, endorsement of a ruling by the sages of the Ancona Yeshiva, handwritten and signed by R. David Finzi, Rabbi of Mantua, son-in-law of R. Moshe Chaim Luzzatto, the Ramchal, "on behalf of the sages of the yeshiva" in Mantua. Mantua, 1726.
Endorsement of a ruling regarding laws of neighbors by Ancona sages: "I have seen the ruling of the sages of the Ancona Yeshiva…". At the end, R. David Finzi signs: "… Obscurity does not exist here, rather light, G-d shall enlighten our eyes with his laws and show us wonders of his Torah, Mantua, Thursday, the 22nd of Shevat 1726, David son of R. Azriel Finzi who writes on behalf of the sages of the yeshiva".
The ruling, objections to the ruling and endorsements of the opinion of the rabbis of Ancona by Italian sages were printed in the Shemesh Tzedaka responsa by R. Shimshon Morpurgo, Rabbi of Ancona, Choshen Mishpat, sections 13-32. This endorsement was printed there in section 19 [with minor variations].
The kabbalist and Torah sage R. David son of R. Azriel Finzi (died in 1735) was a disciple of R. Yehuda Briel in revealed Torah knowledge and of R. Moshe Zacuto in Kabbalistic wisdom, Rabbi of Mantua and prominent Italian rabbi in his days. He sided with the Ramchal during the polemic against him and sent a letter supporting the Ramchal to R. Shimshon Morpurgo, author of Shemesh Tzedaka (printed in the book Igrot Ramchal U'Vnei Doro, Igeret 57) and ultimately wed the Ramchal's daughter Zipporah. The Ramchal composed a long lamentation upon the death of his son-in-law (printed in the book Yarim Moshe, pp. 307-311).
Folded leaf,  written page. 21 cm. Good condition. High-quality paper. Few stains. Folding marks.
Manuscript (two leaves), prayer for easy labor for the Empress Marie Louisa, Napoleon's wife, by R. Refael Yeshaya Azulai son of the Chida, Rabbi of Ancona. [Ancona (Italy), 1810/1].
Italian script with corrections and additions in Italian and Sephardi script.
The manuscript opens with "A prayer arranged by R. Refael Yeshaya Azulai, for the Empress wife of our Master the mighty King the great Emperor, in the time of her pregnancy. G-d should heed our prayers and sustain her during labor that she should bear with ease and tranquility without any pain, Amen".
The scribe left an empty space for the name of the Emperor and his wife and in a few places, he wrote in these spaces: "She [Plonit] who is called" [acronym], or just "Plonit". Subsequently, the name of Empress Maria Luigia (Italian) was added in the space between the lines in several places. The name of Napoleon, with honorary titles in Italian (in Hebrew letters), was added in two places.
Following the abovementioned prayer are the prayer HaNoten Teshu'a LaMelachim for Napoleon and his family [with the names integrated into the text by the scribe], and the prayer Mi SheBerach for "this holy congregation".
Corrections and erasures in several places with several revisions in Sephardi script and another inscription on the last page, also in Sephardi script: "Prayer on behalf of the Empress". Possibly, these corrections and/or inscription are in the handwriting of R. Refael Yeshaya Azulai himself.
In 1810, Napoleon Bonaparte married the Archduchess Marie Louise, daughter of Archduke Francis of Austria, Emperor of Austria, after divorcing his first wife who was unable to give him an heir. On March 20, 1811, Maria Louisa gave birth to the crown prince, Napoléon François Charles Joseph Bonaparte, known as Napoleon II.
R. Refael Yeshaya Azulai (1743-1826) was born in Jerusalem, the eldest son of his illustrious father Rabbi Chaim Yosef David Azulai, the Chida. A great Torah scholar, he was a rabbi, posek and leader of Italian Jewry in his times. Some of his halachic responsa were printed in his father's books, who honored and esteemed him and always mentioned him with epithets of love ("my dear son", "my firstborn son, the perfect great chacham", "the light of my eyes", "friend of my soul", etc.). In 1785, after the death of R. Avraham Yisrael Rabbi of Ancona, the community leaders applied to the Chida and he hinted that his son Rabbi Refael Yeshaya is suitable for this position. The latter served many years as Rabbi of Ancona until his death on the 9th of Shevat 1826 (he lived 83 years, like his father). He was greatly honored at his death and was mourned by his congregation for a long time thereafter [for further information see the book by Meir Benayahu on the Chida, pp. 476-487].
 pages. 26 cm. Fair condition. Stains and wear. Tears and worming affecting text in some places. Folding marks.
Leaf (2 pages) handwritten by the Chida, novellae on Even HaEzer, section 9.
The content has been printed in the Chida's book Birkei Yosef (Livorno 1774), however, this leaf contains many variations in comparison to the printed version.
For example: This leaf contains a flowery phrase about the Rambam: "The words were emitted from the mouth of the king the Rambam, a responsum cited in the responsa of the Maharam Elshakar…". This expression was omitted from the printed version and printed simply: "The Rambam, in a responsum cited the Maharam Elshakar …". See more examples in the Hebrew description.
The Chida - R. Chaim Yosef David Azulai (1724-1806), a leading posek, kabbalist, exalted Torah scholar, prolific author and famous rabbinical emissary. Born in Jerusalem, son of R. Raphael Yitzchak Zerachya Azulai, a Jerusalemite scholar and great-grandson of Kabbalist Rabbi Avraham Azulai, author of Chesed Le'Avraham. From his early years, he was a disciple of leading Jerusalemite scholars and kabbalists, including Rabbi Chaim Ben Attar, the Or HaChaim HaKadosh. He began studying kabbalah at the Beit E-l Yeshiva for Kabbalists headed by R. Shalom Mizrachi Sharabi, the holy Rashash, and was a contemporary of R. Yom Tov (Maharit) Algazi who studied with him in the yeshiva.
In 1753, he embarked on his first mission as a rabbinical emissary on behalf of the Hebron community. During the course of his five years of travel, he passed through Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, England and France, gaining fame and attracting a great deal of attention and esteem wherever he traversed. In 1873, the Chida embarked on another mission on behalf of the Hebron community which left a profound imprint on all the places he visited. At the end of this journey, he settled in Livorno, Italy, to serve as rabbi and there he published most of his books.
The Chida was among the greatest authors of all times and composed more than 80 works in all facets of Torah, including his composition Birkei Yosef, a commentary on the Shulchan Aruch which has greatly impacted the area of halachic rulings. His books were heralded throughout the entire Jewish Diaspora with the highest deference. He wrote the majority of his compositions while preoccupied with travelling or with other matters and with access to very few books, attesting to his overwhelming genius and phenomenal memory. In each city the Chida visited, he would visit the local libraries in search of unknown manuscripts and compositions written by Torah scholars. Due to the great respect and admiration he evoked, he was granted authorization to enter large libraries and museums, such as the National Library of France, in which he spent many hours copying important manuscripts. The vast knowledge he gained during these visits was infused into all his books, and especially into his bibliographic masterpiece Shem HaGedolim.
His monumental composition Birkei Yosef particularly stands out among his works. This commentary and novellae on the Shulchan Aruch earned high acclaim and is known for its strong impact on the area of halachic rulings. He began to write the book in Hebron, however, he continued adding to it during his travels. At the beginning of his second mission, upon reaching Livorno in 1774, he brought it to print. The book quickly spread throughout the Jewish Diaspora and in the Chida's lifetime already appeared in abridged form, such as Mishpat Katuv by R. Avraham son of R. Yisrael Pinso and Kemach Solet by R. Yehuda son of R. Moshe Ali (both printed in Salonika in 1798).
 leaf, two pages in the handwriting of the Chida. 31 lines per page. 20.5 cm. Fair condition. Worming, partially affecting the text.
Enclosed is an expert's report identifying the handwriting as that of the Chida.
Manuscript leaf, a Halachic responsum, handwritten and signed by R. Moshe ibn Chaviv, author of "Get Pashut". [Jerusalem, second half of the 16th century].
Single leaf, handwritten on both sides. Autographic writing of the author, R. Moshe ibn Chaviv, with deletions and emendations. The responsum concerns the explanation of a Tosafot in Tractate Rosh Hashanah. This leaf contains the second half of the responsum, signed at the end: "So it seems to me, the young Moshe ibn Chaviv". This responsum was printed in Kol Gadol (Jerusalem, 1907, section 84; reprinted in Responsa Maharam Chaviv, Chochmat Shlomo edition, section 274).
R. Moshe ibn Chaviv [Habib] (1654-1696) was the "Rishon LeTzion" and rabbi of Jerusalem, and one of the greatest Torah scholars of his generation. He authored "Shemot BaAretz VeKapot Temarim", "Get Pashut" and other works. The Chida pronounced him "the greatest of his generation", "the great illuminator of his generation" and other honorific titles. The Pnei Yehoshua (Ketubot 14a, Kuntres Acharon, section 46) titled him "the greatest of the late masters of Torah (Acharonim)". R. Moshe was born in Salonika to a prominent family of Spanish exiles (descendants of R. Yaakov ibn Chaviv, author of "Ein Yaakov", and his son R. Levi ibn Chaviv, the Maharalbach). As a teenager he travelled to Eretz Israel, to study in Jerusalem at the yeshiva of R. Yaakov Chagiz. Soon he became renowned as one of the best students, and despite his youth, the great scholars of the yeshiva such as R. Chizkia da Silva, author of "Pri Chadash", R. Shlomo Algazi, R. Moshe Galante and others, would include him in their Torah debates. At around the age of fifteen he married the daughter of the Rosh Yeshiva, R. Yaakov Chagiz, and upon her passing, he remarried the daughter of R. Yonatan Galante, a sister of R. Moshe Galante ("HaRav HaMagen"). Upon the passing of R. Moshe Galante, R. Moshe ibn Chaviv succeeded him as "Rishon LeTzion" and rabbi of Jerusalem, a position which he held until his untimely passing seven years later. He left a large number of manuscripts, from them the following compositions were printed posthumously: "Get Pashut", "Ezrat Nashim" and "Shemot BaAretz" (the latter comprises "Yom Teruah" on Tractate Rosh Hashanah, "Tosefet Yom HaKippurim" on Tractate Yoma, and "Kapot Temarim" on Tractate Sukka). The works "Get Pashut" and "Ezrat Nashim" have become basic texts in Jewish law, while "Shemot BaAretz" is accepted as an important commentary to the aforementioned tractates. In fact, the Pnei Yehoshua writes that he abridged his own work due to the existence of Shemot BaAretz, and R. Akiva Eiger authored annotations to this work. In more recent years, further works of R. Moshe ibn Chaviv have been published, including responsa, sermons and his commentary to the Jerusalem Talmud.
 leaf, written on both sides. Approx. 20 cm. Fair condition. Stains and dampstains, wear and large tears to the margins.
Manuscript leaf, emissary writ for R. Yitzchak Parchi, signed by leading Jerusalemite rabbis of his times: the Rishon L'Zion R. Yonah Moshe Navon (author of Pi Shnayim), R. Yitzchak Kovo (the Rishon L'Zion from 1848), R. Binyamin Mordechai Navon (Ra'avad of Jerusalem and head of the Kabbalist Yeshiva Beit E-l), R. Chaim Moshe Pizanti (Torah scholar and dayan in Jerusalem), R. Yom Tov Refael Meyuchas (prominent Jerusalemite sage, author of Mei Be'er) and R. Avraham Bachar Avraham (a Jerusalemite community leader). Jerusalem, Cheshvan .
Handwritten in cursive Sephardi script, with several enlarged words written in square letters: "Western Wall", "Four Synagogues", "Yitzchak Parchi", "Magishei Mincha", "Golden bell and pomegranate and Torah crown and Tablets of Law", etc.
At the beginning of the leaf, the name of the city Ancona is written [in another handwriting] in the blank space left for entering the name of the community visited by the emissary.
A long passage handwritten and signed by R. Yitzchak Parchi appears under the signatures, containing a letter to the Ancona community written in Trieste ("I am waiting for a speedy reply here in Trieste"). R. Yitzchak apologizes that he himself will not come to Ancona because he heard that those who visit there are required to be quarantined ("in contumàcia" - detention camp for preventing epidemics) for 14 days, and he requests that the Jews of the Ancona community send him their donation and merit "building one of the Jerusalem ruins".
The leaf was folded and sent by mail to Ancona. On the verso appear a Hebrew address in the handwriting of R. Yitzchak Parchi, as well as an address in Italian, postal stampings and remnants of a wax seal.
The kabbalist and sage R. Yitzchak Parchi (1782-1853), called the "Jerusalemite Maggid", was a leading Torah figure in his times. Born in Safed, son of R. Shlomo Parchi who was an orator and teacher, orphaned in his childhood and raised and educated in Jerusalem in the home of the Maharit Algazi who took him under his wing. He assisted the leading Jerusalem kabbalists including the Rosh, R. Avraham Shalom Mizrachi Sharabi (grandson of the Rashash). Eventually, he grew to be a celebrated sage and dayan in the city and was famous as a teacher and preacher. Many years of his life were devoted to collecting funds on behalf of the Jerusalem Kollels in Turkey, the Balkan countries and Italy. During his travels, he printed many of his books and distributed them among Jewish notables. He wrote Matok L'Nefesh, Zechut HaRabim, Marpeh LaEtzem, Mussar Haskel, Shevet Mishor, Hadrat Zekenim (on the Idra), Minei Metikah, Tzuf Dvash, Rochev Aravot, Zechut U'Mishor, and other books. He was primarily celebrated for his work Matok M'Dvash which is cherished throughout the Jewish world and already during the 19th century was reprinted in over ten editions in Zhovkva, Zhitomir, Vilna, Warsaw, Lublin and Lemberg.
Leaf (folded into two). 25 cm. Good condition. Stains (to outside of leaf). Folding marks. Single tiny worm hole.
Sefer HaTakanot V'Haskamot, public regulations and halachic customs established by Jerusalem's rabbis throughout the generations, by R. Chaim Avraham Gagin. Jerusalem: R. Yisrael Bak, 1842.
Two title pages. The first title page is decorated with a woodcut. The second title page appears on leaf  after R. Gagin's introduction.
The second Hebrew book printed in Jerusalem, in the printing press established by R. Yisrael Bak of Berdichev and Safed, disciple of R. Levi Yitzchak of Berdichev and R. Yisrael of Ruzhyn.
This book is comprised of two parts: the first contains R. Gagin's introduction and a long responsum (dated 1824) by R. Shlomo Moshe Suzin regarding the ability of a religious court to establish public regulations. The second part includes a compilation of the regulations and customs of Eretz Israel organized according to the four sections of the Shulchan Aruch. At the end of the book are approbations of rabbis and community officials, who give the printing press of R. Yisrael Bak the exclusive rights to printing in Eretz Israel, dated 1841 and 1842. The approbations describe how R. Yisrael established a new printing press in Jerusalem after his press in Safed was destroyed by vandals. [There are some copies without the approbations from 1842. See the Bibliography of the Hebrew Book no. 123175, and S. Halevy, "Hebrew Books Printed in Jerusalem", no. 3].
The bibliographer A. Tauber, in his article "History of the Printing Press in Eretz Israel" (Mechkarim Bibliographim, pp. 10-11; Jerusalem Anthology - Lechakirat Eretz Israel, Jerusalem 1928, pp. 179-192), posits that the main purpose of this book was to strengthen several controversial public regulations (especially regulations regarding estate and ownership titles). R. Gagin and the Sephardic community officials encouraged the establishment of R. Yisrael Bak's printing press in order to print this book, which was intended to be the first book printed in that printing press. R. Gagin, who was persecuted by his opponents, initiated the printing of this book in order to answer their contentions. In order that this should not be obvious, R. Gagin instructed R. Yaakov Kapiluto and R. Avraham Ashkenazi, two Jerusalemite scholars, to research the customs and ordinance of Eretz Israel and organize them according to the four sections of the Shulchan Aruch. They then added the responsa opposing those who questioned the abovementioned ordinances.
This book was evidently printed in stages according to the progress of the abovementioned editors. According to Tauber, the first part of "Sefer HaTakanot" was already printed in 1841 (before the printing of "Avodat HaKodesh", which is recognized as the first Hebrew book printed in Jerusalem). The printing was only concluded after R. Kapiluto and R. Ashkenazi completed compiling and editing the second part of the book.
The first title page contains ownership inscriptions in Eastern handwriting: "Z.S. Chofni" (=This belongs to me, Ch--- P---, may my light shine). Several glosses in Eastern handwriting (especially in the section regarding the laws and customs of religious divorce). P. 67b contains a gloss from a different author, signed "S.Tz".
, 13-72,  leaves. Mispagination. 14.5 cm. High-quality paper. Good-fair condition. Worming damage (some professionally restored with paper). Stains. Old binding.
S. Halevy, no. 3 (in fact this is the second book printed in Jerusalem, as no. 2 in S. Halevy's listing is a broadside, not a book).
Manuscript, ledger of "Chevra Kadisha" [burial society] in Jerusalem. Oriental Sephardic script in Hebrew and Ladino. Jerusalem, 1841-1857.
The volume is replete with thousands of records and details, related to burial in Jerusalem of the mid-19th century. This manuscript is a highly valuable source for the history of Jerusalem's Jews of that time; many of the details recorded here are unknown from other sources. The register contains thousands of names of the deceased, the date and place of burial, and various payment listings. Some of the entries also include the address of the deceased or the location of the start of the funeral procession (using the names of courtyards and hospitals).
The ledger also contains listings of money transfers involving the city's leaders and rabbis; listings of burial plots purchased in advance; payment of burial expenses; purchase of burial shrouds and headstones; and accounts with the various kollelim and organizations in the city who contributed to the burial expenses in cases of need ("Poor fund", "Orphans fund", "Bikur cholim fund" and others).
The ledger was written in order to organize payment among all the involved parties: the graveyard workers, families of the deceased, rabbis and charitable institutions. Also mentioned in the ledger are arrangements with leaders of the Ashkenazic community in Jerusalem and community leaders from Hebron, Safed and Tiberias (residents of other cities used to travel to Jerusalem for medical treatment, and some of them were buried in Jerusalem).
The dates listed in the notebook are the dates of burial, which are usually the dates of death as well, since in Jerusalem every effort is made to bury the deceased on the day of their passing. The listings mention various burial sections ("Kabir" in Judeo-Arabic): "Chassidim" (near the graves of the Rashash and the Or HaChayyim), "Mag'aris", "Burak", "Tomb of Zechariah", "Absalom's Pillar", "Beit HaChayyim Yashan", "Chadash", "Kohanim", "Attias", "Aryeh", "Tiya", "Kanfiko", "Machg'ar", "Polnis", "Mizrachis", "Sambuski" [Sambuski refers to the graveyard on Mount Zion, named for the prominent Sambuski family buried there].
The ledger lists thousands of deceased buried in Jerusalem, including many great Jerusalemite rabbis, such as the Chacham Bashi R. Avraham Gagin and R. Yaakov Antebi of Damascus.
The Ashkenazic deceased are listed (mostly in separate lists) usually only by first name, and occasionally only by the name of the courtyard where they lived. One of the Ashkenazic individuals mentioned often is "R. Yisrael the printer" (R. Yisrael Bak). The ledger also includes the dates of the passing of two of his sons-in-law.
The identity of the writer, as well as his official position within the burial society, is unknown. On p. 110b is a Ladino inscription signed "the young Yehuda Chaim Halevi…". On p. 237b appears a contract (in different handwriting) signed by R. "Mordechai Chaim ben Yosef Meyuchas", confirming the payment of his debt to the author of the ledger. The contract seems to indicate that the author's name was Chaim, possibly R. Chaim Yaakov Parnas, rabbi in Jerusalem and head of the Sephardic Chevra Kadisha in 1854.
The title of the first page of the listings of the deceased reads: "Register of the Deceased of Parnas". The Parnas family of Jerusalem [descendants of R. Chaim Yaakov Parnas] served as trustees of the cemeteries serving Jerusalem for over a century. Other cemetery ledgers of the Parnas family are known, from a later time period (ca. 1900-1940). These ledgers (located today in the Jerusalem city archives), are essential in the identification of graves on the Mount of Olives from that time period. This ledger, however, is from a considerably earlier time period (mid-19th century), and provides much information not found elsewhere. The known ledgers of the Parnas family were written briefly and were used to document the work of the gravediggers and the locations of graves. Unlike them, this ledger contains a great deal of organized, detailed information.
 leaves; approx.  written pages (in small, cramped handwriting). 13.5 cm. High-quality paper. Good-fair condition. Stains and extensive wear. Original leather binding, with embossed ornamentation, slightly damaged.
Collection of manuscript pages, Halachic responsa handwritten and signed by R. Eliyahu Suleiman Mani, rabbi of Hebron, including many responsa sent to his student R. Yosef Chaim of Baghdad, the Ben Ish Chai. [Hebron, ca. 1876].
The pages are excerpts from R. Mani's personal notebook of responsa (leaves 12-19, 37-42). The notebook is written alternately in the autographic handwriting of R. Mani (with erasures, additions and corrections), and another handwriting, likely that of his son, R. Suleiman Menachem Mani. Apparently, this notebook was used to write the original responsa, and they were then copied and sent to the askers. These pages include many responsa and sections that have never been printed.
Contents of the pages:
· On the first page is a part of a contract, copying in the handwriting of R. Suleiman Menachem Mani, with emendations by his father R. Eliyahu. Page 12a.
· Twenty-five questions sent by R. Yosef Chaim of Baghdad, the Ben Ish Chai, to R. Eliyahu. The questions are written in succession by R. Menachem Mani, followed by answers handwritten by R. Eliyahu. R. Eliyahu's signature appears following the last answer: "The young Eliyahu Suleiman Mani". Three of the responsa (without the questions) have been printed in Birchat Eliyahu by R. Eliyahu Suleiman Mani (Jerusalem, 1961, p. 28); the others, to the best of our knowledge, have never been printed. Pages 12b-15a.
· Question regarding ownership issues in cases of inheritance, with a long responsum by R. Eliyahu Mani; responsum regarding this issue by R. Avraham Ashkenazi, the Rishon Letzion of Jerusalem, copied by R. Menachem Mani; further responsum in this matter by R. Eliyahu Mani (the responsa are written alternately by R. Eliyahu and his son). These responsa have been printed in Responsa Tana D'vei Eliyahu by R. Eliyahu Suleiman Mani (Jerusalem: Chevrat Ahavat Shalom, 1991). Pages 15b-19b.
· Incomplete responsum (lacking at the beginning) regarding the principles of Halachic ownership, signed "the young Yitzchak Abulafia" (R. Yitzchak Abulafia, of Tiberias and Damascus, author of Pnei Yitzchak). The responsum was copied by R. Eliyahu Mani, and to the best of our knowledge has never been printed. Pages 37a-38a.
· Draft of a responsum regarding monetary matters, ending: "These are the words of the young Eliyahu Suleiman Mani". To the best of our knowledge this responsum has never been printed. Pages 39a-b.
· Twenty questions asked by R. Yosef Chaim of Baghdad, the Ben Ish Chai, to R. Eliyahu Mani. The questions are written in succession, handwritten by R. Menachem Mani, followed by R. Eliyahu's answers to these questions in his own handwriting. The title reads: "These questions I received from Babylon (Iraq), from R. Yosef Chaim…". The answers are signed: "These are the words of a poor man Eliyahu Suleiman Mani". These questions and answers, except the last, were printed in Chevrat Ahavat Shalom's "Min HaGenazim" anthology (Vol. VI, 2015, pp. 171-183), using a copy of the responsa prepared by R. Yechezkel Ezra Rachamim (Haya'ar). Here we have the original text in the author's handwriting, including some unprinted additions, as well as the twentieth question which was not printed. Pages 40a-41b.
· Questions from the Ben Ish Chai in the handwriting of R. Eliyahu Mani, numbered 57-82, titled: "On 22 Nissan 1876, I received 82 questions from R. Yosef Chaim, and I wrote answers… these are the remaining questions". To the best of our knowledge, they have never been printed. Pages 42a-b.
R. Eliyahu Suleiman Mani (1818-1899) was among the great Torah scholars of Babylon (Iraq), and the Chief Rabbi of Hebron. He was born in Baghdad, where he became a disciple of R. Abdullah Somech. He studied Kabbalah from a young age, and would fast and mortify himself in honor of G-ds presence. He moved to the Holy Land in 1856 in order to join the kabbalistic Beit El Yeshiva in Jerusalem. In 1858 he moved to Hebron, and was appointed chief rabbi of the city in 1864. He established the Beit Yaakov synagogue in Hebron under the auspices of the kabbalistic Yeshivat Beit El.
R. Eliyahu was the principal teacher of R. Yosef Chaim of Baghdad, known as the Ben Ish Chai, and instructed him in Torah as well as Kabbalah. Their close connection developed in Baghdad during the Ben Ish Chai's youth, and was maintained through frequent letters after R. Eliyahu moved to Eretz Israel. The Ben Ish Chai frequently forwarded questions to R. Mani, often regarding the customs of the land of Israel in general, and specifically the customs of its kabbalists. In his own works, the Ben Ish Chai often quotes R. Eliyahu's responsa as well as halachot that he taught. Sections of their correspondence and responsa were published by R. Yaakov Moshe Hillel, rosh yeshiva of Chevrat Ahavat Shalom in Jerusalem, in the Mekabtziel anthologies. R. Hillel argues that these responsa are essential for deriving the principles on which the Ben Ish Chai based his own works.
12-19, 37-42 leaves [14 leaves in total]. 27.5 cm. Fair condition. Stains and dampstains, large tears, mainly to the margins. Detached leaves, unbound.
Complete booklet, sermon for Shabbat HaGadol (the Shabbat preceding Passover). Autographic handwriting of R. Yosef Chaim of Baghdad, author of "Ben Ish Chai". [Baghdad], 1894.
Approximately 50 leaves (almost 100 pages), handwritten by the Ben Ish Chai. Larger-than-average leaves (other extant manuscripts of the Ben Ish Chai are written on 13.5 cm papers, while this manuscript is written on 19 cm paper). Autographic writing with erasures, corrections and additions between the lines. Several lines and paragraphs were crossed out, and two pages have been completely crossed out.
At the head of the first page, he wrote: "…This is a sermon which I delivered in 1894; may G-d allow me to continue to speak every year in life and peace for the sake of Heaven, Amen".
The sermon closes with the words: "May we rejoice with the coming of the Messiah, speedily in our days, Amen. May G-d help and guard us, Amen".
R. Yosef Chaim of Baghdad (1833-1909) was known as the Ben Ish Chai after the title of his most famous work. He was the son of R. Eliyahu Chaim and grandson of R. Moshe Chaim, rabbi of Baghdad. He was a student of the renowned R. Abdullah Somech, and became known even in his youth for his brilliance and righteousness. Upon his father's passing in 1859, he succeeded him as chief Torah lecturer of Baghdad at the young age of 26, and lectured every Shabbat thereafter in the city’s central synagogue for the next 50 years. His sermons on special
occasions such as Shabbat Shuva and Shabbat Hagadol drew crowds of thousands, all of who sat enthralled throughout the sermon, which often lasted for four to five hours. His sermons educated his listeners in Jewish law, history, Torah and Kabbalah.
Despite the fact that he held no official position, the Ben Ish Chai was recognized as the de facto leader of Baghdad and the entire Iraq, and all the local rabbis and judges deferred to him. His complete mastery of Torah and Kabbalah, as well as his great piety and holiness, gained him renown throughout the world. In 1869 he travelled to Eretz Israel in order to pray at the graves of tzaddikim. While praying, he received a heavenly message that the source of his soul was that of Benayahu ben Yehoyada. He therefore titled many of his works after the descriptives of Benayahu: Ben Ish Chai, Ben Ish Chayil, Ben Yehoyada, Rav Pe'alim, Od Yosef Chai and others. The Ben Ish Chai was a prolific author, and some of his other works include: Leshon Chachamim, Aderet Eliyahu, Responsa Torah Lishma (published anonymously), Chasdei Avot, Birkat Avot and others.
 leaves, including 48 written leaves, most written on both sides - 93 written pages. Approx. 25 lines per page, in the handwriting of the Ben Ish Chai. Approx. 19 cm. Good-fair condition. Stains and ink spreading in a number of places. Tears to several pages. Bound in an elaborate leather binding with gilt embossing.
Manuscript containing sermons, eulogies, Talmudic novellae and more from Moroccan scholars during ca. 1658-1729, copiyings from the manuscripts of R. Chaim Yaakov, emissary from Safed, author of "Tzror Hachaim", and anthologies from various books. [Tétouan, ca. 1720s].
Thick volume with hundreds of pages. Sephardic-eastern (Moroccan) handwriting, with handsome calligraphic titles and initials. The style of handwriting alternates throughout the volume. The majority of the volume was seemingly written by one scribe, with several paragraphs written by others.
The manuscript includes compilations from different sources available to the scribe: unprinted manuscripts and compositions by Moroccan scholars from the 17th and early 18th centuries, as well as printed books. Most of the manuscript is comprised of essays and homilies from Moroccan scholars (mid 17th-early 18th centuries), including: HaRashbatz (R. Shalom Ibn-Tzur); HaYaavetz (R. Yaakov Ibn-Tzur); R. Chasdai Almosnino (dayan in Tétouan); R. David Hakohen (died 1708); R. Shlomo Abudraham; R. Yitzchak Abudraham; R. Avraham ben Moussa; R. Yitzchak Babayas (died 1698); R. Shlomo Amar; R. Chaim Yaakov, emissary from Safed, and others. This manuscript was written by a scribe in ca. 1720s, and includes compilations from the manuscripts that were available to him at that time, ca. 1658-1729. To the best of our knowledge, much of the content of the manuscript is unknown from other sources and has never been printed.
The manuscript also includes copyings of essays from homiletic books published during the 17th century. Many of these essays underwent editing and adaptation, and some have glosses added (see p. 37b where a long learned gloss is inserted into the text, which reads "…according to my scant knowledge, I, the young Yehuda, will attempt to explain these verses in the manner that I heard from the rabbi…"). The entire volume contains glosses of emendations and elucidations. Some of the glosses are written in the margins, while others are included within the text itself. One of the glosses (p. 170a) is signed: "the words of Shlomo…".
The manuscript includes many sermons by R. David Cohen: the title on p. 79b states: "Second sermon by R. David Cohen in memory of a Torah scholar who passed away…". Pp. 94a-111b contain other sermons by R. David Cohen, with the final words of the scribe on p. 111b: "these are the sermons of R. David Cohen; I will now copy sermons by R. Shlomo Abudraham". Pp. 210a-b contain further sermons "by the wise R. David Cohen" - eight sermons for Shabbat Hagadol and one for Shavuot. The seventh sermon for Shabbat Hagadol mentions: "I heard in the name of R. Saadia Ibn Danan…". The end of the sermons on p. b contains the scribe's colophon: "the Shabbat Hagadol sermons are complete… by me, the young anonymous scribe for R. Shlomo Hacohen, leader of the community of Salé…" (Sefer Malki Rabanan, p. 114, mentions two rabbinical figures named Shlomo Hacohen who served in Salé ca. 1728).
The opening title on p. 111b states: "This is one of R. Shlomo Abudraham's sermons, which I repeated on the anniversary of the passing of my father-in-law, R. Avraham ben Zimra, my master and teacher, on 8 Adar I, 1658".
From p. 122b and on, many paragraphs are signed by another scribe: "Maharashbetz", "Maharash ben Tzur" (R. Shalom ben Moshe Ibn-Tzur, cousin of R. Yaakov ben Reuven Ibn-Tzur, the "Yaavetz", rabbi in Salé, who passed away prior to 1727).
Pages 167-174 contain copyings of sermons written by R. Chaim Yaakov, emissary of Safed: "This is what the great and wise R. Chaim Yaakov, emissary of Safed, wrote - this is a sermon that I gave in memory of my father, Adar I, 1720… and regarding the news of R. Yisrael Benvenisti". The manuscript contains further writings quoted from R. Chaim Yaakov, and p. 174b contains an inscription in the margin (in a different handwriting): "These are the words of R. Chaim Yaakov" (R. Chaim Yaakov ben R. Yaakov David was an emissary from Safed to North Africa during 1718-1728. He authored the works: "Sama DeChayei" and "Tzror Hachaim". His Torah thoughts are quoted in the works of R. Yaakov Ibn-Tzur and other Moroccan and Tunisian scholars from that time period).
Pp. 180a-189a contain various eulogies. The author menetions (p. 185b) his uncle, "My uncle, the great R. Yitzchak Abudraham, construes this differently, but in my humble opinion it seems to me…". On p. 188b the author writes: "It seems to me…" at the end of a paragraph, with the name "Mordechai Berdugo, scribe" written above (between the lines). [It is possible that this scribe was Marbi"tz (1715-1772 or 1763)]. The following colophon appears after the eulogies (page 195a): "I finished copying this work on Rosh Chodesh Adar I, 1723, anonymous".
Most of these sermons (those of R. David Cohen, the eulogies, the sermons of R. Chaim Yaakov of Safed, the novellae of R. Shalom ibn-Tzur, and others), are unknown from other sources and to the best of our knowledge have never been printed.
Approximately  leaves (pagination is faded and missing on many pages. Individual leaves are missing in several locations). , 62, 64-75, 77-84, , 94-112, 116-251,, 250-253, 257-267,  leaves. Approximately 20 cm. Fair condition. Most leaves and gatherings are detached. Heavy wear and tears. Stains and ink stains. Several pages are damaged by ink erosion. Original leather binding, worn and detached, without spine.
Autographic manuscript regarding aggadot (Talmudic stories), with other stories, handwritten and signed by R. Moshe Abikhzir, among the greatest Moroccan rabbis. [Morocco, 19th century].
Semi-cursive and cursive Eastern script. Page 17b contains a signed colophon: "These pamphlets were written by me, the youngest of the young, in great haste and without editing, and when I am able I will write a proper second edition. Moshe Abikhzir".
Collections of aggadot (Talmudic stories) and their commentaries (primarily Rashi and Maharsha). Page 37b contains an interpretative paragraph that begins: "so said the author, the words of the Tosafot are true… however in my humble opinion it seems…".
On pages [58-59] the author copied interesting stories and anecdotes that have seemingly never been printed. Among others, he repeats a story told by R. Chaim Pinto, rabbi of Essaouira (Mogador), a story that took place during the lifetime of R. Yehuda ibn Attar, and various other stories.
The following pages contain the author's elucidations of verses and sayings of Talmudic sages (Chazal), interspersed with parables. To the best of our knowledge, these elucidations have never been printed. [In two places a page begins in the middle of a sentence; the previous pages are missing].
R. Moshe ben Yosef Abikhzir was among the greatest scholars of Tafilalt, Morocco, in the 19th century. He was a colleague and associate of R. Yaakov Abuchatzeira, the "Abir Yaakov" (who refers to him as "the friend of my heart and soul"). He lived in the village of Ghris, "and all the surrounding villages deferred to him. He was a great scholar and collected many books from distant countries at great personal effort. Eventually, he established a library, and all the books scattered throughout the villages of Tafilalt were left by him" (Malki Rabanan Be'ercho). Two questions addressed by him to R. Yaakov Berdugo were printed in the latter's responsa "Shufrei D'Yaakov".
 leaves. 16 cm. Good-fair condition. Stains. Tears and wear. New elaborate leather binding.
Manuscript siddur containing prayers and piyyutim (liturgical poems) for various times. Sana'a, 1941.
Colorful manuscript, artistically illuminated. Neat Yemenite script, with decorated titles and initials and decorations at the ends of passages, in shades of red, green and brown. Colorful illustrations in a number of places: architectural title pages with floral and vegetal decorations, illustrations of birds, rosettes and other illustrations.
The manuscript includes: Seder Sefirat HaOmer (in Aramaic, as is the custom of Yemenite Jews), prayers for Rosh Chodesh, blessing over the new moon, blessings over the Chanukah lamp, "for Purim", Psalms for each day of the week, Song of Songs, Shabbat prayers, Shabbat eve Kiddush, Havdalah for the end of Shabbat with piyyutim, and Ashmurot.
"Seder HaAshmurot" has a separate title page, which contains the name of the writer, place and year: "Written in Sana'a for… Yichye… ben Suleiman ben Yosef Badichi… by me, the young Shalom ben Yichye ben Chaim ben Yosef Korach… Friday 27th Elul 1941".
The scribe and illustrator, R. Shalom ben Yichye Korach (1873-1953), was a scholar and educator, and the scribe of the community of Sana'a. In 1946 he was appointed dean of the new Jewish school in Sana'a, together with Chief Rabbi Amram Korach. He moved to Israel in 1950 and settled in Jerusalem. He authored several works and transcribed many others. He was known for his artistic talent, and books which he transcribed are known for their beauty as well as for their clarity and precision. See: Gavra, Encyclopedia of Yemenite Scholars, p. 566.
95 leaves (2 blank). 18 cm. Good condition. High-quality paper. Stains. Mild worming, without textual damage. Several stains due to ink spreading. Original binding, damaged.
Parchment manuscript leaf, remnant of a philosophical composition (Kalam theology) in Judeo-Arabic. [Oriental countries, ca. 11th century].
Ancient Oriental script on parchment.
The Kalam (کلام) is a theological-philosophical approach defending the tenets of the Islamic faith. The Kalam had significant impact on the Jewish philosophy of the Middle Ages and R. Sa'adia Gaon is known to have been greatly influenced by it. The Kalm also influenced R. Yehuda HaLevi, however, he criticized its negative aspects as well. In his book Moreh Nevuchim (Guide for the Perplexed), the Rambam rejects this philosophy and expends time and effort in contradicting the "speakers", i.e. the Kalam scholars (the Arabic term kalam means speech and the Kalam scholars are called mutakallimun (i.e. speakers).
This is an ancient remnant of a Kalam composition, written in Arabic in Hebrew letters (Judeo-Arabic), before the Rambam's era.
This manuscript was dated by NLI experts. See enclosed leaf.
 leaf, approximately 19 cm. Fair condition. Stains. Coarse tears affecting text.
Two handwritten parchment leaves, Rashi commentary on Tractate Sanhedrin. [Europe, ca. 13th-14th century].
Two large-format parchment leaves, joined together, written on both sides (four written pages). Ancient Ashkenazi semi-cursive script. Two columns per pages. These leaves were used for binding a book, however, most of the text remains intact.
The leaves contain Rashi's commentary to Tractate Sanhedrin 69a-70a, 72a-73a.
The manuscript contains many textual variations in comparison to the version printed in the Vilna Talmud and in the editions studied today. Some of these variations appear in these editions as corrections or glosses of the Maharshal or the Rashash. See enclosed list of selected variations.
2 (joined) leaves, 4 written pages. Approx. 34 cm. Stains and creases. The inner margins were cut for the sake of the binding, affecting text. Damage to text on one leaf as a result of folding of the parchment. Most of the text is legible and unharmed.
Mishneh Torah L'HaRambam, with Maggid Mishnah, Hasagot HaRaavad and Haggahot Maimoniot. [Constantinople: David and Samuel ibn Nachmias, 1509]. Four volumes.
Early printed edition of the book Mishneh Torah L'HaRambam and the first edition printed in the 16th century. The brothers David and Samuel Nachmias founded the Hebrew printing press in Constantinople after their expulsion from Spain, and the first book printed in Constantinople - the Arbaah Turim of Rabbeinu Yaakov ben Rabbeinu Asher, was printed in their press.
This edition contains the first printing of Haggahot Maimoniot, by the Ramach (R. Meir HaCohen), a disciple of the Maharam of Rothenburg, which was re-edited by Ashkenazi sages, and contains supplements to the Rambam by Ashkenazi and French sages. In a later edition of the Rambam printed in Venice in 1524, Haggahot Maimoniot was printed in a different abbreviated version and that version was reprinted in all following editions of the Rambam until our times. The version in this edition is known as "Haggahot Maimoniot Constantinople" (printed at the end of each volume of the Shabtai Frankel edition).
[See more about this edition and how it differs from following editions in: Y. Avida, Regarding the History of the First Editions of the Mishneh Torah L'HaRambam, Sinai, 30, 1952, pp. 138-141; 31, 1952, pp. 247-248].
The third volume, particularly Sefer Zera'im, bears many glosses in ancient Italian script. Several more glosses appear in the fourth volume. In Vol. 2, at the top of p. 4a is an inscription in Sephardi script: "Avraham Soyad". At the end of Vol. 1 are ownership inscriptions in Yemenite script (Judeo-Arabic).
Four volumes, a set combined from several copies. Vol. 1: 4-44; 56; 176; 20 leaves. Vol. 2: 2-98; 2-100 leaves. Vol. 3: 24; 44; 40; 18; 65 leaves. Vol. 4: 255,  leaves. Originally (all four volumes): 44; , 56; 176; 20; 98; 100; 24; 44; 40; 18; 65; 255,  leaves. Lacking a total of 6 leaves: Vol. 1 is lacking the title page, leaves 2-3 and the title page of Sefer Zemanim. Vol. 2 is lacking leaf 1 of Sefer Nashim and the title page of Sefer Kedushah.
Size and condition vary among the volumes. 25.5-29 cm. Vol. 1-2: Fair condition. Stains. Tears and worming affecting text, many repaired with paper (primarily in Vol. 2). Several leaves were trimmed damaging the text at the bottom of the leaves. Censor deletions in several places. Vol. 3-4: Most leaves are in good condition. Stains. Tears and damages to several leaves, affecting text. New bindings.
Provenance: Collection of Dr. Israel Mehlman.
Rosh Amana, composition on the basic tenets of faith and the elements of the Jewish religion, by R. Isaac [Yitzchak] Abarbanel. [Constantinople: David and Samuel ibn Nachmias and Yitzchak Kaspote, 1505]. First edition.
Originally, the book was printed without a title page, the first page was left blank, and on its verso was an ornate frame (woodcut) surrounding a poem titled: "Poems[!] by the sage R. Yehuda Abarbanel son of the prominent author of the book Rosh Amana". In this copy, the first leaf has been bound backwards so that the page with this decorative frame appears before the blank page.
The renowned R. Isaac Abarbanel (1437-1508), Torah sage and famous statesman, foremost Torah scholar and leader of Spanish Jews during the time of the Spanish Expulsion. He was celebrated in all following generations for his commentary on Torah and Neviim. After the Spanish Expulsion, he settled in the city of Naples, Italy where he completed this work in 1496. This first edition was printed in his lifetime, after he moved to Venice at the end of his life.
Censor's inscriptions on the last leaf.
 leaves. 24 cm. Thick, high-quality paper. Good-fair condition. Stains. Tears to bottom and margins of the first leaf, professionally repaired. Minor damage to illustrated frame, professionally repaired. Slight worming and repaired tears to top and bottom of last leaf, affecting text, several words were replaced by hand.
The books Nachalat Avot and Zevach Pesach by R. Isaac Abarbanel were printed at the same time as this book. These three books were bound together in one volume, together with a leaf containing a colophon for all three.
Nevi'im Achronim, with the commentary of R. Isaac [Yitzchak] Abarbanel. [Pesaro]: [Gershom] Soncino, . First edition.
Title page with a woodcut border, encompassing the details of the printing and of the printer: "Printed in Italy by… renowned among the Jewish People Soncino, 1520…". In some copies, the verso of the title page is blank, however, in this copy it bears a long poem comprised of 52 stanzas written by the author's son, titled "Words of Yehuda son of the commentator, in praise of my father's commentary on the books of the nevi'im". The poem alludes to "Yehuda son of Isaac Abarbanel".
Glosses in Italian script were written on the margins of the book of Yeshaya, most very long [margins trimmed cutting off part of the glosses], by an unidentified writer. Several long glosses in Sephardi writing (Turkey and the Balkan) appear in the margins of one page of Hoshe'a and on a page of Michah.
This edition was printed 12 years after the death of the author, R. Isaac Abarbanel. At the end of his commentary to the book of Yeshaya, the author writes that "the beginning of this commentary was written in the island of Corfu on Rosh Chodesh Av 1595 and since this work was postponed in deference to other compositions, I completed it in the city of Naples on Rosh Chodesh Elul 1598…".
The famous Jewish printer R. Gershon Soncino, a leading Hebrew Italian printer, wandered with his family and printing equipment throughout various Italian cities. In each place he tarried, he printed Hebrew books. In Pesaro he printed some of the Talmudic tractates and other books as well. He also printed the first part of Abarbanel's commentary on Nevi'im Rishonim in Pesaro in 1511.
 leaves (originally:  leaves; leaf  lacking in this copy is a blank leaf). This copy is divided into two volumes, composed of various copies: Vol. 1: The first 200 leaves until the end of the Book of Yirmiya. 29.5 cm. Condition varies among the leaves, good-fair, most leaves are in good condition. Stains. Dampstains in several places. Wear and restored tears to title page, slightly affecting its border. Paper gluing to inner margins of the first leaves, not affecting text. Worming to the first ten leaves, damaging the text. Vol. 2: The next 197 leaves until the end of the Book of Malachi. The last leaf (blank) is lacking. 31 cm. Good-fair condition. Stains. Minor worming. The leaves of this volume have been professionally restored. Restored open tears, affecting text, to the (approximately 10) last leaves. New leather bindings. The words "Pesaro 1512" are erroneously embossed on the spine of Vol. 2, however, this volume is actually the continuation of the first volume and was printed in Pesaro in 1520.
Provenance: Collection of Dr. Israel Mehlman.