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Four books of the Maharal of Prague, first editions that were printed in his lifetime in Krakow, Prague and Venice, bound together in an early leather binding:
· Tiferet Yisrael, discussing the virtue of Torah and mitzvoth, by the Maharal of Prague. Venice: Daniel Zanetti, . 65 leaves.
On the title page, the Maharal is titled "The amazing Torah scholar, wonder of our times… Head of the Yeshiva R. Yuda Loew son of R. Bezalel… the light of his Torah shines on the holy community of Prague in the country of Pihem [Bohemia]".
· Gevurot Hashem, regarding Passover and the Exodus, with a commentary on the Passover Haggadah, by the Maharal of Prague. Krakow: Yitzchak son of Aharon of Prostějov, 1582. 93,  leaves.
· Netzach Yisrael, on Messianic matters and the Jewish Redemption, by the Maharal of Prague. Prague: Moshe son of R. Yosef Bezalel Katz, . 63 leaves.
· Be'er HaGolah, commentary on Aggadot Chazal, by the Maharal of Prague. Prague: printer not indicated, . 46 leaves.
On the title page of Gevurot Hashem and on the verso of the title page of Netzach Yisrael are the signatures of "Shmuel Avatz". The owner's signature: "…Meir Tzerndorf" appears on the front flyleaf.
The Maharal, R. Yehuda Loew son of Bezalel (1512-1609), illustrious Torah scholar, born in Worms on the eve of Passover, 1512 (according to some, 1522). Rabbi and Head of Yeshiva in Nikolsburg, Posen and Prague. Teacher of the renowned R. Yom Tov Lipman, author of Tosfot Yom Tov, father-in-law of R. Yitzchak Katz and of R. Eliyahu Luantz, the "Ba'al Shem of Worms". Prominent rabbi and celebrated Jewish philosopher of all times, his distinctive thinking and explanations of Aggadot Chazal (Jewish sages) enlighten the Jewish People until our times. Leader of Moravian Jewry, he was known for his ties with non-Jewish kings and for his tireless battle against blood libels. The Maharal is etched in the hearts of the people as a wonder-worker, especially famed for his Golem created by yichudim and kavanot extracted from Sefer Yetzira and sent by its maker on mysterious missions to thwart anti-Jewish libels [see Nifla'ot Maharal and many folk tales printed about the Golem of Prague]. He printed most of his philosophical compositions during his lifetime, thereby preserving them for posterity (most of his other works on halacha and his Talmudic novellae were lost). These are two of the books printed in his city of Prague (Be'er HaGolah and Netzach Yisrael), one book printed in Krakow (Gevurot Hashem) and one in Venice (Tiferet Yisrael). For many years, these books were not reprinted, however 200 years later, Chassidic leaders and especially the Magid of Koznitz recognized the importance of the reflective teachings of the Maharal and encouraged their reprinting at the end of the 18th century, and thereafter these books profoundly influenced Jewish philosophy and thought.
Four books in one volume. 29 cm. Some darkened leaves. Overall good condition. Stains. Dampstains in some places. Several loose leaves and gatherings. The margins of the first title page are trimmed, affecting its border. Minor defects and paper gluing to the second title page and to other leaves. Early leather binding, torn and damaged.
Levush HaOra, commentary on Rashi's commentary on the Torah, by R. Mordechai Yaffe – "Ba'al HaLevush". Prague: Chaim son of Ya'akov HaCohen, . First edition, printed in the author's lifetime.
Commentary of R. Mordechai Yaffe Rabbi of Posen, "Ba'al HaLevush", on the Rashi commentary on the Torah. On the verso of the printed title page: "This book is the sixth Levush of the book Levush HaMalchut, composed by R. Mordechai called Yaffe… contains explanations of Rashi's commentary on the Torah and discussion of a few of the commentaries on Rashi - R. Eliyahu Mizrachi and the Maharal of Prague, author of Gur Aryeh… and he named this book Levush HaOra after the verse The Jews had light (ora)…".
The device of the printer, Chaim son of Ya'akov HaCohen, appears on the verso of the title page. The device of another printer, Yehuda Loewy son of Moshe, an employee of the printing press, appears on the last page.
An illustrated map of Eretz Israel appears on p. 84b, prefaced on the previous page: "This is a drawing of the borders of Eretz Israel according to the Rashi commentary as I have been taught and it is true and correct according to Rashi's words as I will explain. Just as we have merited drawing it, so shall we merit seeing it with our own eyes rebuilt and settled…".
The  last leaves contain appendixes and novellae by the author to his books Levush HaTechelet and Levush HaChur after their printing.
Page [5b] bears an illustration of a palm of a hand, with signs for calculating the tekufot of the months of the year, accompanied by a discussion and detailed explanation of the correct way to calculate the months according to the parts of the palm of the hand.
Ancient ownership inscription on the title page: "Given to me as a gift by--- Meir son of R. L. of Łęczyca, the 22nd of Shevat 1703". Stamps on title page and in other places: "--- Yitzchak Tuvia Landau", "From the estate of my dear father R. Yisrael Mordechai, Lodz 1810, Yehuda Leibush Morgenstern", "R. Zeligman".
91,  leaves. 29.5 cm. Condition varies among the leaves. Most of the inside leaves of the book are in good to good-fair condition. The title page, the following leaf and approximately the last 12 leaves have tears and damage, primarily to the margins, mostly without affecting text. These leaves have been restored with paper and gluing (perhaps some were replaced with leaves from other copies). The next to last leaf is a high-quality photocopy. The rest of the leaves have stains and dampstains. Minor worming to margins of several leaves. New binding.
The map was not recorded in the Eran Laor Cartographic Collection.
Igeret Baalei Chaim, parable of animals and people, by R. Kalonymus son of Kalonymus. Mantua: Venturino Ruffinello for Yosef son of Yaakov of Padua, . First edition.
The book has five sections, and tells a tale about animals, people, kings and devils, integrated with words of wisdom and ethics. As written in the introduction to the book by R. Kalonymus son of Kalonymus, this composition is part of a long literary work in Arabic which he translated, adapted and edited.
R. Kalonymus son of Kalonymus was a 14th century Jewish French-Italian intellectual who descended from the important Kalonymus family. In the framework of his literary work, he translated books of ethics, philosophy and medical literature from Arabic to Hebrew. The famous book of ethics which he authored, Even Bochan, gained wide circulation and was reprinted a number of times.
A "poem containing all the content of this nice book", composed by R. Avraham ibn Ezra (his name appears in the acrostic) based on the Arabic source, is printed at the end of the book. This section was omitted from all the following editions (with the exception of the Jerusalem 1949 edition).
This composition has been printed in many editions, some translated into Yiddish.
The initial words and letters are adorned with fine woodcut decorations.
The printer's name is mentioned in the colophon at the end of the book: "And its printing was finished on Rosh Chodesh Iyar 1557, here in Mantua in the house of Venturino Ruffinello, by and for Yosef son of R. Yaakov of Padua…". The printer's device of Yosef of Padua appears under the colophon (see: A. Yaari, Diglei HaMadpisim HaIvriim, p. 12, illustration no. 19; and p. 132).
Ownership inscriptions in Sephardic script with calligraphic signatures on the verso of the title page and on the (blank) last leaf: "Our rabbis have taught that a person should always write his name on his book lest a random person come along and say that it is his, therefore I have written [my name] in this book… EzraAlchadav"; "I will write my name in my book with the help of my hand and my quill… Shlomo son of Ezra Alchadavi".
[The first signature, apparently, belongs to R. Ezra son of R. Shlomo Alchadav, a Venetian sage, disciple of R. Aharon ibn Chaim author of Lev Aharon and of R. Yehuda Aryeh of Modena, friend of R. Azaria Piccio (Figo) author of Gidulei Teruma. R. Ezra was the scribe of the Venice Yeshiva and many documents of the Venice Ledger from 1630-1633 bear his signature. For further information, see: M. Benayahu, The Relations between the Jews of Greece and the Jews of Italy, pp. 237-240].
Latin inscriptions on front flyleaf.
 leaves. The last leaf is blank (this blank leaf is not recorded in the Bibliography of the Hebrew Book). 13.5 cm. Good-fair condition. Stains, dampstains. Minor worming. Repaired tears to title page (slightly affecting its border) and several other leaves. New elegant leather binding, slipcased.
"This is the book of Adam HaRishon given to him by Raziel HaMalach". Kabbalah and Segulot. Amsterdam: 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, a protective amulet for a woman giving birth, etc. Just having this book in the house is a reputed Segula for protection from harm and fire as stated in the title page: "An excellent Segula to bear wise and sage sons, for success, blessing and to extinguish fire, so that it shouldn't affect his home, and no evil being should reside in his home, since the holy, awesome book is concealed with his money in his treasury and in times of trouble it will afford him speedy salvation. And this, any learned person will attest". Some say that it is a Segula for the childless and women experiencing difficult labor.
18, , 19-45 leaves. 23.5 cm. Fine copy with wide margins. Good condition. Stains. Dampstains. Early wood and leather binding, with clasp remnants. New leather spine.
Siddur, following the rite of the holy Sephardi community, containing prayers for special days, festivals and the five fast days. Amsterdam: Joseph Athias, [1658-1659].
Three parts, each with a separate title page: prayers for weekdays and Shabbat, for special days and festivals, and the order for the five fast days.
This is the first book printed in the printing press of Joseph Athias. His youth and the circumstances of his arrival in Amsterdam are obscure. He established his printing press in the city in 1658, at the young age of 23. He was an intelligent person with shrewd commercial acumen, which helped him create ties with agents and book-traders in the Netherlands and in other countries. Eventually, his printing press became one of the largest and most important printing presses in Amsterdam. Athias developed various novel printing techniques, which enabled him to reprint books very quickly. For further information, see: A.M. Haberman, Chapters in the History of the Hebrew Printers, pp. 293-310.
Stamps on the title page and on the last leaf of "Rabbiner Dr. A. Neuwirth" (presumably, R. Aharon Neuwirth – father of R. Yehoshua Yeshaya Neuwirth, author of Shemirat Shabbat K'Hilchata). Signatures of "Moses Neuwirth" (presumably a relative).
546 leaves. 12 cm. Good condition. Few stains. Gilt edges. Old leather-like binding, with a metal clasp for fastening (lacking the second clasp). Damage to binding.
Shaar HaShamayim Siddur – Weekday, Shabbat and Festival prayers, Yotzerot, Passover Haggadah, piyyutim and Selichot for fasts, book of Tehillim with Maamadot, including a commentary on the prayers according to Kabbalistic teachings entitled Shaar HaShamayim – by R. Yeshaya HaLevi Horowitz – the holy Shelah.
Includes an anthology of laws and customs, by the editor and publisher R. Avraham Segal Horowitz of Posen (Poznań), great-grandson of the author. Amsterdam, . First edition. Complete copy containing all the parts. Four title pages appear, the first title page is a copper engraving depicting the figures of Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov and the Festivals. Separate title pages for the book of Tehillim and Seder Maamadot.
The Shelah wrote in his foreword to the siddur: "Blessed be G-d… who guided me in the correct path… and brought me to the holy city of Jerusalem, on Friday of Parashat Vayetze 1621… the gate through which prayers rise… via Shaar HaShamayim (the gates of Heaven)". In his will, printed at the beginning of the siddur, he added: "I thought to compose this holy work, in order to print it and distribute it throughout the Jewish world, so that I may have a merit and share in all the prayers of the Jewish people".
The text of the prayers in this siddur on the whole follows Ashkenazi rite, apart from some prayers which were printed in both Ashkenazi and Sephardi rite, side by side. This was done following the author's will printed at the beginning of the siddur (though in practice, the compiler and publisher did not incorporate all the author's instructions regarding the variations of text in the body of the siddur).
Praying from this siddur bears the special Segula of the prayer being accepted and not going unanswered. As the Bach wrote in his approbation to the siddur: "We have no doubt that when it will become widespread amongst the Jewish people, whoever prays from it will not have his prayer rejected". R. Avraham Yaakov, first Rebbe of Sadigura, mentions this Segula in his approbation to the third edition of the siddur (Warsaw, 1882): "Siddur Shaar HaShamayim by the holy Shelah, as the renowned scholar, the Bach, testified… there is no doubt that whoever prays from it, his prayer will not be rejected". The holy kabbalist R. Naftali Katz, author of Semichat Chachamim, ascribes this Segula to the author himself, the Shelah, as he writes: "…order of prayers… from the beginning of the year until the end of the year, arranged and composed by R. Yeshaya Segal author of Shnei Luchot HaBrit, and he was very attached to this siddur, and directed his descendants to publish it, to give the public the privilege of praying in this order, with these Kavanot, and pledged that whoever prays with all his might in this order with those Kavanot, his prayers will not go unanswered. Go out and see how people practice, and the approbations of the great Torah scholars of that generation… R. Yoel Sirkis author of Bayit Chadash, and R. Yaakov Rabbi of Lublin… R. Yom Tov Lipman Heller author of Tosfot Yom Tov… and they all concur that whoever prays with these Kavanot, his prayer will not be rejected".
The Baal HaTanya reputedly prayed in his youth utilizing the Shaar HaShamayim siddur, and following the Kavanot of the Shelah (Beit Rebbi, Berdychiv 1902, p. 2 chapter 1).
, 4-335; 139; 130; , 52 leaves. 20.5 cm. Overall good condition. Stains and wear. Minor damage and tears to two title pages and last three leaves, repaired. Gatherings split in the middle of the book. Tears to leaves 51, 97-100, not affecting text. New leather binding, with cracks to the spine.
Orchot Chaim – Five books of the Torah, with Targum and the Rashi commentary, including the Or HaChaim commentary by Rabbeinu Chaim ibn Attar – The Or HaChaim HaKadosh. Venice, . Complete set in two volumes, first edition of the Or HaChaim commentary on the Torah.
The title page reads: "…a new commentary on the five books of the Torah… was prepared and researched… by the scholar who is complete in wisdom, fear and humility, R. Chaim ibn Attar, a resident of the Maghreb, who went to set up his study hall in Jerusalem… innovative novellae which our predecessors did not envision…". The author begins his commentary with the statement: "The skies opened up and I perceived heavenly sights…".
This book was accepted in the entire Jewish Diaspora and became a classic commentary in editions of the Torah. This composition was especially sacred to the leaders of the Chassidic movement. The book became instantly recognized, due to the Baal Shem Tov's praise of the eminence of the author's soul, as the Chida, disciple of the Or HaChaim, relates in his book Shem HaGedolim: "The commentary on the Torah by the outstanding and holy R. Chaim ibn Attar, was printed in Venice in the Torah edition with Targum and Rashi. And we heard that it is now held in high regard in Poland, and was printed there in another two editions. And this was due to the praise of the holy R. Yisrael Baal Shem Tov on the greatness of R. Chaim's soul" (Maarechet Sefarim, I, 54).
Chassidic leaders describe the importance and holiness of the book in effusive terms. Rebbe Yisrael of Ruzhin stated that learning the Or HaChaim commentary purifies the soul. His son, Rebbe David Moshe of Chortkov (Chortkiv) related that after hearing this, he began learning the Or HaChaim commentary on the weekly portion consistently. R. Pinchas of Korets testified that he was the one who publicized the Or HaChaim, through an episode which occurred in Tcherin (Chyhyryn), when he exclaimed that he could see a great light in the city and he inquired whether anyone held a book of the Or HaChaim commentary in their possession. When the book was found, he asserted that it was what was illuminating the whole town. On a different occasion, his son took ill, and he undertook to learn a page a day of the Or HaChaim commentary (Imrei Pinchas HaShalem, I, p. 281).
The Arvei Nachal, in one instance, before elucidating an ambiguous passage of the Or HaChaim commentary, described it as unfathomable without Divine Inspiration.
The author, R. Chaim ibn Attar (1696-1743), known as the holy Or HaChaim, was a Torah scholar from Salé, Morocco, who spent the years 1739-1741 in Livorno, Italy, on his way to Eretz Israel. He completed his composition Or HaChaim while in Livorno (on Av 15, 1741), and sent it to Venice to be published. The book was printed in autumn 1741.
In his biographic description of the Or HaChaim, his disciple the Chida wrote: "R. Chaim ibn Attar, a holy man from Salé, came to Jerusalem in the summer of 1742. And I merited to be a member of his elevated yeshiva, and my eyes saw the greatness of his Torah, he uprooted mountains, and his holiness was wondrous… he was like an ever-gushing fountain… and in Tamuz 1743 he was called up to Heaven at the age of 47. He authored Chefetz HaShem, Rishon LeTzion, Or HaChaim and Pri Toar, and his sagacity is discernable in his books, yet this is only a tenth of his wisdom… his sharpness was unbelievable, he exercised continuous separation from materialism …" (Shem HaGedolim, Maarechet Gedolim, 8, 42).
Rebbe Yitzchak Isaac of Komarno, in his book Netiv Mitzvotecha, quotes the exalted terms the Baal Shem Tov used to describe the soul of the Or HaChaim, "…every night he heard Torah from G-d, most of his holiness is not possible to describe in words, and he descended from the Merkava…".
R. Efraim Zalman Margolies, the Beit Efraim, also described him in superlative terms, as a heavenly being, father of all Torah bearers in the Western countries.
On both title pages, the title was originally printed as "Orchot Chaim", and only in the author's preface and in the body of the book is the commentary named Or HaChaim. In this copy, a strip of paper bearing the printed words Or HaChaim, was pasted over the title in the title page of the first volume. This phenomenon is recorded in the Bibliography of the Hebrew Book (see listing 304649).
On the title page of the first volume, a signature in Italian script appears: "Mine, D.T." (this may be the signature of R. Daniel Terni Rabbi of Florence, author of Ikrei HaDat).
Two volumes. Vol. I (Bereishit-Shemot): , 86; 78 leaves. Vol. II (Vayikra-Bamidbar-Devarim): , 60; 72; 58; 8; 12 leaves. 34 cm. Fine copy, light-colored high-quality leaves. Most of the leaves in good condition, several leaves in fair condition. Vol. I: Stains, light wear. Marginal damage and tears to title page and three subsequent leaves, professionally restored. Repairs to several other leaves. Vol. II: Stains, dampstains to several leaves. Light wear. Large tears to the foot of leaf 3 of the second pagination, affecting text, repaired. Paper repairs to the bottom of leaves 65-66 of the second pagination. Marginal repairs to several other leaves (leaves of Haftarot at the end). Several leaves may be provided from a different copy. Ownership inscriptions. New, elaborate leather bindings.
Kitzur Shulchan Aruch, by R. Shlomo Ganzfried. Ungvar (Uzhhorod), . First edition.
First edition of the famous Kitzur Shulchan Aruch, widely accepted throughout the Diaspora. 14 editions were printed during the lifetime of the author, and hundreds of additional editions, translated into various languages, were printed throughout the years. It is estimated that so far over 2 million copies of the book were printed, a unique phenomenon in Halachic Torah literature (Otzar Yisrael, New York, 1909, notes that up until that point, half a million copies had already been published, and according to the bibliographer Dr. Yitzchak Rivkind, over a million copies had been published by 1960).
R. Shlomo Ganzfried (1804-1886) was the son of R. Yosef, rabbi of Ungvar, Hungary and disciple of R. Zvi Hirsh Heller (R. Hirshle Charif), author of Tiv Gittin, who raised him after the untimely passing of his father. R. Ganzfried's first book, Keset HaSofer, on laws of scribal writing of Torah scrolls, Tefillin and Mezuzot (Óbuda, 1834), earned the approbation of the Chatam Sofer, who even annotated it. In this approbation, he states that no scribe should be ordained without demonstrating proficiency in this book. R. Ganzfried served as rabbi of Ungvar from 1850 until his passing in 1886, and was a foremost leader of the Orthodox rabbinate in Hungary.
He authored dozens of important works, however he is best known for his Kitzur Shulchan Aruch, a clear summary of the Shulchan Aruch (definitive code of Jewish law), printed in many editions since its first publishing in 1864 in Ungvar.
, 144 leaves. 21 cm. High-quality paper. Good condition. Stains and wear. Dampstains. Wormhole transpiercing most leaves. New leather binding.
Tehillim, with the Be'urei Zohar and Metzudat Zion commentaries. Safed: R. Yisrael Bak, .
One of the first books printed by R. Yisrael Bak in Safed, about one year after he established his printing press in the city.
On the verso of the title page is the introduction of the printer R. Yisrael Bak: "And all who purchase and spend their gold and silver on books printed here in the Holy Land, especially books of Tehillim with the Zohar to carry in his bosom and in his bag, G-d should save him from all distress, harm and fright…". This is followed by another long introduction by R. Gershon Margaliot. He tells how he begged Yisrael Bak not to print the Kabbalistic commentary Be'urei HaZohar alone, rather alongside verses of Tehillim and in the end his advice was heeded.
Kavanat HaMeshorer (the intent of the poet) is printed at the beginning of each Psalm. The volume also contains prayers recited before and after reading Tehillim on weekdays, Shabbat, Yom Tov and Lel Hoshana Raba and a prayer for the sick and Seder Pidyon Nefesh.
, 152 leaves. 15 cm. Good-fair condition. Stains and wear. Professionally restored tears to margins of title page and to margins of other leaves, particularly at the beginning of the book, slightly affecting text. Worming in a few places, repaired, affecting text. Defects. Bottom margins trimmed on several leaves, not affecting text. New, elegant leather binding.
An inscription in Ashkenazi script appears on the title page above the place of printing, "Safed": "The dust of Eretz Israel here [Safed]". This phrase was used as a signature by R. Yisrael of Shklow, the Vilna Gaon's disciple who lived in Safed at the time of this printing [in our opinion, this inscription was not written by him and was added at a later time].