The Auction was held on 13/11/18
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Eighteen documents, handwritten on paper and on vellum, related to trials and investigations of Jews by the Inquisition of Bologna. Bologna, 15th century. Latin, one item in Italian.
The Inquisition was the name given to a group of institutions headed by the Catholic Church, which were founded in the late Middle Ages to fight the phenomenon of heresy in Europe. In spite of the fact that the Inquisition reached its utmost power in the early modern period, in Spain and Rome, its roots were planted in the 12th century, when local courts started to appear in Italy and in France, headed by monks from the Dominican Order. In Bologna, Northern Italy, Inquisition was developing already in the 13th century, and by the time of the Renaissance, Bologna became one of the most important centers of the Inquisition in Northern Italy. Unlike the Spanish Inquisition, the one in Bologna did not focus on persecuting Jews, but rather on defeating the Christian sects that flourished in those days, and hardly took measures against people of other religions. Documents of the Inquisition of Bologna are rare, and exceptionally scarce are documents related to trials against Jews.
The collection includes:
1-8. Eight documents related to the inquisitorial investigation of the Jewish Musetti family, accused of disgracing Christianity during a procession in 1445. According to the documents, three of the family members – Abraham, his wife Bronella and their relative Decatilus, interrupted the Corpus Christi procession on 27.5.1445, threw objects and aroused commotion in the town.
· Bill of indictment, handwritten on a vellum sheet (4 written pages) with a detailed description of the occurrences, list of crimes committed by the family members and the procedure appropriate for judging Jews, according to the city's laws. At the end of the document appear the names of the judges and the notary's signature.
· Additional copy of the above bill of indictment, written on a long vellum scroll (judging by its form, it is possible that it served for writing during discussions in court).
· A certificate dated 21.6.1445, written on a vellum sheet (3 written pages), with a different version of the accusation as claimed by an inquisitor in court in Rimini. This version emphasized the responsibility of Abraham as head of the family, and suggests to judge the Jews by the "Laws of Moses". At the end of the document appear names of the judges and the notary's signature.
· Two testimonies, written on paper, certifying the claims and mentioning the name of another Jew who was involved in the incident – Joseph. One testimony by a person named Antoninius and another one by a person named Bartholomeus.
· Testimony of a family member, Dactilus (named in the document Datolius), written on paper, accusing two Christians, Melchior and Cantarini, of starting the fight.
· Two letters of encouragement to the family, written on paper.
9-18. Ten handwritten documents related to trials and various investigations of Jews in Bologna throughout the 15th century (it seems that they belonged to one inquisitor):
· Document dated 13.5.1405, referring to a dispute between a Jew named Solomon to another Jew named Simon, from Bologna.
· Letter dated 10.9.1456, sent by a plaintiff named Mateua Maranus from Bologna, announcing the arrest of "criminals" from the Jewish community. Wax seal.
· Document from the 1470s, concerning tax imposed on Jews – "Gabella Grossa" and stating the method of the tax collection.
· Four documents from the years 1472-1479, concerning crimes committed by Jews.
· Document from 1473, regarding payment of debts by Bologna Jews, paid with gold.
· Document regarding the crimes committed by a Jew named Solomon de Vignola, concerning a dispute about making beef Kosher. No date.
Total of eighteen documents and certificates. Size and condition vary. Good-fair overall condition. Stains. Some creases and folding marks. Tears, open tears and pinholes (mostly small, some repaired). Inscription in pen on the back of two items and on the margins of one document (small, not affecting text).
Large handwritten parchment leaf, copying of letters of recommendation written by rabbis for Pidyon Shvuyim (Redemption of Captives), bearing recommendations of rabbis of Poland and Germany, Holland and London. [London? 1750].
Large format parchment leaf, written in two columns. Contains letters of recommendation for three brothers: Moshe, Ya'akov and Yitzchak, sons of R. Moshe HaCohen of Macedonia, Jewish traders who fell into a serious financial crisis after their ship, loaded with merchandise (their own and others' as well), sunk into the sea casting them into heavy debt. They, together with their wives and children were imprisoned. They themselves succeeded in fleeing but their wives and children remained in prison. After they fled, they were forced to travel trying to collect funds necessary for paying ransom to redeem themselves and their families.
In the top right part of the first page is a recommendation by the rabbis and dignitaries of the Sephardi community of Khotyn (today Ukraine). A copying of 14 letters of recommendation "Written and signed by famous rabbi of Poland and Ashkenaz (Germany)" appears in the left column and on the right column of the second page. These recommendations were written by Polish (Podolia) and German rabbis and they include the recommendation of R. Yechezkel Landau, author of Noda BiYehuda during his tenure as Rabbi of Yampil. In the right column of the first page are recommendations given to the brothers in Holland, Amsterdam and Hague and in the left column of the second page is a recommendation written on their behalf in London.
The recommendation from Khotyn and those written by Polish and German rabbis were copied in square letters (so that Ashkenazi Jews could understand them as well) but the recommendations by the rabbis of the Sephardi communities of Amsterdam and London were copied in semi-cursive Sephardi script. Portuguese inscriptions were added to the Sephardi recommendations, detailing the amounts of the donations.
Study of this manuscript reveals the route taken by the brothers to collect funds. The recommendation of the Khotyn Sephardi community was written in Tishrei 1748. At the end of that same year, they made rounds in Podolia. On the 26th of Elul they were in Zhvanets and received a letter from the "Sephardi wealthy dignitaries", also signed by the local rabbi (Yehuda Leib Maskal), addressed to the Noda BiYehuda requesting his recommendation on behalf of the brothers to enable them to collect donations in Ashkenazi communities. Afterward, they visited Yampil, apparently, on Erev Sukkot 1750. At that time, the Noda BiYehuda officiated as Rabbi of the city and he gave them a recommendation. The next date entered is Rosh Chodesh Cheshvan, which found the brothers in Horokhiv, the 6th of Cheshvan in Volodymyr-Volynskyi, the 15th of Cheshvan in Zamość and that same day, they also visited Szczebrzeszyn, on the 26th of Cheshvan – Kraśnik, on the 24th of Cheshvan – Apta, on Erev Rosh Chodesh Kislev – Khmilnyk and on Rosh Chodesh Kislev – Pińczów. In each of these places, they received letters of recommendation from local rabbis. From Poland, they travelled to Germany: On the 3rd of Tevet they arrived in Frankfurt am Main, on the 13th of Tevet in Berlin, on Rosh Chodesh Shevat in Halberstadt, on the 12th of Shevat in Hanover. In all these cities too, they received recommendations from the local rabbis. From Germany, they moved on to Holland: On the 28th of Adar Bet they arrived in Amsterdam and received a letter from R. Yitzchak Chaim ibn Dana de Brito. On the 26th of Iyar, they were in Hague and received a recommendation from R. Daniel HaCohen Rodriguez. At the end of the month of Iyar, they returned to Amsterdam and received letters of recommendation from two Eretz Israel emissaries, R. Masud Bonan, emissary of Tiberias, and R. Meir Sigora of Safed.
The last letter of recommendation which appears on this leaf was written in London in the month of Tamuz 1750 by the rabbi of the Portuguese-Sephardi community in the city, R. Moshe Gomes de Mesquita (See item 161). R. Moshe writes that after the brothers' failure to collect the required funds, they decided to part and two brothers travelled to the new settlements of Portuguese Jews in Central America: "They were compelled to part ways, two brothers travelled to the islands, first to Curaçao and then to Barbados and to Jamaica to expedite the Pidyon Shvuyim, and I have found Moshe, the great man here in our city…".
The style of writing tends to identify the writer as a scribe of a Portuguese-Sephardi community in Holland or in London. Since the last letter was written in London, this copy was presumably written there as well.
A copying of these letters of recommendation, from a different source, was published by Prof. Meir Benayahu. He cited the letters from a handwritten notebook from Ferrara, containing copyings of the letters written by the community scribe, apparently, R Yitzchak Lampronti (that manuscript is preserved in the collection of Yeshaya Zana in Ben-Zvi Institute, no. 4054). Prof. Benayahu cites other letters as well, from further travels of the brother named Moshe to Algeria and to Italian cities. See: M. Benayahu, The relations between Greek Jews and Italian Jews, Tel Aviv 1980, pp. 22-23, 266-278.
Large parchment leaf. Height: 58 cm. Width: 51.5 cm. Stains. Two natural holes. Folding marks.
A magnificent Patent of Nobility, inscribed on illuminated vellum sheets, in a leather binding of good quality and an elaborate case, awarded to Solomon (Shlomo) Parente of Trieste on behalf of Emperor Franz Joseph I, for his involvement in Vienna's 1873 World Fair and for his contribution to its success. Vienna, December 20, 1873. German.
An exceptionally elaborate Patent of Nobility, granting Solomon (Shlomo) Parente of Trieste the title of "Baron" (Freiherr) and the right to use a coat of arms. Signed by Emperor Franz Joseph I, by Foreign Minister Dr. Joseph freiherr von Lasser-Zollheim and by a member of the royal cabinet, minister Adolph Löhr.
Salomon (Shlomo) Parente, was born in Trieste in 1807 or 1808, and died in 1890; son of Aharon Yitzchak Parente from Trieste (1775-1853), a well-known merchant and businessman, from whom he inherited the position of Chamber of Commerce president. Not many details are known about his life except for those documented in this certificate, and except for the fact that Solomon Parente owned the Rothschild Miscellany, the "Rothschild Haggadah" and other important Hebrew-Italian manuscripts during the years 1832-1855, before he sold them to the Rothschild family in Paris. The Parente family members were also known for their involvement in business and banking in Trieste and the vicinity in the 19th century (together with the Morpurgo family).
The certificate is written in black ink on four thick vellum sheets, with initials, titles and important names written in golden ink and in red and blue. The text on all of the sheets is surrounded by engraved frames ornamented with the Austro-Hungarian coat of arms (name of engraver appears on the margin of the last sheet: scr. Carl Gernetl).
The text describes Solomon Parente as president of the Trieste Chamber of Commerce, lists titles which he received from the dukedom of Braunschweig, Saxony and Nasau, as well as his significant contribution to the 1873 Vienna's World Fair (Weltausstellung 1873 Wien) and to its success, for which he and his descendants were granted the title "Baron" and the right to use a coat of arms. Further on appears an elaborate illustration of the Parente family coat of arms, with a detailed and meticulous description of each component. The vellum sheets are bound in an exceptionally elaborate thick leather binding (signed: L. Groner K. K. Hofbuchbinder), with brass-ornamentations on the front designed as arabesques, white and blue enamel decorations and blue gemstones.
Inlaid in the center of the front binding is the Parente Family coat of arms, made of cast brass with colorful enamel decorations. A golden cloth string is connected to the spine; at the end of the string is a large brass medallion with an embossed Austrian coat of arms, in red wax.
The volume is housed in a handsome wooden case, covered with leather on the outside and with cloth on the inside and on the bottom, with a locking-mechanism (no lock), embossed decorations on the margins and brass-ornamentations on the corners. On the cover of the case appear brass decorations shaped as a crown with a monogram "SP" – Parente's initials.
 leaves, volume: 39 cm. Case: 44 X 34 X 10 cm. Leaves in good condition, some stains. Damages and scratches to leather. Lacking two brass corners. Defects to corners with no brass decorations. Damages and wear to cloth.
Or LeNetivah, "Introduction to the Netivot HaShalom composition, containing the Five Books of the Torah, with Tikun Sofrim and Ashkenazi (German) translation, and an explanation printed in Berlin", [by Moshe (Moses) Mendelssohn]. Berlin, . First edition.
This book is the introduction to Mendelssohn's famous work, the Bi'ur on the Torah. It was first printed as a book in itself simultaneously with the printing of the Five Books of the Torah with the Bi'ur (printed in separate booklets in 1780-1783).
The edition of Mendelssohn's Chumashim was named Netivot HaShalom. The text of the Chumash in this edition was printed without Targum Onkelos and Rashi, accompanied by a German translation of the verses in Hebrew lettering, according to the simple meaning of the Scriptures. Under this translation, the Bi'ur and Tikun Sofrim were printed in Hebrew. In the Bi'ur, the author explains his preference of this particular German translation and gives a brief summary of the opinions of various commentators regarding the simple meaning of the Scriptures, firstly Ibn Ezra and the Rashbam. Tikun Sofrim is a separate work, an encyclopedic composition citing and summarizing the Mesorah of all the verses with halachic decisions. The Ashkenazi Targum was written by Mendelssohn, whereas the Bi'ur was authored in conjunction with various scholars, such as R. Shlomo Dubno, R. Naphtali Herz (Hartwig) Wessely, and others. Tikun Sofrim on Bereshit and Shemot was written by R. Shlomo Dubno and R. Shalom of Mezeritch wrote the Tikun Sofrim on the rest of the Chumashim.
This book was printed by Mendelssohn in the winter of 1783, in a limited edition of only 300 copies, containing the introduction, titled Or LeNetiva, which Mendelssohn wrote for his Chumash Netivot Shalom. This introduction comprehensively covers the basis of the Holy Tongue and its grammar, the Assyrian (Ashuri) script, the history of the Targum and the factors which motivated him to publish his revolutionary Chumashim. Likewise, he explains the purpose of the three commentaries he wrote and the basis for each of these commentaries. At the end he writes: "These will be included in the introduction to the work… and in the future, I will print the introduction in large print, the same as the Chumash, after I conclude the fifth book and the buyer can attach it to any of the books he wishes. I am now printing it in small print, to satisfy my disciples who often ask me about it… I have only printed about three hundred books… Berlin, Rosh Chodesh Kislev 1783…". Indeed, later, a pamphlet with the introduction was printed in a large format matching the size of the Chumashim and bound with one of them.
The philosopher Moshe (Moses) Mendelssohn (1729-1786), predecessor of the German-Jewish Enlightenment movement, roused fierce opposition among G-d fearing Jewish communities.
Many Jewish leaders opposed his Chumashim, including R. Refael HaCohen of Hamburg, author of the Hafla'ah, disciple of the Chatam Sofer and his disciple R. Akiva Yosef Schlesinger, author of Lev Ha'Ivri, joined by Chassidic leaders headed by the author of Bnei Yissaschar in his work Ma'ayan Ganim. In the famous sermon which he delivered in his city of Frankfurt am Main, the author of the Hafla'ah attacked the Bi'ur and its author with sharp critism: "…A public despicable act has been carried out and nobody is protesting, a new commentary on our holy Torah, fabricated in their hearts, foolish, nonsensical thoughts… I have seen this and am alarmed and trembling… has such a crime been committed that one man sinking in impurity… could say accept my opinion and my commentary on the Torah, and he casts aside all the teachings of our Sages, the Talmud and the Midrashim and the Torah commentators which are more pleasant than gold… In Vilna they were burnt in public… they should merit their portion before the Holy King in their zealousness on behalf of G-d…".
Nonetheless, more moderate opinions were heard as well regarding Mendelssohn and his Chumashim with the Bi'ur. These Chumashim were common in the homes of Orthodox Jews, especially in Lithuania and in Germany and there were even Torah scholars who were fond of these Chumashim and cited the Bi'ur in their books. For example, R. Yosef Zundel of Salant owned the Chumashim with the Bi'ur and in one place, erased lines to which he opposed (Peretz Sandlar, HaBi'ur LaTorah shel Moshe Mendelssohn, note on p. 216). The enthusiastic approbations of R. Zvi Hirsh Rabbi of Berlin and of his son R. Shaul appear in the beginning of Chumash Shemot of the Bi'ur. Likewise, Elazar Fleckeles, leading disciple of the Nodah B'Yehuda, cites these Chumashim dozens of times and he calls Mendelssohn "the famous sage". Mendelssohn's commentary is also often cited in the book HaKtav V'HaKabbalah as well as by R. Shmuel Strashun (the Rashash) in his notations on the Talmud and on Midrash Raba and by R. Yosef Zecharya Stern, in his book of responsa Zecher Yehosef. Many Orthodox German rabbis would use and cite these books, although they did not explicitly note the source. R. Moshe Meisels, a prominent disciple of the Ba'al Hatanya writes his endorsement of Mendelssohn and his books (printed in the Yeshurun anthology, 9, p. 739): "…Pleasant are the teachings of Moshe in his translation, a great man among giants, his stature exceeds all titles…". R. Avraham Eliyahu Kaplan recounts that his grandfather would sit and study the weekly parsha from the Chumash with the Bi'ur and upon someone expressing their wonder at this practice; he would explain that the main problem with the Chumashim with the Bi'ur is the introduction to the book and not the Bi'ur itself (B'Ikvot HaYirah, pp. 139-140).
Interestingly, complete sections of this introduction are cited in the book Toldot Adam (Dyhernfurth, 1801), the biography of R. Zelmele of Vilna, by the Magid R. Yechezkel Feivel of Vilna. These passages are a verbatim copy from this introduction without noting their source.
Signatures and ownership inscriptions ["Chaim…", "Petachya Mordechai…", "Meir Lipman"' in Cyrillic and Latin letters]. Stamp on p. [14a]: "Library of the late R. Matitya Strashun". Erasure and revision in an early handwriting on p. [40a].
 leaves. 15.5 cm. Good condition. Stains. Erasures in black ink on the title page and on the last leaf. Original binding with its original leather spine, with defects (the back board is partially unravelled, with leaves from Mishnah with the Etz Chaim commentary pasted in it).
Large diverse collection of books and booklets in Ladino, the language spoken by the Jews of the Spanish Diaspora.
A diverse collection of Ladino works: prayers, Scripture and Midrash, halacha and musar, science and grammar, poetry and literature, and more.
The books and booklets were printed in Constantinople, Salonika, Izmir, Jerusalem and Eretz Israel, Vienna, Livorno, Pisa, Venice and Sofia, from the 17th century until the first half of the 20th century.
A detailed list is available upon request.
Folowing is a partial list:
· Chovat HaLevavot, translated into Ladino. Venice, . · Seder Arba Ta'aniyot, according to the rites of the holy Sephardi community. Pisa, . Haftarah of Tisha B'Av with Ladino translation. · Tehillim, with Ladino translation. Constantinople, . · Kitvei HaKodesh, Part 2, Nevi'im Achronim and Ketuvim, with Ladino translation. Izmir, [1838-1840]. · Kitvei HaKodesh, Part 1, the Five Books of the Torah and Nevi'im Rishonim, with Ladino translation. Vienna, . · Sefer HaBrit, by R. Pinchas Horwitz, translated into Ladino. [Salonika], 1847. · Yesodot Dikduk Leshon HaKodesh, Hebrew grammar textbook in Ladino. Izmir . · Me'am Lo'ez, explanations and Midrash on the Five Books of the Torah in Ladino, R. Ya'akov Culi. Izmir, [1864-1868]. First edition. Six volumes. Some of the volumes lack several leaves. · Kav HaYashar, translated into Ladino. Constantinople, . · Codigo de Comergo Ottomano, Ottoman trade laws, translated into Ladino by Menachem Ya'akov Kalfon. Sofia, 1904. · Boceto de Istories, collection of stories, geographic facts and idioms. [Izmir], 1904. Written on the title page: "In Vienna", however, the book was actually printed in Izmir but to evade the censor, the place of printing and the name of the printer were concealed. · The collection also contains dozens of booklets printed in Jerusalem containing folk tales and various legends translated into Ladino.
93 books and booklets + 31 Incomplete books and booklets. Size and condition vary.