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Torah, Neviim and Ketuvim translated into Spanish, Biblia en lengua española traduzida palabra por palabra dela verdad Hebrayca por muy excelentes letrados vista y examinada por el officio dela Inquisicion. [Ferrara: Duarte Pinel (Abraham Usque) for Jerónimo de Vargas (Yom Tob ben Levi Atias), 1553]. First edition presenting the Spanish translation of the entire Bible.
Some fine, woodcut, ornamental initials.
Several glosses and inscriptions.
This is the first edition in which the entire Bible was translated to Spanish, known as the Ferrara Bible, after the town where it was printed in 1553. The publishing of this translation was initiated by the Portuguese printer Abraham Usque, and the Spanish publisher Yom Tob Atias, known by their 'Christian' names Duarte Pinel and Jerónimo de Vargas, names adopted due to the threats of the Inquisition. This edition was presumably intended for the use of Marranos and Jews who had fled the Spanish Inquisition.
This edition was printed on high-quality paper, in an impressive folio format, the body of the text was printed in two columns, in semi-Gothic typeface. The size and beauty of this edition is reminiscent of other large and renowned translations of the Bible.
This translation, reprinted in subsequent centuries, is of particular importance for Spanish speaking Jewry, due to the unique way the verses were translated, and it forming an important basis for subsequent translations.
There are several known variants of this edition, featuring differences in the text of the colophon (dedications to various figures, the printers referred to by the Hebrew or 'Christian' names, and the date of printing), as well as the existence of two leaves appearing only in some copies, containing a table of Haftarot, in Spanish. Another noteworthy difference pertains to the translation of the word "Alma" in Yeshayahu, chapter 7 verse 14 (leaf 186, column 2 in this edition): One variant translates it as moça - Spanish for "young woman", one variant (the more common one in extant copies), simply transliterates the Hebrew word - "alma", thereby avoiding having to interpret it, and a third variant - the Christian one, translates it as "virgen" (virgin), following the Christian interpretation of the book of Yeshayahu. This copy belongs to the second category, and the word "alma" was used.
This copy begins in the middle of the first chapter of Shemot, and ends in the middle of chapter 37 of Iyov. Apart from the lacking books, the Five Megillot are also missing, originally appearing after Divrei HaYamim.
Incomplete copy. 26-240, 240-333 leaves. Altogether containing 309 leaves, out of 412 original leaves. Lacking 103 leaves: 33 leaves at the beginning, and 70 leaves at the end, including illustrated title page, introduction leaves, table of Haftarot and colophon leaf. 31 cm. Fair condition. Stains and wear. Many stains, extensive wear and creases to some leaves. Many tears and worming in several places, affecting text. Large open tear to one leaf, with loss of text. Detached gatherings. Without binding.
See enclosed material for more information regarding the printing of this Bible, the text of the translation and the various variants.
Lengthy letter (3 pages) with the full signature of R. "Yisrael Meir HaKohen, author of Chafetz Chaim and Mishna Berura". Hrodna (Grodno), Elul 1924.
Written by a scribe, with the line of the signature handwritten by the Chafetz Chaim. The letter was sent to the World Rabbinical Conference taking place at that time in Kraków. The Chafetz Chaim writes that due to his weakness and old age, he is unable to make this long journey to Kraków, "I am unable to come participate in your esteemed conference. I am hereby sending my words via the rabbis, bearers of this letter, regarding one critical matter…". The Chafetz Chaim arouses to devise a plan of action to save the yeshivot, which were in dire straits due to financial crises. He mentions the objective of his presence in Hrodna - to participate in a meeting for saving the yeshivot (and to found Vaad HaYeshivot), and he writes that two meetings on the matter had already taken place: "…the first one in Vilna and now in Hrodna, and it has been decided to impose on whoever has the means, to contribute a dollar semiannually for the support of the yeshivot… This regulation has so far been instituted in the regions of Vilna and Hrodna, but this small amount is not enough to provide for all the needs of the yeshivot… I therefore take the liberty to request that at the conference, it should be resolved to assign a respectable sum of money from the Keren HaTorah fund, for our yeshivot - Torah centers, to rescue this surviving ember, since at the moment their survival is entirely contingent upon miracles…".
The Chafetz Chaim concludes the letter by blessing the participants with a good year: "And all those who have gathered for the honor of G-d and His Torah, should be blessed with a good year, a year of raising the prestige of the Torah and its learners. So is the plea of the one who honors and respects you… who blesses you with a good inscription and sealing, who awaits bountiful Divine mercy - Yisrael Meir HaKohen, author of Chafetz Chaim and Mishna Berura".
The Rabbinical Conference in Kraków for strengthening Judaism was initiated by R. Alter Chaim Levinson of Reisha (Rzeszów; author of Tikun Olam. A disciple of R. Tzadok HaKohen of Lublin). In this conference, all the rabbis and rebbes from throughout Poland, Galicia, Austria and other European countries came together for the sake of Heaven, to institute regulations for the strengthening of religious observance in the aftermath of WWI, to bolster the observance of Shabbat, Kashrut, Taharah, and the education of children to Torah and fear of G-d. This blessed venture followed, and was inspired by, the success of the first world Knessia Gedolah which convened in Vienna in Elul 1923, which still merited the participation of the Chafetz Chaim. It must be noted that the conference in Kraków had the exclusive objective of reinforcing Shabbat observance and religion in general (and did not have any political agenda of organizing the Orthodox communities), therefore it received the support of many rebbes and rabbis who did not endorse Agudat Yisrael (such as the Rebbe of Belz and other Galician and Polish rabbis).
R. Yisrael Meir HaKohen of Radin (1837-1933), leader of the Jewish people, was widely known by the name of his first book, the Chafetz Chaim. He founded the Radin yeshiva and authored many halachic and ethical works: Mishna Berura, Shemirat HaLashon, Ahavat Chessed and dozens more. This letter was written in his later years, at the age of about 87. Despite his advanced age, he travelled to Hrodna to take part in this meeting for saving the yeshivot, and from there, sent this letter via his representatives to the large conference in Kraków.
 double leaf (3 written pages). 20.5 cm. Good-fair condition. Folding marks, wear and minor tears. Stains.
To the best of our knowledge, this letter was hitherto unknow and never published.
Darchei Noam, responsa on the four parts of Shulchan Aruch by R. Mordechai HaLevi Rabbi of Egypt, with Milchemet Mitzva, by R. Avraham HaLevi, son of the author (with separate title page). Venice: Bragadin Brothers, 1697. First edition. On the verso of the title page, an illustrated map of the Temple.
Ownership inscriptions and various signatures on the main title page: "Eliezer Papo"; "…Binyamin Pinto"; "Eliyahu HaKohen". Some marginal glosses in Sephardic script, one of them signed "says Shimon Pesach" (p. 182b). Most of the other notes were presumably written by this same author.
R. Eliezer Papo (1786-1827), author of Peleh Yoetz, a great and holy Torah scholar, was a foremost Sephardi rabbi in the Balkans. Born in Sarajevo (Bosnia), he was a leading Torah scholar of the city. He served as rabbi of Silistra (Bulgaria) and for a time of the Sephardi community in Bucharest (Romania). He authored many books: ethics and homily books, prayer and piyyutim books, books of Halacha and novellae on Shulchan Aruch, responsa and novellae on the Talmud. He is particularly renowned for his book Peleh Yoetz, which until this day is one of the basic ethics books studied by the entire Jewish people (the Chatam Sofer would regularly precede his lectures on Talmudic topics with the study of a section of Peleh Yoetz with his disciples. R. Tzvi Hirsh Michel Shapira of Jerusalem was particularly fond of the book and would keep it constantly on hand. R. Yaakov Yisrael Kanievsky - the Steipler would instruct teachers and parents to study Orchot Tzadikim and Peleh Yoetz with their children. The kabbalist R. Mordechai Sharabi would advise those who turned to him to study Reshit Chochma and Peleh Yoetz).
R. Eliezer Papo was known for his great piety, living his entire life with outstanding asceticism and great devotion in his worship of G-d. Already in his lifetime, he earnt the reputation of a wonder worker. The ledger of the Silistra Jewish community reports miraculous stories about him, of journeys being shortened and other wonders. He passed away prematurely during a Cholera epidemic, reputedly declaring before his death that his passing would arrest the epidemic, and promising his community that whoever would pray at his gravesite with a broken heart after immersing in a Mikvah would have his prayer accepted and would merit a redemption (see Melitzei Aish, part VII in the addenda, p. 89a, based on the Silistra community ledger). Until this day, people come from around the world to pray at his gravesite in Silistra, and many stories of salvations were publicized in recent years by people who travelled there to pray.
R. Moshe Shimon Pesach (1869-1955) was the rabbi of Volos (Greece). After the German invasion of Greece during WWII, the elderly rabbi endeavored to save his community from the Nazis, and succeeded in smuggling the Jewish residents to mountain villages. After the war, he was appointed Chief Rabbi of Greece.
, 2-282 leaves; , 2-41 leaves. 28 cm. High-quality paper. Good-fair condition. Dampstains and wear. Minor tears. Early binding, with leather spine, worn. In the endpapers, leaf fragments from a printed book on grammar principles.
Enclosed is a report from an expert on rabbinic manuscripts, authenticating the handwriting of the Peleh Yoetz.
Meor Einayim, Chassidic essays on the Torah, by Rebbe Menachem Nachum [Twersky] of Chernobyl. Slavita: [R. Moshe Shapira, 1798]. First edition.
Bound with: Yismach Lev (Part II of Meor Einayim), commentary on Aggadot and Midrashim (following the order of the Talmudic tractates), by Rebbe Menachem Nachum [Twersky] of Chernobyl. Slavita: [R. Moshe Shapira, 1798]. First edition.
Meor Einayim is a fundamental work of the Chassidic movement, and one of the first Chassidic compositions presenting the teachings of the Baal Shem Tov and the Maggid of Mezeritch (Mezhirichi). The author, the maggid R. Menachem Nachum of Chernobyl (1730-1798, Encyclopedia of Chassidut III, pp. 168-175), was one of the founders of Chassidism and the progenitor of the Chernobyl dynasty. He studied directly from the Baal Shem Tov and was a close disciple of the Maggid of Mezeritch. He served as maggid in Noryns'k, Prohobitch (Pohrebyshche) and Chernobyl. He acceded to his disciples' entreaties to print his teachings and delegated the task to his disciple R. Eliyahu son of R. Zev Wolf Katz, instructing him to publish his writings in the "fine and exceptional printing press established in Slavita…" (the printing press of R. Moshe Shapira, then in its early years).
The book was allegedly eighteen times longer, but when arranging it for printing, R. Nachum of Chernobyl commanded his disciples to burn many leaves, leaving only the teachings which were divinely inspired. His writings were divided by his disciples into two parts, one part on the Torah, including selections, published under the title Meor Einayim, and a second part pertaining to Talmudic Aggadot, named Yismach Lev. The two parts were printed concurrently in Slavita, the same year. In later editions, the two parts were combined and published together. R. Nachum of Chernobyl passed away during the course of the book's preparation for print.
Chassidic leaders ascribed great importance and holiness to the book, studying it every day and preserving it as a protection. The Chozeh of Lublin and R. Yitzchak of Skvyra (grandson of the author) reputedly said that the book has the power to light up the person's soul, similarly to the Zohar, and R. Yitzchak Eizik of Komarno asserted that Meor Einayim should never depart from before one's eyes, as all the teachings it contains are lofty and holy.
Copy lacking 7 leaves. Meor Einayim: 3-158 leaves. Lacking: Title page, leaves 1-2 and 159-160. Yismach Lev: 1-29, 31-33,  leaves. Lacking: Title page and leaf 30. 19 cm. Fair condition. Stains, worming affecting text. Handwritten inscriptions. All the leaves were professionally cleaned and restored, worming repaired with paper and margins trimmed. Missing leaves replaced with photocopies. Restored binding, with original leather spine.
Crown for a small Torah scroll. [Eastern Europe - Russia or Poland, 18th century].
Silver (marked), cut and sawn, repoussé and embossed; rivets; gemstones; gilding.
A small-sized Torah crown intended for a small Torah scroll. The crown's base is made of silver openwork attached with rivets to a silver loop and decorated with vegetal and geometric patterns and three pairs of heraldic animals [a pair of lions, langued, a pair of oxen (?) and a pair of wolves (?)]. Six arms extend upwards from the crown's base, topped by another, small and gilt crown decorated with tiny flowers, gemstones, globular silver beads of various sizes and silver threads. The crown's arms are decorated with vegetal patterns and rocaille. Between the arms are six (identical) decorations that combine rocaille and large birds (each of the decorations has two holes, apparently intended for bells or other missing decorations).
Height: 19 cm, base diameter: 13 cm. Good overall condition. Slightly bent. Some of the bells are marked with English stamps. Missing bells. Decorations missing from upper crown and from the rocaille-and-bird pattern.
Divorce document (Get), with an official document in Polish, and a confirmation letter from the Kraków Beit Din, signed by its head - R. Yosef Engel:
• Divorce document (handwritten on parchment), recording the divorce of Sala daughter of Tzvi, from her husband Moshe son of Naftali, drawn up in Kuzmir (Kazimierz, Poland) on Monday, 4th Tevet 1906; bound (with a string sealed with wax) with an official document in Polish recording the divorce.
• Letter of confirmation from the Kraków Beit Din, confirming that this woman was divorced from her husband via an agent of the Kraków Beit Din ("as is listed in our divorce registry of that year"). Signed by R. Yosef Engel, and the dayanim of the Beit Din: R. Avraham Moshe HaKohen Rappaport, R. Moshe Shmuel Bleicher; with the Beit Din stamp. Kraków, .
R. Yosef Engel (1859-1919), foremost Torah scholar in Poland and Galicia. Born in Tarnów, he lived in Bendin and from 1906, served as head of the Kraków Beit Din. He authored dozens of compositions, including: Atvan DeOraita, Lekach Tov, Beit HaOtzar, Otzrot Yosef, Tziyunim LaTorah, Gilyonei HaShas and others. His works are renowned in the yeshiva world for their brilliance and foundations of in-depth study (his works were also famous in the world of Lithuanian yeshivot. Reputedly, R. Eliezer Gordon invited him to serve as dean of the Telz yeshiva). Approximately ten of his compositions were published in his lifetime, and another ten after his passing. R. David Morgenstern of Kotzk, grandson of R. Yosef, allegedly took with him on his flight from the Holocaust some one hundred manuscript volumes on Halacha and Aggadah, already arranged for print, of his grandfather's many compositions, yet he was compelled to relinquish most of them on the way.
Divorce document - parchment leaf (26.5 cm) + double leaf - Polish document (34 cm) + letter (23 cm). Varying condition: Parchment leaf and document in fair condition (stains, tears and wear). Letter in good condition (folding marks).
Nachalat Shimon, ethical and Chassidic essays on the Torah Parashiot, by R. Shimon Deutsch Ashkenazi Rabbi of Dobromyl, disciple of R. Elimelech of Lizhensk. [Łaszczów, 1815]. First edition.
This first edition was published by the disciple of the author, R. Shmuel of Premisla (Przemyśl), and does not contain Torah thoughts on Parashat Bereshit. The publisher mentions this fact at the end of the foreword (leaf ) and in the concluding words on p. 20b (of the first pagination), and he surmises that the author's decision not to elaborate on the ten generations between Adam and Noach was based on profound Kabbalistic reasons. (It must be noted that the second edition of the book, Polonne 1821, contains novellae to Parashat Bereshit as well as to other Parashiot which do not appear in the first edition. These additions were included in the Polonne 1821 edition only, whilst subsequent editions, [Lemberg, 1858 edition onwards], follow the first edition and omit the additions). The publisher, disciple of the author further writes: "One must know that the author was trouble stricken his entire life… and whenever his weakness overtook him, … his words were concise rather than expansive".
The author R. Shimon Deutsch Ashkenazi Rabbi of Dobromyl (d. Cheshvan 1801), was a great and holy Torah scholar, a foremost disciple of R. Elimelech of Lizhensk. Held in high esteem by Chassidic leaders, his Torah thoughts are quoted reverently in the writings of great Chassidic masters such as the Bnei Yissaschar, Melo HaRo'im, R. Alexander of Komarno, R. Moshe of Kozhnitz, and others. He exchanged halachic correspondence with leading rabbis of his times, leaving behind many compositions in manuscript form, on the Talmud, Halacha and responsa. After his passing, a fire destroyed all his writings. This composition was written by his disciples who recorded the sermons he delivered every Shabbat. The author did not leave behind any descendants. The book was named Nachalat Shimon by the publisher, since "this is his portion from all his toil, as he did not leave behind any offspring, rather alone he came and alone he left, and this will be his legacy" (publisher's foreword). The Yeshuot Yaakov wrote in his approbation to the book: "When I resided in Jarosław, he was in close proximity to me, and several times he presented before me his insight on a ruling, and all his words are taken as verified". The author quotes in this book ideas from his great teacher from Lizhensk: "and so it says in the book of my teacher the holy R. Elimelech" (p. 13a).
R. Shimon Ashkenazi's gravesite in Dobromyl was until the Holocaust a focal point for prayer, attracting the multitudes. Since he did not merit to have offspring, the synagogue of his community adopted the custom of reciting Aleinu LeShabe'ach following the Shabbat morning prayer, before the Torah reading, with a special Kaddish in his memory (Or Yekarot L'R. Shalom Chaim Porush, IV, p. 379).
The Beit Avraham, Rebbe of Slonim would relate (based on an oral tradition) the way the Nachalat Shimon would describe the exalted atmosphere of the Shabbat day which reigned in the home of R. Elimelech of Lizhensk. He reported that the Shabbat holiness was so palpable in the house of his teacher, that every Friday, the kitchen maids would ask forgiveness from one another, similar to the prevailing practice in all Jewish places on Yom Kippur eve, "so that the grievances they bore against each other would not preclude their experiencing the holiness of the Shabbat". R. Shimon of Dobromyl recounted that when he witnessed this, R. Elazar, son of R. Elimelech declared: "See how far-reaching the light of the holy Shabbat of my father is… even the maids can perceive this light" (Beit Avraham, Slonim, p. 67, 259).
, 2-20; 38 leaves, 17.5 cm. Good condition. Stains. Some darkened leaves. New leather binding.
Stefansky Chassidut, no. 390.
Pair of Torah Finials. Vienna (Alt Wien), 1846.
Silver (marked), cast, embossed and engraved.
Round base. Shafts, bases and body of finials are decorated with bands of floral and foliate patterns. The finials are surmounted by crowns, topped in turn with bud-like foliate knops. Six decorated chains are suspended from each finial, each consisting of a flower-shaped elongated link between two round links and ending with small medallions embossed with flowers (four medallions on one finial were replaced with 19th-century Persian coins). A Hebrew dedication is engraved on the base of one finial: "Eliezer [with his spouse] / Gittel Gestetner".
Height: 37 cm. Good overall condition. Some bends and cracks to crowns. Loose knop. Soldering repairs to one finial. Missing bells (?).
Meir Einei Chachamim, profound and inspiring Chassidic essays on the holiness of Chanukah and the commandment of lighting the Chanukah lights, by R. Meir Rabbi of Korostyshiv and Chodorkov (Khodorkiv). Sde Lavan (Bila Tserkva, presently: Ukraine), . First edition. With approbations of R. Mordechai of Chernobyl, R. Avraham Dov of Ovruch author of Bat Ayin and others. Title page printed in red and black.
Contents of the book: "Explanation of the commandment of lighting the Chanukah lights, arranging them, inserting the wicks, lighting with olive oil, the location of the lighting and the time of lighting… and adequate commentary for all the laws which are practiced during the eight days of Chanukah… we also added a homily for Parashat Shekalim and Parashat Zachor, homilies for Purim, for weddings and for Pidyon HaBen". R. Mordechai of Chernobyl writes in his approbation: "I am convinced that whoever studies his holy words, will find serenity for his soul, and they will light up his eyes and enthuse his heart to worship G-d… words emanating from the pure and holy heart of the author".
The author, R. Meir was the close disciple of R. Zev Wolf of Zhitomir author of Or HaMeir, who was the inspiration for this book, as Chassidic tradition relates: "…This R. Meir once came to his teacher R. Zev Wolf of Zhitomir on Chanukah eve, and saw his holy teacher standing with his face aglow, cleaning the Chanukah lamp, for several hours, and he sensed the Kavanot that his teacher was concentrating on at that time. When R. Meir returned home, he composed this book on Chanukah, beautiful homilies according to various levels of interpretation… and he was a great wonder-worker and kabbalist" (Emunat Tzadikim).
The book bears several stamps: R. "Pinchas Rabinowitz" - Rebbe Pinchas Rabinowitz of Kontikoziva (1861-1926, Otzar HaRabbanim 16957), Rebbe of Kontikoziva (Pribuzhany, Kherson region). He succeeded his father R. Yitzchak Yoel Rebbe of Linitz (Illintsi). He is described as "an outstanding scholar in the revealed realms of the Torah". His composition Avodat Yitzchak on the Torah remained in manuscript. His sons include: R. Yaakov Yisrael, Rebbe of Kherson and R. Menachem Nachum Rabinowitz Rabbi of Haifa. His sons-in-law include: Rebbe Moshe of Stolin and Rebbe Yitzchak of Skver. (See: Encyclopedia of Chassidut, III, p. 539).
, 1-2, , 7-111 leaves. 19.5 cm. Greenish paper. Varying condition, good-fair to fair. Worming and severe stains to title page and several more leaves (first and last). Marginal paper repairs to some of these leaves. Rest of leaves in good-fair condition. New leather binding.
Stefansky Chassidut no. 28.
Less than five Hebrew titles were ever printed in Sde Lavan.
The true name of town - Bila Tserkva, means "White Church". The Jews nicknamed it Sde Lavan (White Field), and it was sometimes euphemistically referred to in Yiddish as "Schwartze Tumme".
Neviim Acharonim and Ketuvim. Venice: Daniel Bomberg, .
Part of a Bible edition, identical to the previous edition published by Bomberg, in 1517, with the exception of the book of Tehillim, which in this edition was printed with a different typographic layout: two narrow columns per page.
Divisional title pages. This volume contains the title pages of "Arbaa Neviim Acharonim" and "Ketuvim".
Colophon on the last leaf: "Printed a second time with much scrutiny by the brothers, sons of Baruch Adelkind, in the month of Elul, 1521, for Daniel Bomberg and in his printing press". The colophon further mentions the Bomberg Talmud edition and the Rif edition being published at that time: "Likewise, may G-d grant us the merit of completing the entire Talmud and the large book of Alfasi, in accordance with the wishes of our master Daniel, for until this day we have printed twenty-five tractates of the Talmud and twelve sections of the Rav Alfas book".
This volume belonged to a Christian scholar who annotated it with lengthy glosses and many inscriptions in Latin, Greek and Hebrew, including lengthy inscriptions on the divisional title pages. In many places, he added the verse numbers. On the last page, following the colophon, and on the blank leaves at the end of the book - lengthy Latin inscriptions, with tables of the alphabet in various languages, numerical values of the Hebrew letters, the names of the Hebrew months and the corresponding months in the Christian calendar, and more.
A French ownership inscription, recording the presentation of the book to the writer's son by his brother-in-law the priest, in 1762, is followed by an additional inscription documenting the finding of the book in the Froideville castle, and it being bound in its present binding.
Signatures at the beginning of the volume: "Model son of Mr. Kashel Segal", "Model Segal".
277-528,  leaves. Leaf 407 bound after leaf 408, and leaf 413 after leaf 414. 21 cm. Varying condition. Most leaves in good condition, several leaves in fair condition. Dark stains, wear and tears to several leaves. Early leather binding, damaged.
Amudei Gola, known as Sefer Mitzvot HaKatzar, by R. Yitzchak of Corbeil. [Constantinople: Samuel ibn Nachmias, ca. 1510]. First edition.
Several glosses in Oriental script.
Incomplete copy.  leaves, out of  leaves. Lacking  leaves: first 13 leaves and 8 leaves [37-44] in middle of book. Some leaves bound out of sequence (leaf  bound between leaves [140-141]). 19 cm. Fair condition. Stains. First five leaves detached, with open tear to first leaf (slightly affecting text), dampstains and worming. Rest of leaves professionally restored (tears, worming and margins repaired, and leaves bound together as one volume). Without binding.
The Bibliography of the Hebrew Book lists the book as originally comprising  leaves, but Yaari in HaDefus HaIvri BeKushta (no. 36) records only  leaves. Other copies that we checked show the same (the NLI lists an incomplete copy with  leaves). No copy with  leaves is known to us.
Greeting banner for King Umberto. [Italy, late 19th century?].
Paint on fabric.
A large fabric banner, surrounded by a black frame and inscribed in Hebrew: "For the Righteous and Honorable King Umberto… may angels of mercy greet him…".
King Umberto I (1844-1900) visited the synagogue in Florence in 1887. The banner may have been prepared in his honor.
153X133 cm. Fair condition. Tears and open tears. Unraveling. Stains.
Sefer HaGilgulim, the Arizal's kabbalistic teachings, by R. Chaim Vital. [Johannisburg (Prussia, present day: Pisz), 1859].
On the title page, inscriptions handwritten and signed by R. Yosef Zundel of Salant (Salantai): "Zundel of Salant"; "Donated by R. Akiva son of R. Gershon of Vilna"; "To Zundel of Salant"; "2 1/2 grush for binding". On the front endpaper: "Donated by Rachel, in the memory of R. Yosef Zundel" and the stamp of a Petach Tikva synagogue.
R. Yosef Zundel of Salant (1787-1866) was a foremost disciple of R. Chaim of Volozhin, and the prime teacher of R. Yisrael of Salant, who cleaved to him in his youth in Salant, and under his directives began studying mussar intensely, and later disseminated the mussar approach to the multitudes. As the teacher of R. Yisrael of Salant, and the one who transmitted to him the teachings of the Gaon of Vilna, R. Yosef Zundel is considered the father of the mussar movement. R. Zundel studied in the Volozhin yeshiva, and was attached to the yeshiva dean, R. Chaim of Volozhin, who recognized his great stature and drew him close as a member of his entourage, transmitting to him all the teachings of his great teacher the Gaon of Vilna, in revealed and hidden realms of the Torah.
R. Zundel considered R. Chaim as his prime teacher and he refers to him in all his writings as "my master and teacher", whilst he quotes the Gaon of Vilna as "the great rabbi". His writings contain numerous excerpts and notes from the teachings and ways of his teachers, of which he was the main transmitter. Parts of his writings were published in the book HaTzadik R. Yosef Zundel MiSalant VeRabbotav (Jerusalem, 1927), which includes his biography, his writings and those of his teachers R. Chaim of Volozhin and the Gaon of Vilna.
, 1-64, 64-82 leaves. 18.5 cm. Darkened and stained leaves. Good condition. Stains. New leather binding.
Or HaGanuz, novellae on the Torah according to allegoric, Kabbalistic and Chassidic approaches, with a second part - VeZot LiYehuda, novellae on Mishnayot "according to allegoric and Kabbalistic approaches, lofty secrets", by R. Yehuda Leib HaKohen of Anipoli (Hannopil). Lviv, 1866. First edition.
The book bears approbations of great Chassidic leaders, including the only approbation to a book ever issued by the Tzemach Tzedek of Lubavitch. Another approbation, by R. Mordechai of Chernobyl (the Maggid of Chernobyl), extols the segulah and protective qualities of the book: "Every person should purchase this holy book for merit and excellent protection for himself and his descendants". His holy sons - R. Aharon of Chernobyl, R. Avraham of Trisk (Turiisk) and R. David of Tolna - also mention in their approbations the segulah for protection that their father described. In the publisher's foreword, the author's grandson likewise cites the protective qualities of the book.
The author, R. Yehuda Leib HaKohen of Anipoli (d. 1807, Encyclopedia L'Chassidut, 2, pp. 33-34), was a disciple of the Maggid of Mezeritch. According to one source, he was previously a disciple of the Vilna Gaon. He was ostensibly one of the four disciples who were at the side of the Maggid at the time of his death (together with R. Avraham HaMalach, the Baal HaTanya and R. Zusha of Anipoli). He and his friend R. Zusha of Anipoli were approached by R. Shneur Zalman of Liadi to grant their approbation to the Tanya. At the time of printing, Or HaGanuz received enthusiastic approbations from prominent Chassidic leaders of the time, including the only book approbation ever given by Rebbe Menachem Mendel of Lubavitch, the Tzemach Tzedek. The book was also accorded approbations by R. Mordechai of Chernobyl and his holy sons - R. Aharon of Chernobyl, R. Avraham of Turiisk and R. David of Tolna, and by his nephew R. Yitzchak Yaakov of Makariv, as well as approbations by R. Chaim of Sanz and R. Yitzchak Meir of Ger, the Chiddushei HaRim.
Owner's signatures: R. "Avraham Chaim Rosenbaum" - R. Avraham Chaim Rosenbaum of Pleshnitz (Pleszczenice; 1840-Kislev 1914), a Chabad rabbi in Czarist Russia and founder of the Chabad community in the United States at the end of the 19th century. In his youth, he studied under the Tzemach Tzedek, Rebbe of Lubavitch, together with the renowned Torah scholar R. Chaim Yaakov Widerwitz. Known as one of the foremost Chassidim of Rebbe Maharash and his son the Rashab. In the 1890s, he was imprisoned several times by the Russian authorities. In 1898, he immigrated to the United States, where he laid down the cornerstones of Chabad settlement in the United States (for his biography, see: R. Shalom Ber Levin, Toldot Avraham Chaim, New York, Tevet 1998; Toldot Chabad B'Russia HaTzarit, New York, 2010, chapters 92-99; Toldot Chabad B'Artzot HaBrit, New York, 1988, pp. 3-4).
Part I: , 12; 84 leaves; Part II (separate title page): 33 leaves. 23 cm. Thin, high-quality paper. Good condition. Stains and wear. Minor worming. Original binding, worn and detached.
Stefansky Chassidut, no. 21.
Pesher Davar, commentary to the book of Iyov, by "one of the men of the generation" [Zev Wolf of Dessau]. Berlin, .
Handwritten leaves, consisting of novellae on Tractate Chullin, were bound at the end of the book. Cursive Ashkenazic script [Europe, 19th century]. We were unable to identify the author. He may have been a Torah scholar of Prague or the vicinity (on p. 118a, he mentions the siddurim printed in Prague) and he engages in profound pilpul with the teachings of the Rishonim and Acharonim, especially R. Yehonatan Eybeschutz, the Noda BiYehuda and others.
The manuscript is paginated 118-141, and is presumably a part of a larger composition. These leaves contain novellae on Tractate Chullin, folios 87 to 103 (approximately).
Pesher Davar: , 35; 1,  leaves. Manuscript:  leaves. 21 cm. Fair-good condition. Stains and wear. Several tears. New binding.
Handwritten booklet (8 pages), "Sermon for Shabbat HaGadol 1833" - Sermon consisting of Aggadah and halachic topics, handwritten by R. Bendit Goitein Rabbi of Hidjess (Hőgyész, Hungary). 1833.
R. Bendit Goitein (1770-1841), renowned Torah scholar, rabbi of Hidjess and author of Kesef Nivchar, was a leading rabbi of his times in Hungary. He was born in Kojetín, Moravia, and was a close disciple of R. Moshe Münz, Rabbi of Alt-Ofen (Óbuda). After his marriage, he lived in Yarmit (Balassagyarmat), and received rabbinic ordination from the rabbi of the town, R. Ze'ev Wolf Boskowitz, author of Seder Mishna. After R. Ze'ev Wolf left the city, R. Meir Eisenstädter (Maharam Ash) succeeded him as rabbi, and R. Bendit was appointed dayan in his Beit Din. In ca. 1799-1800, R. Bendit went to serve as rabbi of Hidjess, a position he held for 45 years, establishing there a prominent yeshiva. His book Kesef Nivchar, published in Prague in 1827, earned him world-renown until this day. The book summarizes various Talmudic topics, bringing together all the sources on the topic, starting from the words of the Talmud and including the teachings of foremost Acharonim. This book became a fundamental and essential work in Hungarian yeshivot in subsequent generations (as the Chatam Sofer foresaw in his approbation to the book: "This book will become a guide to Torah students"). After toiling for some ten years on a revised edition of this work, R. Bendit passed away before he succeeded in publishing it, and the manuscripts of the second edition were lost during WWII. Parts of his writings which were preserved by the family were published in Zichron Avot - Baal HaKesef Nivchar VeToldotav (Bnei Brak, 1971), and the beginning of this sermon was printed there (with slight variations), in section 113 (pp. 247-250). The last page and a half of this manuscript were not published, and instead the following note appears at the end of the section: "It appears that the end of this homily is lacking, but we nevertheless decided to print it, since it still contains beautiful thoughts, and also the Midrash quoted at the beginning is more or less elucidated" (this manuscript is also lacking the ending, and p. 8 ends in the middle of a sentence. It is unclear why the editors of Zichron Avot decided to omit the last sections of the sermon, whether because they were not in possession of this original manuscript, or because they did not wish to print thoughts which end abruptly in the middle of a sentence).
4 leaves. 21.5 cm. Thick, high-quality, blueish-greenish paper. Good condition. Light stains.
11 Ketubot printed on parchment, filled in by hand by the community scribe and signed by the regular community witnesses. Amsterdam, 1802-1803, 1818-1819, 1856.
Most of the Ketubot were printed by Proops, at the start of the 19th century, apart from the 1856 Ketubah, which was printed by Israel Levison. All the Ketubot are decorated with ornamented borders featuring similar illustrations: a gateway with decorative columns, topped by trumpet-bearing angels flanking a Star of David - emblem of the Ashkenazi community of Amsterdam, inscribed "K.A.A." or "K.Y.H.A.".
11 Ketubot, 30-31 cm. Varying condition, very good to good-fair. Creases and folding marks. Stains and minor tears.
Passover Seder plate designed by Ze'ev Raban. Made by Bezalel. Jerusalem, [first decades of the 20th century].
The text of "Ma Nishtana" appears in the center, surrounded by five depressions for the traditional foods of Passover. Five scenes depicting the exodus from Egypt appear on the margins, with small medallions inscribes with captions describing the scenes set between them. On the back of the plate is a soldered plaque, inscribed: "Made in Palestine".
Diameter: 32.5 cm. Good condition. Some bends. Corrosion. A suspension loop on the back.
Provenance: Purchased at the Hammersite auction house. According to the auction house this item is from the estate of Prof. Victor Deutsch, and was purchased at Sotheby's in May 1998 (item no. 36).
Candle lighting supplications, order of blessings over candle lighting for women, with supplications for the High Holidays and Three Festivals, by R. "Yisrael G.b. of Ivnytsia". Zhitomir: [Shapira], 1864. Yiddish and a bit of Hebrew.
The supplications were composed by R. Yisrael Goldberger of Ivnytsia, Zhitomir region, who authored many Yiddish supplications: "Six New Supplications", for reciting on various occasions, were printed under the name Techinat Imrei Shefer (Zhitomir, 1870), and supplications for reciting at the time of Torah reading, a specific supplication for every Shabbat pertaining to that week's portion, entitled Techinah Kriat HaTorah, were printed in Jerusalem, 1885.
36,  pages. 14 cm. Light-greenish paper. Fair-poor condition. Stains and wear. Tears and damage (repaired) significantly affecting text. Several leaves trimmed, affecting text. New binding.
Bibliographically unknown edition.
Lengthy letter (2 pages), handwritten and signed by R. Bendit Goitein. Hidjess (Hőgyész, Hungary), Shevat 1828.
Halachic responsum pertaining to laws of Mikvaot (ritual baths), addressed to R. Yehuda Leib. The responsum begins with an analysis of the ell and fingerbreadth measurements, which concern the volume of water required for a Mikveh. He concludes the responsum: "These are the words of his friend, who is prepared to be of assistance to him and to all those who seek wisdom, Bendit Goitein, who resides here, Hidjess".
R. Bendit Goitein (1770-1841), renowned Torah scholar, rabbi of Hidjess and author of Kesef Nivchar, was a leading rabbi of his times in Hungary. He was born in Kojetín, Moravia, and was a close disciple of R. Moshe Münz, Rabbi of Alt-Ofen (Óbuda). After his marriage, he lived in Yarmit (Balassagyarmat), and received rabbinic ordination from the rabbi of the town, R. Ze'ev Wolf Boskowitz, author of Seder Mishna. After R. Ze'ev Wolf left the city, R. Meir Eisenstädter (Maharam Ash) succeeded him as rabbi, and R. Bendit was appointed dayan in his Beit Din. In ca. 1799-1800, R. Bendit went to serve as rabbi of Hidjess, a position he held for 45 years, establishing there a prominent yeshiva. His book Kesef Nivchar, published in Prague in 1827, earned him world renown until this day. The book summarizes various Talmudic topics, bringing together all the sources on the topic, starting from the words of the Talmud and including the teachings of foremost Acharonim. This book became a fundamental and essential work in Hungarian yeshivot in subsequent generations (as the Chatam Sofer foresaw in his approbation to the book: "This book will become a guide to Torah students"). After toiling for some ten years on a revised edition of this work, R. Bendit passed away before he succeeded in publishing it, and the manuscripts of the second edition were lost during WWII. Parts of his writings which were preserved by the family were published in Zichron Avot (Bnei Brak, 1971), including this responsum which was printed (with slight variations) in section 31.
 leaf. 24 cm. Written on both sides, approx. 42 autograph lines and signature. Good-fair condition. Creases and stains.
Letter of halachic queries pertaining to laws of divorce, signed by the rabbi of the city R. Mordechai Michael Yoffe (a disciple of R. Akiva Eiger) and the dayanim in his Beit Din: R. "Yisrael Frenkel" and R. "Yehuda Leib son of… [Yoffe?]". Fordon, Cheshvan 1846.
Halachic queries addressed to the rabbi of Posen (Poznań) R. Shlomo Eiger, regarding a divorce which was not delivered in accordance with Halacha, and the ban of Rabbenu Gershom prohibiting polygamy and divorcing a woman against her will. Parts of this question were analyzed at length in his responsa book (Responsa of R. M. Yoffe, Hamburg, 1852, section 4). This letter discloses details of the account and halachic aspects which are only mentioned briefly and alluded to in the book. In sections 5-10 of the book, more responsa letters regarding this same affair are quoted, including R. Shlomo Eiger's response to this letter.
R. Mordechai Michael Yoffe (1803-1868, Otzar HaRabbanim 14219), was a foremost disciple of R. Akiva Eiger, who's yeshiva he studied in for some eight years, earning the title of "the Rebbi's Bachur" for the latter's great fondness of him. After his wedding with the daughter of R. David of Krotoszyn, his birthplace, he sat studying Torah, adamantly refusing to assume a rabbinic position, until all his possessions were destroyed in the great fire which struck Krotoszyn in 1827. He then began serving as rabbi of nearby Zduny, and later of Schneidemühl (Piła) in the Poznań area. In ca. 1845-1846, he went to serve as rabbi of Fordon (Bydgoszcz, northern Poland-Prussia), leaving the rabbinate in 1849 in favor of studying Torah in the famous Hamburg Kloiz, where he disseminated Torah for 18 years. He exchanged extensive Halachic correspondence with his teacher R. Akiva Eiger and the latter's son R. Shlomo Eiger. See for instance in Teshuvot Chadashot by R. Akiva Eiger (Jerusalem 1978, Even HaEzer, section 1) a responsum from R. Akiva Eiger to his disciple R. Mordechai Michael Yoffe, where he expresses his amazement at the latter addressing him with additional honorific titles apart from "rabbi". In 1834, he published his first book Beit Menachem (Krotoszyn, 1834). In 1852, he published in Hamburg his second composition named Responsa of R. M. Yoffe, consisting of Halachic rulings and correspondence he exchanged with the rabbis of his generation, including his teacher R. Akiva Eiger and his son R. Shlomo Eiger. He edited Responsa Maharach Or Zarua from an early manuscript, inserting sources and notes (published in Leipzig, 1860), together with his colleague from the Kloiz R. Elyakim Getschlik Schlesinger (the holy R. Getsch). A small number of his novellae were printed in the Shomer Tzion HaNe'eman periodical, published in Altona by the Aruch LaNer. Four of the Aruch LaNer's responsa to R. Mordechai Michael Yoffe were published in Responsa Binyan Tzion in 1860. His novellae and glosses to different books were published in various forums: his glosses to Responsa Chacham Tzvi were printed in Likutei He'arot of the Dovev Mesharim institute edition (Jerusalem, 1998) and in Moriah - Sefer Zikaron L'Rabbi Moshe Swift (Jerusalem, 1996); his glosses to Mor UKetzia were printed in the Machon Yerushalayim edition (Jerusalem, 1996); his glosses to Responsa Panim Me'irot were published in Moriah (issues 277-278, Tamuz, 2011).
 folded leaf:  written pages +  page with address and postmarks. 21 cm. Good-fair condition. Stains and tears. Folding marks. Tears to p. , with loss of text.
Kehunat Avraham, poetic commentary to the five books of Tehillim, with Eleh Bnei Ketura - The Song of Creation in rhyming verses, six parts, by R. Avraham son of Shabtai HaKohen of Zante (Zakynthos). Venice, . Seven title pages.
Each of the six parts has its own title page. At the beginning of the book, a general title page for all parts of the book, featuring many illustrations. The title pages of the first five parts are illustrated with trumpet-bearing angels.
Title page of Part I: Signature of R. Ben Tzion Ghirondi, and signatures of his son R. Mordechai Shmuel, who signed with his acronym: "HaGeSheM", and with his full signature: "Mordechai Shmuel son of my father, the wise and sage R. Ben Tzion Ghirondi".
Another ownership inscription on the front endpaper: "For Avraham as possession, Avraham HaKohen of Głogów, Abraham Cohn - Posen" (author of Be'er Avraham, Poznań 1896). The preceding page contains rhyming verses in Italian script.
R. Mordechai Shmuel Ghirondi (1799-1852), Rabbi of Padua, was a kabbalist, bibliographer, teacher in the rabbinical seminary of Padua and researcher of the biographies of Italian rabbis. He served as rabbi of Padua since 1831, for 21 years. He composed several books on Halacha and ethics, yet is renowned primarily for his book Toldot Gedolei Yisrael U’Geonei Italia (Trieste, 1853). One of the leading Torah scholars of his generation praised his eminence in Kabbalah: "I have never seen anyone proficient in Kabbalah like the Kabbalist R. Mordechai Shmuel… Ghirondi". His son, R. Efraim Refael Ghirondi, describes his father: "A father to the poor… humble like Hillel, brought back many from sin… very well-versed in responsa and Halacha, rabbis of his time posed halachic questions to him, and his wise responsa to them are written in his book of responsa named Kevutzat Kesef which remains in manuscript…".
1,  leaves, (lacking leaf  following title page, with author's portrait), 2-8; 49; 40; 30 (lacking 4 leaves in Part IV - leaves 9-12, erroneously replaced with leaves 9-12 of Part V); 26; 64 leaves. General title page (of all six parts of the book) bound after title page of Part I. 20 cm. Good condition. Tear to title page of Part I, repaired. General title page mounted on paper for preservation. Inner margins of first three leaves reinforced with paper. Stains. Worming. Parchment binding.
Ketubah, in neat handwriting (square and Rashi script), recording the marriage of R. Shlomo "son of the late, pious R. Yeshaya" Bardaki, to the bride Chaya, daughter of R. Shmuel Salant Rabbi of Jerusalem. Jerusalem, 1864.
Signed by the witnesses: R. "Yitzchak son of R. Yehuda, beadle of Kollel Prushim" and R. "Yosef son of R. Avraham Binyamin Rivlin". Signature of the groom: "Shlomo son of R. Yeshaya", and additional signatures of these witnesses.
On the verso: Attestation dated 1869 - Tosefet Ketubah, signed by the witnesses R. "Meir son of R. Asher of Aniksht" and R. "Michel HaKohen son of R. Eliezer". With another attestation signed by the husband R. "Shlomo son of R. Yeshaya", and additional signatures of these witnesses.
The groom - R. Shlomo Bardaki was an acknowledged Torah scholar, who served for over forty years as chief chazan of the Churva Synagogue. He bequeathed this position to his grandson R. Yisrael Bardaki (Bar Zakai, 1890-1970), who held this office until the destruction of the Old City in 1948.
The witnesses: R. Yosef Rivlin (1838-1896), a Jerusalem public leader. Grandson of R. Hillel Rivlin, disciple of the Gaon of Vilna. An administrator of the Vaad HaKlali, he founded the first neighborhoods outside the Old City walls, as well as Petach Tikva. Among the first residents of Nachalat Shiva.
R. Meir son of R. Asher Kamaikin of Aniksht (Anykščiai, d. 1885), eminent Torah scholar, a trustee of Jerusalem institutions. Son-in-law of R. Moshe Meshel Luria Rabbi of Krakinova. He immigrated to Jerusalem in 1862 and served as trustee of Kollel Vilna and emissary.
R. Michel son of R. Eliezer HaKohen (1834-1914), immigrated to Eretz Israel as a child in 1845. A talented scribe and printer. He served for many years as scribe and clerk of the Ashkenazi community in Jerusalem. In 1893, he resigned and went to work for the institutions of the Sephardi community, and was among the founders of the Misgav Ladach hospital.
 large leaf. 50X38 cm. Rounded top. Fair condition. Wear. Small tears to folding marks.
Certificate of accreditation as Orthodox teacher, with the handwritten signature of R. Yosef Leib Bloch, dean of the Telz yeshiva. [Telz (Telšiai)], Kislev 1926.
"As I have heard and as I know for several years… R. Lipman Rakow from Frankfurt, I affirm… that he is fit to be a lecturer and teacher in the Rabbinical seminary in Germany, in all Hebrew and religious subjects…".
At the foot of the leaf, a confirmation, handwritten, signed and stamped by Rabbi Dr. Yaakov Hoffmann, rabbi and yeshiva dean in Frankfurt am Main. December 1926.
R. Yosef Yehuda Leib Bloch (1859-1929), a student of Volozhin and Kelm, a foremost leader of the musar movement and one of its noblest members. He married the daughter of R. Eliezer Gordon of Telz and was appointed lecturer and mashgiach in his yeshiva. After the first musar polemic, he left the yeshiva and went to serve as rabbi in Vorne (Varniai) and Shadova (Šeduva). With his father-in-law's passing in 1910, he returned to Telz and succeeded him as rabbi and yeshiva dean. Under his resolute and wise leadership, the yeshiva flourished with intensive study in accordance with the method he instituted, which is the forerunner of the Telz approach to study and musar. This system is perpetuated until this day, by his sons, grandsons and followers, in Telz yeshivot in Lithuania and the United States. His teachings were published in the books Shiurei Halacha and Shiurei Daat.
Recipient of the certificate: R. Yom Tov Lipman Rakow (1884-1950), native of Lithuania and one of its finest products. From 1920, he lectured in R. Breuer's yeshiva in Frankfurt am Main, and after a year, went to teach in the yeshiva of R. Hoffman in Frankfurt am Main, position he held for close to 20 years (the reason R. Rakow needed this certificate in 1927, after actively serving as teacher and lecturer in the yeshiva in Frankfurt for several years, is not known, R. Rakow was also not a student of the seminary for Orthodox teachers in Telz, established after WWI). At the outbreak of WWII, he moved to London where he continued teaching Torah in yeshivot. His sons were R. Benzion Rakow - dean of the Chayei Olam yeshiva in London, and R. Betzalel Rakow - renowned rabbi of the British Torah town, Gateshead. His biography is recorded in the Orchot Yesharim books (London, 1991-1997).
 leaf, official stationery. 28.5 cm. Good-fair condition. Marginal tears and wear.