Chamishah Chumshei Torah [Pentateuch], with Megiloth and Haftoroth.

AUCTION 75 | Thursday, March 08th, 2018 at 1:00 PM
Auction of Fine Judaica: Printed Books, Manuscripts, Autograph Letters, Antiquities, Ceremonial Objects & Graphic Art

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Lot 228

Chamishah Chumshei Torah [Pentateuch], with Megiloth and Haftoroth.

Judeo-German commentary. ff. 163, 43. Final few leaves with repair. Contemporary tree-calf, rubbed. Lg. 4to. Housed in modern slip-case.


Est: $2,000 - $2,500
<<Historic Court-Room Hebrew Bible.>> Tipped in at front is an official German-language document dated “Prague, 25th March, 1817” noting that this Bible is to be used in courts of law to administer the oath to witnesses of the Jewish faith. Furthermore, the document specifies as to precisely which page the Bible is to be opened (f. 98) upon which the Judge administers the oath. The proceeding Hebrew leaves of the Pentateuch are numbered (presumably by a court-officer) until f. 98. On that leaf, verse 14 has been noted which begins the “Tochacha,” or, maledictions. Opening blank with manuscript entry in Latin by Carl Fischer, the government-appointed censor of Hebrew Books in the city of Prague attesting to the court-room use of this Hebrew Bible for Jews. Fischer was on friendly terms with Chief Rabbi Elazar Flekeles of Prague, indeed, the use of the Hebrew Bible in the secular court system would appear to be a direct result of discussions between the two regarding the validity of the oath of a Jew. This communication appears in R. Flekeles’s volume of responsa, Teshuvah Me’Ahavah, Part I (1809) no. 26. A significant material legacy highlighting the relationship between Jews and their host society, a time of increasing freedom and enfranchisement for the Jews of Prague.