<<Maharal of Prague).>> Communal Prayer Booklet of Community of Eybeschutz. Prayers recited after the Torah Reading. With <<Rare Prayer Authored by the Mahara’l Against Informers (Mosrim).>>

Auction 95 | Thursday, November 11th, 2021 at 11:00am
Fine Judaica: Printed Books, Manuscripts, Rabbinic Letters, Ceremonial & Graphic Art

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Lot 68

<<Maharal of Prague).>> Communal Prayer Booklet of Community of Eybeschutz. Prayers recited after the Torah Reading. With <<Rare Prayer Authored by the Mahara’l Against Informers (Mosrim).>>

Hebrew manuscript on vellum. Written in a fine calligraphic square and cursive hand with scribal flourishes. Including: Prayers for the Emperor (Charles V), for the victims of the Rhineland massacres, and for the sick, new mothers and the community at large. pp. 10. Stained and worn from use. Later calf, rubbed. Folio.

Eybeschutz (Ivancice), Moravia: Yoseph ben Hillel Shmuel, Sofer of Eybeschutz 1553-1556

Est: $20,000 - $30,000
<<With grateful thanks to Prof. Shlomo Zucker (Jerusalem) who has extensively researched this manuscript. His research notes accompany the lot.>> Although the remarkable Moravian custom to recite a Yehi Ratzon prayer against Mosrim is noted (Prof. Israel Heilprin, Takanoth Medinoth Mehrin no. 180), the actual text of the prayer is unknown, nor is its author.Nonetheless, Heilprin approximated that the prayer may well have been prepared by the Mahara’l of Prague. <<The present manuscript can now confirm this.>> The manuscript contains the complete prayer and notes that it was “(written) by Rabbi Loewy of Prague (to be recited) on Mondays and Thursdays.” Thus, as Prof Zucker affirms there is <<“clear proof that this prayer is authored by the Maharal of Prague, along with its precise formulation, and is only found in the present manuscript.”>> Slander appears to have been a significant problem in 16th century Bohemia and Moravia, both within the Jewish community and without. The Mahara’l himself was a victim of many accusations challenging the legitimacy of his birth, thus considerably delaying his appointment as rabbi of Prague. An infamous case of slander against a Bohemian-Moravian rabbi was likely that of R. Yom-Tov Lippmann Heller (Tosfoth Yom-Tov), a student of the Mahara’l and his successor as rabbi of Prague. Accused of treason by a disgruntled community member, R. Heller was imprisoned and sentenced to death, a sentence that was eventually commuted to an impoverishing fine and exile. Ivancice (Eybeschutz) hosted one of Moravia oldest Jewish communities and was home to the famous Eybeschutz and Auerbach families. The inclusion of Maharal’s prayer in the synagogue’s communal prayer-manual during the Maharal’s lifetime, highlights the strong influence that the rabbi of Prague had over the towns of Moravia. The text of the prayer is as follows: “May it be the Will of our Father in Heaven that You uproot every hint of rot and gall in Israel, and there shall be none who burst through the walls in their streets. May God save Israel from the hands of the Mosrim, who harm Israel with their tongues and destroy relations between communities and harm their Jewish brethren by seeking to topple them. May these sinners be cut off and separated from the tribes of Israel for worse, and may they not have a portion in the God of Israel. Rather, their names should be erased from beneath the Heavens, while His nation Israel shall be clean from this sin, guarding their mouths and tongues and distancing themselves from the wicked. The Ancient God should protect them and may no sinner emerge from them for all generations to come. May they merit to see the comforting and salvation of Israel, presently and swiftly, Amen.” <<A singular and highly important historical manuscript.>>