Yoseph Lekach [commentary to the Book of Esther, with text]

AUCTION 21 | Thursday, December 04th, 2003 at 1:00
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Lot 28

Yoseph Lekach [commentary to the Book of Esther, with text]

FIRST EDITION. Title within historiated woodcut architecural arch. ff. 83. Light stains. Modern boards. 4to. Vinograd, Cremona 47; Benayahu, Cremona 45; Adams B-1335; No copy in the JNUL

Cremona: Christoforo Draconi 1576

Est: $800 - $1,200
Eliezer Aschkenazi (1513-1586) held influential positions in widely scattered Jewish communites from Egypt, Cyprus and Italy to the major centers of Poland. Indeed he died in Cracow. His Biblical exegesis is permeated with the contemporary rationalistic spirit of rabbinic scholarship. Indeed Aschkenazi attacked Rabbi Judah Löw of Prague’s Gevuroth Hashem in his work on the Torah, Ma’asei Ado-nai. R. Löw was quick to respond, considering Aschkenazi’s rationalist portrayal of the Divinity apposite Kabbalah and therefore in contempt of the authentic Jewish tradition. Recent scolarship (R. Shlomo Brevda - an expert in the writings of Elijah, Gaon of Vilna encouraged a reprint of Yoseph Lekach, observing that many of the Vilna Gaon’s comments on the Scroll of Esther were reminiscent of Aschkenazi’s. This edition of Yosef Lekach, was the last Hebrew book printed in Cremona, which for a little over twenty years was a center of Jewish learning and printing, amidst the rigid censorship of the Church. On the Hebrew press at Cremona, see D. Amram, The Makers of Hebrew Books in Italy (1963), pp. 306-319. Benayahu suggests that the reprint of the book within the same year was not due to a loss or destruction of the first printing. He goes so far as to venture that the year of publication of the second edition is spurious. For an analysis of typographical variances between the two printings, see M. Benayahu, Ha-Dephus ha-’Ivri be-Cremona (Jerusalem, 1971), p. 233.