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

AUCTION 28 | Tuesday, April 05th, 2005 at 1:00
Fine Judaica: The Library of the late Professor Abraham J. Karp.

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Lot 41

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

FIRST EDITION. Title within historiated woodcut architecural arch. Text of Esther in square Hebrew letters; commentary in “Rashi” letters. On title and f.46r., inscription of former owner, “Samuel Halberstadt.” On f.2r. Samuel Halberstadt notes that he has purchased this book, among others, to replace his library, lost to fire in the year 1759 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: $600 - $900
COPY OF SAMUEL HALBERSTADT, RABBI OF HAGENAU (ALSACE) Eliezer Aschkenazi (1513-1586) held influential positions in widely scattered Jewish communites from Egypt, Cyprus and Italy to the major centers of Poland. He died in Cracow. His Biblical exegesis is permeated with the contemporary rationalistic spirit of rabbinic scholarship. Indeed Aschkenazi attacked Rabbi Judah Löw (Mahara”l) 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 in conflict with Kabbalah and therefore in contempt of the authentic Jewish tradition. See R. Löw, Derech Chaim on Ethics of the Fathers. Recently, 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 are 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. This copy once belonged to Samuel Halberstadt, rabbi of Hagenau, a town sixteen miles north of Strasbourg (1746-1753). Previously, R. Samuel served as dayan or religious judge in the very prestigious community of Halberstadt, Germany. See JE, Vol. VI, p. 140; N. Z. Friedmann, Otzar ha-Rabanim, no. 19128