AUCTION 35 | Tuesday, November 21st, 2006 at 1:00
Books, Manuscripts, Graphic & Ceremonial Art

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Lot 263


Luria, Isaac [AR”I] and Temerls, Jacob. Commentary to Sepher Yetzirah [Book of Creation]. Neat Ashkenazic cursive Hebrew script with occasional square letters. With four diagrams of right and left hands, and a detailed majestic chart of the Sefiroth and their Kabbalistic connections with the Hebrew letters, human senses, the seasons and the twelve tribes Lightly browned and rubbed at edges with marginal repairs, some worming. Clean small tears along central fold on f.1 not affecting text. Modern boards. Folio

Poland: 17th Century

Est: $2,000 - $3,000
The scribe cites a commentary by his illustrious teacher, “Jacob Aschkenazi Temerls.” By the fact that the scribe attaches to the name the blessing reserved for the living, “Y[ishmerehu] TZu[ro],” we surmise that Temerls was still alive at the time of the writing. Temerls died in the year 1666. Born in Worms, Germany, this outstanding Talmudist and Kabbalist resided most of his life in Poland, where he authored a work of Kabbalah, Siphra di-Tzeni’utha de-Ya’akov (1669). Though Temerl’s son, Eliezer Lipmann, responsible for the publication, expressed the wish to print his father’s other numerous manuscripts on Kabbalah, there were no further publications. See EJ, Vol. XV, col. 941. The present essay by R. Isaac Luria (Ar”i) on the rudiments of Sepher Yetzirah, with the accompanying commentary by R. Jacob Temerls, was first published by R. Samuel Luria as an appendix to his edition of Sepher Yetzirah with commentary of the Vilna Gaon (Warsaw, 1884). In a footnote, Luria explained that he discovered this unpublished essay of Ar”i in a manuscript from the collection of the Vilna Gaon. Luria titled the essay “Kelil Tochnith” (Overall Plan), by which, no doubt, he meant to convey that Ar”i therein provided an overall scheme of how all the elements enumerated in Sepher Yetzirah - and primarily the letters of the Hebrew alphabet - are contained in the hand. It is possible that our manuscript was brought to Eretz Israel by the disciples of the Vilna Gaon who settled there. The stamp tells us that the manuscript was once property of the “Beth MIdrash Menachem Zion.” The latter studyhouse, situated in the reclaimed Churvah Synagogue of Jerusalem, was founded in the year 1837 by R. Abraham Solomon Zalman Zoref, a leader of the Perushim in Jerusalem. (The Perushim were the coterie of disciples of the Vilna Gaon.) See A. Ya’ari, Sheluchei Eretz Israel (1977), pp. 777, 781; Frumkin and Rivlin, Toldoth Chachmei Yerushalayim, Pt. III (1929), pp. 156, 180-1. In addition to several variants, one clear advantage of our manuscript over R. Samuel Luria’s printed version, is the fact that we have an accompanying chart which presents graphically Temerl’s understanding of the complex interrelationships of the Sephiroth, etc. Whereas R. Samuel Luria provided a chart of the Vilna Gaon (as transcibed by his disciple R. Moses Samuel of Tolotchin), evidently the manuscipt from which Luria copied lacked R. Jacob Temerl’s chart