Etz Chaim

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

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Lot 294

Etz Chaim

Hebrew Manuscript on paper. Clear, neat Aschkenazic rabbinic script. With notes by Yaakov Tzemach entitled with the heading “Tzemach.” ff. 257 (incomplete). Final five leaves repaired affecting text, Modern calf backed boards with marbled endpapers. Folio

[Germany ?]: Ca. 1700

Est: $1,500 - $2,000
Although the title on the binding mistakenly reads Peri Etz Chaim, this manuscript is actually the Etz Chaim, the “Bible of Lurianic Kabbalah”. It generally follows the order of the published version starting with the “Shaar Ha-Kelalim.” The manuscript spells out many kabbalistic abbreviations, contains textual variants and some passages not found in the standard printing of Etz Chaim, (Judah Zevi Brandwein ed. Jerusalem, 1988). For example, the third chapter of Shar Ha-Nekudim contains a paragraph from the Mahadura Kama with a diagram not published by Brandwein (see f. 31b-32a). In some cases, this manuscript follows a different order than the printed version. The ninth Shaar in the manuscript is “Mayin Nukvin” which corresponds to Shaar 39 in volume II of Brandwein’s edition; Shaar 41, Rachel Ve-Leah is Shar 38 in Brandwein’s edition. The final two leaves discuss the topic of Tosfoth Shabbath which is found in Peri Etz Chaim Shaar Ha-Shabbath, chapter 3 and Shar Ha-Kavanoth; the inclusion of this topic is probably why the previous owner thought this was a Peri Etz Chaim. R. Chaim Vital was one of the most important influences on the development of the Kabbalah, the primary heir to Isaac Luria’s spiritual legacy and the main interpreter of Lurianic Kabbalah. See Gershom Scholem’s brief, though masterful survey of the complicated history of Vital’s literary output, EJ, XVI 171-76