AUCTION 47 | Thursday, December 10th, 2009 at 1:00
Fine Judaica: Hebrew Printed Books, Manuscripts, Graphic & Ceremonial Art

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Lot 193


Siddur Tephilath Hashanah[prayers for the entire year, according to the Romaniot or Byzantine rite]. Vols. I and II. Includes weekday prayers, Shabbath, Rosh Chodesh, Chanukah, fast days, Shekalim, Zachor, Parah, Purim, Shabbath HaGadol, Pesach (with text of Hagadah), Pirkei Avoth with a commentary, Shavu'oth, Tishah Be'Av. With the laws and customs of the Romaniot or Byzantine Community, and extensive collection of piyutim, kerovoth and kinoth, with commentary Vol. I: ff. 5-9,12-20, 22-169, 172-175 (=166 leaves of 179; ff. 1-4, 10-11, 21, 170-171, 176-179 provided in facsimile). Some staining, mispaginated in places, a few leaves repaired affecting text. * Vol. II: ff. 3-5 (fragments only), 6-41(of 41, ff. 1-5 provided in facsimile), (1), 1-131 (=116 leaves of 131; ff. 5-8, 126-131provided in facsimile). Modern crushed morocco. Sm. folio Vinograd, Const. 247, 255; Yaari, Const. 188 (Yaari's pagination contains fewer leaves than this copy); Hacker, Aresheth, Vol. V, p. 490, no. 188 (Hacker notes the correct pagination as in our copy); Zedner, p. 483

Constantinople: Shlomo and Joseph Yaavetz, Eliezer Aschkenazi 1573-1576

Est: $6,000 - $8,000
An Exceptionally Rare Festival Prayer Book. According to the now extinct Romaniot rite of the Byzantine Empire (not to be confused with Romania). Only two copies of Vol. I located: British Library, London, and Schocken Institute, Jerusalem. (According to Hacker, there are discrepancies between the British Library and Schocken copies.) The Schocken copy contains only 152 leaves (the remainder completed from the Venice edition). Our copy, while less complete than the British Library copy, is more complete than the Schocken copy by 14 leaves (ff.152 as opposed to our ff.166). This prayer-book was printed in two volumes. Volume I contains weekday and festival prayers; Volume II contains High Holy Day prayers. Yaari (Constantinople 188) and Roest (p. 732) catalogued strictly Volume II, the High Holy Day prayers (or much vaunted "Machzor Romania"). Evidently, neither bibliographer had access to Vol. I. (See Haberman's review of Ya'ari in Kiryath Sepher, Vol. XLIII [1968], p. 165.) Our copy includes both volumes, with most of the rare first volume. In the introduction to Vol. II, the publisher, David Kashti relates his trials and tribulations with the printers, especially with Joseph Yaavetz who allegedly changed the terms of their commercial agreement. More significantly, he charged that Yaavetz altered the Romaniot text. This heartbreak combined with the financial loss incurred resulted in the publisher's ill-health. Rabbi Elijah Galmidi and other leaders of the Romaniot community came to his financial rescue, and a different printer was found to produce Vol. II - Eliezer Aschkenazi. This explains why the first 41 leaves of Vol. II are printed in a slightly larger type than Vol. I. According to Yaari, Aschkenazi brought this font from his former press in Lublin. Eventually however, Kashti was reconciled with the original printer, Yaavetz, who then completed Vol. II. Indeed in the colophon, Kashti apologizes for having once accused Yaavetz. These prayers are according to the Romaniot or Byzantine rite which disappeared with the virtual annihilation of Greek Jewry in World War II. Four centuries earlier, the Romaniot rite was threatened with extinction when the numerically superior Spanish exiles arrived in the Balkans with their Sephardic rite. Nonetheless, "Minhag Romania" managed to survive in a few mainland Greek communities, of which the most prominent was Janina (in the Epirus region abutting the Albanian border). The Romaniot prayer-book was first issued in Constantinople in 1510. A second edition appeared in Venice. 1520-23. Our Constantinople 1573-1576 edition is the third and certainly the rarest. See S.C. Reif, Judaism and Hebrew Prayer (1993), pp.161-162; E. D. Goldschmidt, On Jewish Liturgy: Essays on Prayer and Religious Poetry (1978) pp.122-52 (originally published in Sefunot, Vol. VIII, pp. 205-36); EJ, Vol. XI, col. 398. SEE FOLLOWING LOT FOR ANOTHER COPY OF VOL. I WITH SOMEWHAT COMPLIMENTARY COLLATION