Nechunyah ben Hakaneh (attributed to). Sepher HaKaneh [Kabbalistic insights to the Shema Yisrael prayer and to the names of God]

AUCTION 61 | Wednesday, March 12th, 2014 at 1:00
Fine Judaica: Printed Books, Manuscripts, Autograph Letters, Graphic Art and Ceremonial Objects

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Lot 160

Nechunyah ben Hakaneh (attributed to). Sepher HaKaneh [Kabbalistic insights to the Shema Yisrael prayer and to the names of God]

<<FIRST EDITION.>> ff. 40. Browned and stained, trimmed, tear on f. 36 affecting several words. Modern calf. 4to. Vinograd, Prague 198 (erroneously noting this to be a Halachic work); St. Cat. Bodl. 4032.

Prague: n.p. 1609-11

Est: $2,000 - $3,000
<<Pseudonymous Kabbalistic Work - Rare First Edition.>> In the introduction, the author calls himself Kanah ibn Gedor and that he stems from the family of R. Nechunyah b. Hakaneh - one who deeply understood the esoteric meaning of the Torah and opened the doors of heaven. The introduction notes the intense piety of his son Nachum who from the age of three was imbued with kabbalistic secrets that he then divulged. Throughout the work he cites his son Nachum, and then “Ve’elieh divrei ibn Gedor” to differentiate between his son’s Kabbalah and his own interpretations. The editor, Elazar b. Abraham Chanoch Altshuler of Prague writes that he recorded the text from a French manuscript dated 1543 and added to it many additions and explanations from later works of Kabbalah. Based upon a passage in the Asarah Ma’amaroth by R. Menachem Azariah of Fano, for many years the book was attributed to R. Avigdor Kara of Prague (see Azulai, Shem Hagedolim, Ma’arecheth Sepharim under Kaneh and Peliah). Gershon Scholem (Major Trends, p. 400 n. 20) states that this is mistaken but does not explain why. Contemporary scholarly opinion tends to regard Sepher HaKaneh as the composition of an anonymous Byzantine author. This overturns the earlier belief of Profs. Baer and Netanyahu that it was composed in Spain. See B. Netanyahu, Zeman Chiburam shel Siphrei Hakaneh VehaPeli’ah, in: Salo Baron Festschrift, Vol. III (1974) pp. 247-67; and see I. Ta-Shema, Where were the Books HaKaneh and HaPliah Composed? in: Jacob Katz Festschrift(1980) pp. 56-63.