Zoth Torath Hakana’oth [polemic]

AUCTION 65 | Thursday, June 25th, 2015 at 1:00
Fine Judaica: Printed Books, Manuscripts, Ceremonial Objects and Graphic Art

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Lot 20

Zoth Torath Hakana’oth [polemic]

<<FIRST EDITION.>> Printed without a title-page. <<THE R. JACOB EMDEN COPY. With autograph manuscript notes>> and corrections on six leaves (ff. 6-8,13 and 34-35). ff. 73. Some staining and foxing, opening seven leaves with wide margins and fraying affecting marginalia, ff. 6-8 duplicated, final leaf with loss to outer corner. Later boards. 4to.

Amsterdam (i.e. Altona: By the Author 1752)

Est: $8,000 - $12,000
An anthology of Sabbathianism. Including various accounts of the advent of the Sabbathian movement, biography of Shabthai Tzvi and critiques of Jonathan Eybescheutz, Moshe Chaim Luzzatto (Ramcha’l), Nechemiah Hayun and other suspected Sabbathians. This copy with critical, indeed bitingly sarcastic comments written by Jacob Emden in the margins of five leaves. For example, on f. 6a the text relates that Shabthai Tzvi traveled by boat with his brother from Ismir to Constantinople during which time rough weather delayed them. The lengthy marginal note sarcastically remarks that if Shabthai Tzvi could not even navigate a boat how could this “Shoteh” (idiot) expect to pass over the River Sambatyon? The text further relates that when Shabthai Tzvi arrived in Constantinople for an audience with the Grand Vizier his brother acted as an interpreter. Emden pens here, “He didn’t even know the language of his birthplace!” On f. 6b, the text relates that at a meal hosted by one of Shabthai Tzvi’s earliest believers, all of the guests, including many wise men, swore they all saw Elijah the Prophet arrive. Emden bitingly remarks, “What smarts do they possess? How can they swear falsely? How could they know that this was indeed Elijah - is he their old friend? Perhaps they should have surmised that the Satan came to deceive them? More than likely, their strong imagination was at work.” In another note on the same page Emden calls Shabthai Tzvi “ a Messiah of emptiness (Mashiach shel tohu) who encouraged the whole world to rebel against God…” In other notes he rails against their drunken haughtiness feasting instead of fasting on the 17th of Tammuz and the 9th of Av. On f. 34b he calls the Sabbathian Leibele Prosnitz a “Rasha and Kesil (sinner and moron) who I was told lit a fire on the holy Sabbath.” Many of Emden’s annotated works are presently in the British Library, London and the Bodleian Library, Oxford, however neither possess an annotated copy of this rare polemic.