Pirkei Avot - Nahalat Avot, Rambam & Don Isaac Abravanel, Venica 1545 (44790)

פרקי אבות - נחלת אבות

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Listing Details

Lot Number: 44790
Title (English): Pirkei Avot - Nahalat Avot
Title (Hebrew): פרקי אבות - נחלת אבות
Author: R. Moses b. Maimon (Rambam) & Don Isaac Abravanel
City: Venice
Publisher: Marco Antonio Giustiniani
Publication Date: 1545
Estimated Price: $1,000.00 USD - $3,000.00 USD
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Description

Physical Description

213, 215-216 ff., quarto, 198:144 mm., light age and damp staining, old hand on title and several margins, initial ff. restored, ex libris stamps. A very good copy bound in modern half calf and cloth over boards.

 

Detail Description

Pirkei Avot with the commentaries of the Rambam and the Abravanel. Avot became a text for recital in the synagogue, it has been reproduced and reprinted more often than any other talmudic work. It is included in editions of the traditional prayer book. Since it furnishes teachings of what the Jewish sages considered fundamental aspects of life, and because these teachings were expressed in polished epigrams, Avot has been the best known talmudic treatise among non-Jews. It has been translated into Latin, English, French, German, Italian - probably into every language the prayer book has been translated into.

Don Isaac b. Judah Abravanel (1437-1508), received a careful education and was a pupil of R. Joseph Hayyim, rabbi of Lisbon. Well versed in Talmudic literature and in the learning of his time, endowed with a clear and keen mind, and full of enthusiasm for Judaism, he devoted his early years to the study of Jewish religious philosophy,and when scarcely twenty years old wrote on the original form of the natural elements, on the most vital religious questions, on prophecy, etc. His political abilities also attracted attention while he was still young. He entered the service of King Alfonso V. of Portugal as treasurer, and soon won the confidence of his master. Notwithstanding his high position and the great wealth he had inherited from his father, his love for his afflicted brethren was unabated. When Arzilla, in Morocco, was taken by the Moors, and the Jewish captives were sold as slaves, he contributed largely to the funds needed to manumit them, and personally arranged for collections throughout Portugal. He also wrote to his learned and wealthy friend Jehiel, of Pisa, in behalf of the captives. After the death of Alfonso he was obliged to relinquish his office, having been accused by King John II. of connivance with the duke of Bragança, who had been executed on the charge of conspiracy. Don Isaac, warned in time, saved himself by a hasty flight to Castile (1483). His large fortune was confiscated by royal decree. At Toledo, his new home, he occupied himself at first with Biblical studies, and in the course of six months produced an extensive commentary on the books of Joshua, Judges, and Samuel. But shortly afterward he entered the service of the house of Castile. Together with his friend, the influential Don Abraham Senior, of Segovia, he undertook to farm the revenues and to supply provisions for the royal army, contracts that he carried out to the entire satisfaction of Queen Isabella. During the Moorish war Abravanel advanced considerable sums of money to the government. When the banishment of the Jews from Spain was decreed, he left nothing undone to induce the king to revoke the edict. In vain did he offer him 30,000 ducats ($68,400, nominal value). With his brethren in faith he left Spain and went to Naples, where, soon after, he entered the service of the king. For a short time he lived in peace undisturbed; but when the city was taken by the French, bereft of all his possessions, he followed the young king, Ferdinand, in 1495, to Messina; then went to Corfu; and in 1496 settled in Monopoli, and lastly (1503) in Venice, where his services were employed in negotiating a commercial treaty between Portugal and the Venetian republic (Zurita, "Historia del Rey Don Fernando el Católico," v. 342a).

Marco Antonio Giustiniani was a Christian printer of Hebrew books in Venice in the 16th century. His master printer Cornelius Adelkind printed a fine edition of the Babylonian Talmud (1546–51). Soon, this very active press faced a formidable competitor in the house of Bragadini which issued Maimonides' Mishneh Torah, with the notes of R. Meir Katzenellenbogen. Giustiniani then printed the full text of that code without R. Meir's notes. The mutual recriminations that the rivals engaged in at the Papal Court ultimately resulted in the confiscation and burning of all Hebrew books (1553).

 

Hebrew Description

עם פירוש הרב... משה בר מיימון זצ"ל, ועם פירוש... דון יצחק אברבנאל... וקרא בשם המאמר הזה נחלת אבות...

דף רטו,א: נשלם משניות פרקי אבות עם פירוש השר דון יצחק אברבנאל ועם פירוש...הרמב"ם זצ"ל בשנת חמשת אלפים ושלש מאות וחמש. חמשה ימים לחדש אב... מעבר לשער שיר ר' יהודה אברבנאל על "נחלת אבות" של אביו, הפותח: "יש לי להנחיל אוהבי טובות". דף רטו,ב: "בן משק בית הנעלה האדון מארקו אנטוניו יושטיניאן, לבני ברית שלום". דף רטז,א: דברי סיום של המביאים לבית הדפוס: "בהיות כי ראה ראינו כי הזמן הולך וסוער עלינו, ולומדי התורה הולכים ומתמעטים. ועם הארץ בתורה בועטים. וסבת אלה הדברים. הוא חסרון הספרים. כי אשר הם כבר עשויים. רובם אינם מצויים. ומפני יוקר ערכם הם נאספים. לכן אנחנו השותפים...קנא קנאנו ליי' צבאות. וקמנו לגדור פרצה זאת. והקרה יי' לפנינו איש גדול ורם. מבחר הנוצרים והדרם...ובלשונינו הקדוש ידו גברה. ונפשו מאד חשקה בלומדי התורה. הוא השר והאדון נקרא בשם מארקו אנטוניאו יושטיניאן. ובראותו כי כמה שנים אנחנו עמלי'. בתקונים לעשות אותיות וכלים. ובעזר האלה' מעולם לא מצאנו. בעל מלאכה שנצחנו. עם [!] כי לטורח גדול ורב ההוצאה לא השגחנו. והשכיל והבין ענינינו. כי יש לנו שכם אחד על אחינו. המדפיסים אשר היו לפנינו. ומאהבתו את לומדי לשונינו הקדושה. נכנסה בו רוח חדשה... את בן משק ביתו צוה. להדפיס כל הספרים. אשר עד הנה היו נסתרים...כה דברי הצעיר ...יהודה בן ... יצחק לבית הלוי אשכנזי זצ"ל מוראנקבורט. ועמו שותפו בעל בריתו. אשר גדל אתו. ועשה אותו. נאמן ביתו. יחיאל בכמ"ר יקותיאל הכהן רפ"א".

 

Reference Description

CD-NLI 0151129; EJ