Me’ah Berakhot (Orden de Benediciones), Amsterdam 1687 (45520)

מאה ברכות - Marrano - Liturgy - Miniature - Haggadah

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Listing Details

Lot Number: 45520
Title (English): Me’ah Berakhot (Orden de Benediciones)
Title (Hebrew): מאה ברכות
Note: Marrano - Liturgy - Miniature - Haggadah
City: Amsterdam
Publisher: Albertus Magnus
Publication Date: 1687
Estimated Price: $6,000.00 USD - $10,000.00 USD
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Physical Description

[11] ff., 303, 304; 54, [11], 7, [20] pp., 12 mo., 124:73 mm., light age and use staining, crisp margins. A very good copy bound in modern leather over boards.

Includes haskavah for martyrs burned at the stake by the Inquisition.

Detail Description

Bi-lingual Hebrew-Spanish beneditions and rituals for Marranos (converses) returning to Judaism who suffered from an almost total lack of knowledge of normative Jewish practice. Me’ah Berakhot was prepared from a manuscript found by Benjamin Senior Godine, a well known engraver, in the collection of Isaac De Mattathias Aboab (1631-1707). The engraved copper-plate title page, with six vignettes, was designed by Godines, the vignettes, with both Hebrew and Spanish captions, represent mitzvot requiring benedictions, such as blessings for the new Moon, shofar, circumsion, havdalah, and grace after meals, perhaps representing the five senses. The sixth bottom sketch, covering the width of the page, is of men sowing a field, with the Hebrew verse, “Then Isaac sowed in that land, and reaped in the same year a hundredfold” (Genesis 26:12), this in honor of R. Isaac Aboab da Fonesca (1605-93), rabbi of the community. A feature of these engravings is that in each vignette the men are wearing hats, reflecting Jewish practice. The title page has the date, in Arabic numerals, 5447 (=1687). A Spanish title page follows, with the Hebrew verse, “thus shall the man be blessed who fears the Lord” (Psalms 128:4). Next are Hebrew and Spanish introductions by Godine, the former facing an escutcheon. He informs that the translator was Isaac De Mattathias Aboab. There are approbations from R. Isaac Aboab, R. Jacob Sasportas, and R. Solomon de Oliveira, a preface, a half title page, and the text in facing Hebrew and Spanish. The Hebrew liturgy is vocalized letters; laws, customs, and explanatory notes are unvocalized. The text encompasses prayers and blessings for the entire year, according to the Sephardic rite, has appropriate laws and commentaries, as well as a number of special features. There is a complete haggadah, a poem on shehitah (ritual slaughter) by R. David ben Solomon Vital, and a list of the conditions that render an animal terefah (unfit for Jewish consumption), measurements of the Amsterdam Sephardic community mikveh (ritual bath), and the amount of flour to be taken for Hallah. There are benedictions to be acquired when acquiring a slave or dying sanctifying God’s name (at the hands of the Inquisition). Included is a depiction of a sundial with instructions for determining the tekufot (seasons), an unpaginated perpetual calendar for determining festivals, a list of major events in Jewish history until 1648, and an index. Albertus Magnus (1642-89), the printer of record, was a well known book-binder and book-seller in Amsterdam. He did not have his own print-shop and while he likely bound Hebrew books he is not known to have otherwise been involved in Hebrew printing, Me’ah Berakhot being the only such work attributed to him. It has been suggested, however, that David Tartas may have been the printer due to his experience printing bi-lingual works. Godines, the editor, was, in addition to being a highly regarded engraver of copper, also a well-known calligrapher and scribe. He was the son of Jacob Belmonte (1570-1629), a founder of the Portuguese-Jewish community of Amsterdam.

Marranos regularly left the Peninsula clandestinely, or secured permission to take business trips abroad from which they never returned. There are even cases of their leaving for the ostensible purpose of making a pilgrimage to Rome. Once the authorities became aware of such stratagems they tried to intercept Marranos as they moved through Europe to places where they could practice Judaism openly. Furtively and openly, in trickles and in torrents, thousands of Marranos left the Iberian Peninsula during the nearly three and a half centuries of the Inquisition's power. The Marranos did not arrive to Amsterdam until around 1590, some 11 years after the Union of Utrecht (1579) and the birth of the United Provinces of the Netherlands as a Protestant state. Here too they had to wait until 1615 before Jewish settlement was officially authorized, but the Marranos in Amsterdam differed from those in other Protestant countries in that they openly practiced Judaism almost from the moment of their arrival. Thanks to the Marranos, Amsterdam became one of the greatest Jewish centers in the world in the 17th century; it had some of the finest academies and produced some of the greatest Jewish thinkers. For these persecuted returning Jews was this beautiful prayerbook produced.


Hebrew Description    

שני שערים. השער הראשון (מצוייר): "מאה ברכות". למוציא לאור אלבירטוס מאגנוס, לא היה בית דפוס וקשה לוודא אצל מי נדפס הספר. פוקס סבור שהספר נדפס אצל דוד די קאשטרו תארתס, בגלל נסיונו בהדפסת ספרים דו-לשוניים. עורך הספר, בנימין שניאור גודיניץ, כותב בהקדמתו שמצא את כתב היד של הספר בספריתו של ר' יצחק בן מתתיהו אבוהב. במבוא הספרדי (דפים 5-4) הוזכר ר' יצחק אבוהב כמתרגם. עברית וספרדית עמוד מול עמוד, בספירת עמודים מקבילה. מכיל ברכות המצוות וברכות הנהנין ותפילות רבות לזמנים וצרכים שונים, לעיתים גם דינים. כולל גם "סדר של פסח" (הגדה) ו"השכבת השרופים על קדוש השם". עמ' שד: שיר מאת ר' יצחק אבוהב, פותח: "לביתך נאוה קדש" (אוצר השירה והפיוט, ג, עמ' 20, מס' 424). 54 עמ': "סדר המלקות" ו"סדר ארבע מיתות בית דין" לערב יום הכפורים, "סדר התרת נדרים" והלכות שחיטה. ההלכות מנוקדות. אח"כ שיר "כולל כל דיני בדיקת הריאה", פותח: "אני ריאה אני מראה" לר' דוד ויטל (שם, א, עמ' 308, מס' 6779), שנדפס לראשונה בספרו כתר תורה, קושטא רצ"ו.

עמ' 37-20: הלכות שחיטה ובדיקה בלועזית. עמ' 38 ואילך: הלכות שונות בלועזית, כולל קריאת להקפדה על הלכות חלה, מאת רבני אמשטרדם, הלכות מקוה ובאור ה"תקופות".

11 עמ': "Calendario" (עם טבלאות רבות), לוח תקופות, לוח קבוע לראשי חדשים, חגים וצומות, סדר הפרשיות ורשימה כרונולוגית של מאורעות בחיי עם ישראל עד גזירת ת"ח. ז עמ':

ענינים כרונולוגיים שונים ובסוף שיר הפותח: "חקור לך מהלך כידור" מאת ר' שלמה די אוליוירה (שם, ב, עמ' 245, מס' 500).
20 עמ': "לוח" התוכן, בעברית ובפורטוגזית. קולופון בעמ' שד: שנת ב'רוך ת'היה מ'כל ה'עמים [תמ"ז].




Vinograd, Amsterdam 536; Yudlov, Ginzei Yisroel 277; Fuks, Holland 607; CD-EPI 0306152; EJ; Heller, 17th Cent.