Bat Melekh; Zera Kodesh, R. Moses Graf; R. Simeon Abiob, Venice 1712 (46732)

בת מלך; זרע קודש - Copy of R. Shmuel Heller, Chief Rabbi of Safed

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Listing Details

Lot Number: 46732
Title (English): Bat Melekh; Zera Kodesh
Title (Hebrew): בת מלך; זרע קודש
Note: First Edition - Copy of R. Shmuel Heller, Chief Rabbi of Safed
Author: R. Moses Graf (Moses Praeger); R. Simeon Abiob
City: Venice
Publisher: Bragadin
Publication Date: 1712
Estimated Price: $500.00 USD - $1,000.00 USD
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Description

Physical Description

First editions. 20; 44 ff. octavo 155:90 mm., light age and damp staining, nice margins, small tear in final 2 ff touching letters. A good copy bound in contemporary boards.

The copy of  R. Shmuel Heller, Chief Rabbi of Safed, with his inscription on each title -  R. Samuel Heller (1803-84) Chief Rabbi of Safed, a leader of many aspects of community affairs of the Old Yishuv. R. Heller was born to a hasidic family in the Lublin area, probably in 1803. Ten years later, he came with his family to Safed, and as an adult was part of the Ashkenazi leadership of the Galilee town. Along with producing provocative halakhic rulings, R. Heller served in a significant administrative role as "Head of those in charge of distributing money in Israel on behalf of the organization of officials of Amsterdam." In his role as head of the rabbinical judges in Safed, R. Heller wielded great influence in setting the public agenda, but no less in the private realm. His rulings and actions reveal a clear Land of Israel, ultra-Orthodox trend, one that placed at its center the Holy Land and the ancient traditions that represented for him the coveted pre-exilic world. He craved what was perceived as authentic to the Land of Israel and strove to connect to local traditions, which became his guide.

On one occasion, R. Heller was required to rule on the tradition of the hilula of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai in Meron on Lag B'Omer. The tradition of burning expensive clothes during the ceremony roused the most opposition. In a pamphlet "The Honor of Kings" R. Heller countered those positions of important Ashkenazi figures such as the Hatam Sofer, R. Yosef Shaul Nathanson and even R. Yosef Hazan, and supported the tradition of Meron. R. Heller saw the hilula as a continuation of an authentic, sacred Galilean tradition. In another case, R. Heller caused animal images to be removed from the Ark, built in the grand tradition of Galicia, of the Ari Synagogue in Safed. In a pamphlet "Purity of Holiness" he expanded on his resolute opposition to the ark. He especially emphasized the inappropriateness of these images in the Land of Israel.

R. Heller's boldest ruling was in polygamy. In 1876, R. Akiva Yosef Schlesinger asked him to present his position on this issue, having lifted Rabbenu Gershom's herem or ban and thus bringing a herem or embargo on himself. R. Heller's reply came quickly - he emphatically supported lifting the ban. R. Heller's court in Safed won a reputation as a haven for men to receive legal dispensation to marry another wife in cases where the first wife refused to live in the Land of Israel. This ruling represented the epitome of ultra-Orthodoxy in the Land of Israel, indicating the centrality of the Land of Israel - concrete and historical. Immigration to the Land of Israel was highly important, even if the attitude to Israel in the Torah world of that time was ambiguous. R. Heller, who actualized this ideal, sought to connect to the source of holiness in the land and strengthen those who did not shy away from religious tensions involved in settling there.

As a leader, Heller was called on to address all aspects of life. He supported settlement, helped in finding sources of provision such as growing citrons, instituted regulations that encouraged work, and in his days the Jews even took part in guarding the district. Productive life was, in his eyes, an arena for expressing Jewish life.

 

Detail Description

Two independent works printed together by R. Moses Graf (Moses Praeger) and by R. Simeon Abiob, both kabbalists. The two works, both published by R. Abiob, have a single title page but separate foliation. The first title is Bat Melekh by R. Simeon ben David Abiob dealing with kabbalistic questions. The second title is Zera Kodesh by R. Moses ben Menahem Graf (Moses Praeger). There are approbations from R. Naftali ha-Kohen and R. Samuel ha-Kohen Settin, both given to the first edition of Zera Kodesh in Frankfort and reprinted here. In the introduction to Zera Kodesh R. Graf states that his purpose in writing the book is to hasten the coming of the Messiah by popularizing the kabbalistic teachings on that subject which have the ability to effect that event.

R. Simeon ben David Abiob (17th century) was a resident of Hebron, becoming one of that city’s kabbalists. R. Moses ben Menahem Graf (also known as Moses Praeger; 1650–1700/1710), kabbalist born in Prague. After the conflagration in the Prague ghetto (1689), Moses moved to Nikolsburg (Mikulov), where he studied under the kabbalist R. Eliezer Mendel b. Mordecai. He was given lodging and support by R. David Oppenheim, who, like R. Samson Wertheimer of Vienna, encouraged the publication of his writings. Leaving Nikolsburg, Moses attempted to settle in various European cities, reaching Fuerth in 1696 and Dessau in 1698. It is not certain whether he died there or whether he returned to Prague in his later years. Moses' published works include: Zera Kodesh and Va-Yakhel Moshe, a kabbalistic discussion of various portions of the Zohar and of the Adam de-Azilut, with a special commentary on the latter concept entitled Masveh Moshe, introduced and annotated by Samuel b. Solomon Kohen, cantor in Brody (Dessau, 1699). In this last work R. Graf often criticizes the teachings of R. Moses Cordovero and his followers

 

Hebrew Description

שחבר ... ר' שמעון בן ... ר' דוד אבאיוב נר"ו מתושבי חברון ... ועשה סניף טהור לזרע קודש, שחב' ... המקובל ... ר' משה בן מה"רר מנחם [גראף] זצ"ל ... בת מלך ... מלא ...בירא' ה', ונמצא בו רמז שיעור קומה של שכינה עילאה ותתאה ... רפואות בדוקות לחולי נפש ...

ההסכמות ניתנו למהדיר על "ספר ... זרע קדש ... העיר ה' את רוח ... ר' שמעון ... אבאיוב הספרדי איש חברון להדפיסו עוד הפע' פה ק"ק (פרנקפורט דמיין) בתוספת ... נקרא בת מלך". לפי ח"ד פרידברג, תולדות הדפוס העברי בערים שבאירופה התיכונה, אנטוורפן תרצ"ה, עמ' 68, נדפס ספר "בת מלך" תחילה בפרנקפורט דמיין, בדפוס אנטון היינשייט, אך כל ההוצאה נשרפה בדליקה הגדולה שפרצה בגיטו היהודי ביום כד בטבת תע"א (15 בינואר 1711). ברם נראים הדברים, שבפרנקפורט נדפס רק "זרע קודש מצבתה" (מאת ר' משה גראף). חלק מהדפים של "זרע קודש" אכן אבדו בשרפה בפרנקפורט. שארית הספר הועברה לוויניציאה, שם הושלם הספר וצורף אל "בת מלך" (ואף נכרך עמו בהרבה טפסים).

הסכמות: ר' נפתלי הכהן, פרנקפורט דמיין, יג טבת תע"א;
ר' שמואל הכהן שאטין, פרנקפורט, טו טבת תע"א.

References

BE bet 1781, zayin 669; EJ; JE; CD-NLI 0176460