Iggeret Teiman, R. Moses ben Maimon (Rambam), Warsaw 1837 (49341)

אגרת תימן

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Listing Details

Lot Number: 49341
Title (English): Iggeret Teiman
Title (Hebrew): אגרת תימן
Author: R. Moses ben Maimon (Rambam)
City: Warsaw
Publisher: David ben Aryeh Leib Sklower, son-in-law of Joseph
Publication Date: 1837
Estimated Price: $200.00 USD - $500.00 USD
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Description

Physical Description

[2], 13 ff., octavo, 190:115 mm., wide margins, light age staining, stamps. A good copy not bound.

 

Detail Description

Famed response from Maimonides (Rambam) to the Jews of Yemen. Abd al-Nabi ibn Mahdi, the Shiite Arab ruler of Yemen, instituted a religious persecution, giving the Jews the choice of conversion to Islam or death. Not only did many succumb, but there arose among those Jews a pseudo-Messiah, or a forerunner of the Messiah who, seeing in these events the darkness before the dawn, preached the imminent advent of the Messianic Age. In despair the Jews of Yemen turned to Maimonides, who in c. 1172 answered their request with the Iggeret Teiman (al-Risala al-Yamaniyya). Iggeret Teiman is addressed to R. Jacob ben Nethanel al-Fayyumi, who had raised several questions, such as what was the significance of the community’s suffering; how should they respond to the convert who had become a missionary for Islam, the false messiah, and could the date of the Messiah’s coming be calculated. Maimonides responded to R. Jacob’s inquiry, eloquently but also simply. He requested that copies be sent to every community in Yemen. Deliberately couched in simple terms so, “that men, women, and children could read it easily,” he points out that the subtle attack of Christianity and Islam which preached a new revelation was more dangerous than the sword and than the attractions of Hellenism. As for the pseudo-Messiah, active in Yemen at the time, he was unbalanced and to be rejected. These trials were sent to prove the Jews. The effect of the letter was tremendous. In gratitude for the message of hope, combined with the fact that Maimonides also used his influence at court to obtain a lessening of the heavy burden of taxation on the Jews of Yemen, the Jews of Yemen introduced into the Kaddish a prayer for “the life of our teacher Moses ben Maimon.”

The volume has two title pages, the first with a decorative border, gives the title as Iggeret Teiman, called Petah Tikvah of the Rambam, followed by the verse, “Strengthen the weak hands, and confirm the feeble knees” (Isaiah 35:3). The second title page has significantly more detail about the Iggeret and has a Polish stamp, that is, the double headed eagle. There is also slight Polish text as to the work at the bottom of the page. There is an approbation from R. Solomon Zalman ben Izik Lipshitz of Posen. The text is in a single column in rabbinic type, excepting headers and initial words.

 

Hebrew Description

הנקראת פתח תקוה...

שני שערים. על-פי פראג תקנ"ג, עם הערותיו של ר' ישראל לאנדא. הסכמה: ר' שלמה זלמן ב"ר איצק [ליפשיץ] מפוזנן, ווארשא, כה סיון תקצ"ז. ניתנה לר' יעקב ב"ר אלעזר ב"ח מווארשא.

 

References

Chavel Kitvei Ramban 341; EJ; Halkin & Hartman Crisis and Leadership p. 91; JE; Vin Warsaw 113; Bibliography of the Hebrew Book 1470-1960 #000149899