Zohar ha-Raki'a; Ma'yan ha-Hokhmah, Lvov 1858; 1860 (49371)

זוהר הרקיע; מעין החכמה

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Listing Details

Lot Number: 49371
Title (English): Zohar ha-Raki'a; Ma'yan ha-Hokhmah
Title (Hebrew): זוהר הרקיע; מעין החכמה
Author: R. Simeon ben Zemah Duran; R. Noah Hayyim Zevi Berlin
City: Lemberg
Publisher: דפוס דוד צבי שרענצל; F. Galinski u. S. L. Flecker
Publication Date: 1858; 1860
Estimated Price: $300.00 USD - $600.00 USD
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Description

Physical Description

[25], 103 pp.; [1], 207 ff., quarto, 211:140 mm., usual light age and damp staining, wide margins. A very good copy bound in later boards, rubbed.

 

Detail Description

Zohar ha-Raki'a - Commentary to the Azarot of ibn Gabirol by R. Simeon ben Zemah Duran (Rashbatz, 1361–1444) was a rabbinic authority, philosopher, and scientist. He was born in Majorca to R. Zemah Astruc Duran. In his youth Simeon studied in Palma (Majorca) at the yeshivah of Ephraim Vidal, who was martyred in the year 1391, and in Aragon at that of R. Jonah Desmaestre , whose daughter he later married. Educated in accordance with the old Spanish method, he acquired a thorough knowledge of mathematics, astronomy, science, logic, and particularly medicine, which was to become his profession. After his return to Majorca, Simeon practiced as a physician and surgeon in Palma, and he seems to have been in comfortable circumstances. He was also highly esteemed as a rabbinic scholar and even his teacher Ephraim Vidal sought his advice. His prestige there can be gauged from the fact that 44 years after he had left the island he addressed a letter to the Jews of the island reproaching them for negligence in some religious practices and admonishing them to change their way of life. After the massacre of 1391 in which he lost all of his fortune, Simeon left Majorca for Algiers together with his father and family. Jews from other parts of Spain also immigrated to North Africa, and the arrival of the immigrants had a beneficial effect upon the native Jews there. It caused a revival of knowledge and scholarship, which had been neglected and was in a state of great decline. Spanish rabbis now became religious leaders of African communities. In Algiers the aged R. Isaac bar Sheshet was appointed chief rabbi and was also nominated a supreme judge of the Jews by the king. Simeon seems to have joined his bet din. Having lost all his fortune and being unable to earn his livelihood from his medical profession, since the native population resorted to superstitious practices rather than to medical help, he was forced to accept a salaried office of rabbi. As Maimonides had prohibited the acceptance of a salary for a rabbinical office, and since in Algiers only Maimonides' decisions were regarded as authoritative, Simeon later found it necessary to justify his action. The nature of Simeon's official activity during the lifetime of Isaac b. Sheshet can be seen from the following examples. In 1394 a commission to deal with matrimonial laws was appointed, consisting of Bar Sheshet, R. Isaac Bonastruc , a rabbi in Algiers, and Simeon, who was asked by the other members to draft the ordinances; his draft was accepted in its entirety. Originally intended for the Spanish immigrants, the ordinances were soon adopted by some of the native Jews as well and were authoritative for African Jewry for centuries. A ban against informers issued about that time was also signed by Bar Sheshet, Bonastruc, and Simeon. From the very fact that Simeon signed third, it is obvious that he was not assistant chief rabbi as some scholars believe (at least not at that time). Much has been written about the relationship between Bar Sheshet and R. Simeon. On the one hand Simeon respected the older rabbi, but on the other hand the latter bitterly complained of Simeon, who himself also confesses "I was childish and behaved impudently toward a rabbi who was very old and distinguished in learning" (Tashbeẓ, 1, no. 58). In view of this there can be no doubt that a certain tension had existed between the rabbis, the active party being Simeon. The reason for this animosity is not quite certain; it may have been the appointment of the chief rabbi which annoyed Simeon, who although much younger, regarded himself no less worthy of the post owing to his secular and rabbinical knowledge. It seems that R. Isaac bar Sheshet, being good-natured and peace-loving, succeeded in the course of time in dispelling the greater part of the unfriendly atmosphere. Soon after Bar Sheshet's appointment as judge by the king, Simeon wrote a responsum in which he tried to prove that such an appointment was not permitted, but he did not publish it (ibid., 162). Bar Sheshet often consulted Simeon on various matters, asking him to deal with them and to write responsa. After Isaac bar Sheshet's death (1408) Simeon was appointed chief rabbi (he himself says dayyan) with the request that his appointment not be confirmed by the king. (According to the report of the Algerian rabbis in the introduction to Tashbeẓ, R. Simeon's appointment already took place during the older man's lifetime.) During his period of office Simeon was very active. While he had to fight some practices not in accordance with Jewish religion current among the native Jews, he had to raise his voice against his own countrymen who criticized the doctrines of terefah and were lax in the observance of some commandments. As judge, Simeon was regarded as an undisputed authority, and interesting facts have become known of his legal proceedings. From various communities, questions were sent to him about religious and legal matters. He had to deal with the problem of the Marranos from the religious and legal points of view. Of his pupils only R. Abraham ha-Kohen Sholal is known by name, but he may have been his pupil when he was still in Majorca.

Bound with:

Ma'yan ha-Hokhmah - The 613 precepts in prose with a commentary. This work, unfinished by the Author, was completed by his brother Aryeh Loeb Berlin.

R. Noah Hayyim Zevi Berlin (1734–1802), was born in Fuerth and was the son of Abraham Meir Berlin, the communal leader of Franconia. He became a dayyan at Fuerth in 1764 and later served as rabbi in Bayersdorf and Bayreuth. In 1783 Berlin was appointed rabbi of Mainz and the surrounding district. His appointment was ratified by the prince elector. He established a yeshivah at Mainz, and lived there until 1799 when he succeeded R. Raphael ha-Kohen as the rabbi of the united communities of Altona, Hamburg, and Wandsbeck. R. Berlin showed skill and tact in uniting the various elements in these communities. Wolf Heidenheim was his most outstanding pupil. R. Berlin wrote Azei Almuggim (1779), a commentary on the hand-washing ritual, eruvei hazerot, and marriages forbidden by rabbinical enactment; Azei Arazim (1790), a commentary on the Shulhan Arukh, Even ha-Ezer. Two further works, Azei Besamim and Azei Levonah, remained unpublished. He wrote glosses to the tractates of Berakhot (1829), Shabbat (1832), and Shevuot. The last was published in the Vilna edition of the Talmud. There is a rational basis to his explanation of the halakhah, and he makes use of the Jerusalem Talmud.

 

Hebrew Description

זוהר הרקיע -  ... כולל משפטי תרי"ג מצות ע"פ אזהרות לרבינו שלמה בן גבירול ... עלה בדעתי להוציא הסגולה ... אורי זאב וואלף סאלאט בהמנוח מוהר"ר יחזקאל ...

עם הפנים של האזהרות.

 

מעין החכמה - נקוו אליו שש מאות ושלש עשרה מצות ... עם פירושיהם ושיעוריהם ודקדוקיהם, הכל בכתב ובשירים, מיד ... ר' נח חיים צבי זצלה"ה אב"ד ... אה"ו ... הוגה ... ע"י צעיר תלמידיו וואלף ב"ר שמשון ז"ל איש היידנהיים ...

ההסכמות ניתנו לאח המחבר, ר' ארי' ליב בערלין, אב"ד קאסל, המוציא לאור. תרי"ג מצוות ערוכות בחרוזים עם פירוש סביבן. הסכמות: ר' צבי הירש מזאמשט [באשקא], אלטונא, ח מרחשון תקס"ד; ר' משלם זלמן הכהן, פיורד, ז אב תקס"ג.

 ...הובא לביה"ד ע"י ... מוה’ לוי משה ני’ בהרב ... מוה’ מרדכי לאבין ז"ל ...

ההסכמות שבאו בדפוס הראשון; ר’ יוסף שאול הלוי נאטהנזאהן, לבוב, ו משפטים תר"ך.

 

References

Bibliography of the Hebrew Book 1470-1960 #000125575; 000114700; EJ; JE