Mizbe'ah ha-Zahav, R. Solomon of Meseritz, Basle 1602 (49801)

מזבח הזהב - Only Edition - Prayers to be said in times of plague

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Listing Details

Lot Number: 49801
Title (English): Mizbe'ah ha-Zahav
Title (Hebrew): מזבח הזהב
Note: Only Edition - Prayers to be said in times of plague
Author: R. Solomon ben Mordecai of Meseritz
City: Basle
Publisher: Konrad Waldkirch
Publication Date: 1602
Estimated Price: $3,000.00 USD - $5,000.00 USD
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Description

Physical Description

First edition. 44 ff., quarto, 189:137 mm., wide margins, light age and damp staining, old inscriptions. A good copy bound in contemporary marbled paper boards, spine split.

 

Detail Description

On the utility of the incense described in tractate Keritot and related prayers against plague by R. Solomon ben Mordecai of Meseritz. The title page has Waldkirch's ornate architectural frame with cherubim all about in various poses and below a decorative strip with figurines and in the middle a caduceus, that is, a hand-held staff with two entwined snakes and here a bird at the top. The versified text states that it is

good, beautiful, and beloved. "Give, give" (Proverbs 30:15) will say the buyer. The one who spends freely will be praised and not be ashamed. For how great is its value, to be scooped up. Aye, with the gold of Ophir is it to be valued. And it is a shield for his skin and his generation. "To save their souls" (cf. Psalms 33:19) "from the pit" (Lamentations 33:18,30). "At a time of wrath" (Bava Kamma 60b) and plague together on the cushion dust. "From the noisome pestilence" (Psalms 91:3) "in His wrath" (Job 2:2). It will protect you from the aforementioned. Take the sinner and put upon him ketoret (incense), repentance, prayer, and charity, that will go up as a rising column, very fine. He will help, shield, and save from all evil, and His truth, father to children, He will make known (cf. Isaiah 38:19).

There are approbations from R. Mordecai ben Abraham Jaffe (Levush, c. 1535 -1612), R. Solomon Ephraim Luntshits (1550-1619), Moses ben Abraham Mat of Przemysl (c. 1540-C. 1606), R. Joshua ben Alexander Falk (c. 1555-1614), R. Isaiah Horowitz (Shelah, c. 1565-1630), and R. Judah Leib ben Obadiah Eilenburg (Minhat Yehudah, 16th cent.). Solomon's introduction follows, in which he states that he entitled this work Mizbe'ah ha-Zahav,

for as the form of the mizbeah (altar) so is this small work. As the altar carries and bears the function of the ketoret so this work bears all the preparation of the ketoret taught in the baraita on tractate Keritot ... and as the altar held a small amount in quantity but of great value, so as our sages explained, on the thickness of but a gold dinar they were able to burn on it for centuries, evening and morning, without the gold being melted as wood is burned. So, too, this small but valuable work is appropriate to place by the menorah ha-zahav (golden menorah).

The text begins with prayers to be said after services in times of plague, with great concentration, set in a single column in vocalized Hebrew. These were arranged by R. Joseph ben Shraga of Argenta (d. 1508-1509) and printed previously in R. Abraham Jagel's Mosh'ah Hosim (Venice 1587), here with slight variations. Next are tehinot (supplicatory prayers), and at the end a lengthy conclusion in rabbinic type based on the Menorat Zahav of R. Solomon Luria (Maharshal c. 1510-1564). The volume concludes with verse in praise of the book forming acrostics of R. Solomon ben Mordecai's name. This is the only published work by R. Solomon ben Mordecai. An undated second edition of Mizbeah ha-Zahav is attributed in some bibliographies to Lublin.

 

Hebrew Description

([ביאור] סדרי פטום הקטורת השנוים בבריית’ דמסכת כריתות, [דף ו])... שחברו... ר’ שלמה יצ"ו בן כמהר"ר מרדכי זצל מתושבי ק"ק מעזריטש.

בראש הספר "סדר פטום הקטרת", שסגולה לאומרו בעת מגפה (מאת ר’ יוסף ב"ר שרגא מארג’ינטה. נדפס בספר מושיע חוסים מאת ר’ אברהם יגל ב"ר חנניה, ויניציאה שמ"ז. בנוסח שנדפס כאן יש שינויים).

דף ה,ב-ו: "תחינה... יסדתי לאומרה... לאחר פטום הקטורת בזמן הדבר". פותחת: אדון כל הנפלאות שומרינו מתחלואי תוצאות. אוצר השירה והפיוט, א, עמ’ 27, מס’ 545.

דף לט-מד: "חתימה". "והנה ראשו [של החיבור] ... מגיע ונסמך ... למנורה... שחיברה מ"ו ... ר’ שלמה לוריא [מנורת זהב, פראג שמ"א], כאשר כתבתי בהקדמת החיבור. ונתעוררתי לצרפו ולסומכו ג"כ לנירות דזכריה [פרק ד]".

בסוף שיר לסיום הספר "בסגנון מעוז צור". פותח: שור עניי ומרודי. שם, ג, עמ’ 438, מס’ 738.

 

References

17th Century Hebrew Book, Marvin Heller, pp 90-91; Bibliography of the Hebrew Book 1470-1960 #000303334