Even Sappir, R. Jacob Saphir, Lyck, Mainz 1866; 1874 (50497)

אבן ספיר - First Edition - Travel

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Listing Details

Lot Number: 50497
Title (English): Even Sappir, Part I & II
Title (Hebrew): אבן ספיר
Note: First Edition - Travel
Author: R. Jacob Saphir
City: Lyck, Mainz
Publisher: Rudolph Siebert
Publication Date: 1866; 1874
Estimated Price: $200.00 USD - $500.00 USD
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Description

Physical Description:

First edition. [10],  111 ff., [10], 237, [1] pp. octavo 201:125 mm., light age staining, nice margins. A very good copy bound in recent cloth over boards.

 

Detailed Description:   

First edition of the fascinating account of his travels in the lands of the east by R. Jacob Saphir. Printed in two parts, years apart, R. Saphir recounts in detail what he saw and encountered. Both parts have separate title pages and approbations. There is an introduction to the first part and a dedication to Matthias Strassen in the second part. This work is outstanding for its penetrating observations and lively and fluent style. It contains valuable information on the lives of the Jews and their customs during the 19th century in the Oriental countries, particularly in Yemen. Saphir was the first to discover Yemenite Jewry in its greatness. Saphir's lifelike descriptions depict the innermost parts of the home, the village, the merchant on his business premises, the craftsman in his workshop, the elementary school teacher and his education, the synagogue and the hakham mōri. He also notes important details on their customs at circumcisions and marriages, and the version of the prayers for weekdays and festivals. He was the first to publish various Yemenite poems, and his details on the Hebrew pronunciation and syntax employed by Yemenite Jews are also of importance. R. Jacob Saphir (1822–1885), writer and traveler; born in Oshmiany in the province of Vilna. Saphir's father, who was the shohet of the townlet, belonged to the Perushim – the disciples of Elijah b. Solomon Zalman, the Gaon of Vilna. In 1832 his parents immigrated to Erez Israel, settling at first in Safed. A year after their arrival his father died, and when the year of mourning was just ending, he lost his mother, too. In 1836 he fled to Jerusalem with many members of the Perushim community because of the pogroms which the Jewish population of Safed suffered at the time. Saphir was educated under the system of the disciples of the Gaon of Vilna, which prevailed in Jerusalem at the beginning of the Ashkenazi settlement there. In addition to his religious knowledge and a rhetorical mastery of the Hebrew language, Saphir also acquired a fundamental knowledge of spoken and literary Arabic, read the Koran, and was familiar with Latin script. He became a teacher at the Jerusalem talmud torah Ez Hayyim. He later became the scribe of the hevra kaddisha of the Ashkenazim and of the Perushim community. As scribe of the community, it was his task to write poems in honor of important visitors, such as Moses Montefiore when he visited Jerusalem in 1839. In 1857 he traveled to the Oriental countries as the emissary of the Perushim community, to raise funds for the construction of the great synagogue in the courtyard of the Hurvah of R. Judah Hasid and for the talmud torah. He at first intended to go to Egypt and Aden, and from there by sea to India, and was among the first to see the treasures of the Fostat Genizah, an account of which is found in his works. In Egypt he was defrauded of most of the money which was intended for his journey to India, and his financial plight brought him to Yemen. Endangering his life, he embarked on a small sailing craft for Jedda, the port of Mecca, and from there continued to Hodeyda, the port of San‘a, the capital of Yemen (beginning of 1858). He first thought of proceeding to Aden in order to enter the interior of Yemen by the Tariq al-Yaman ("Road of the South"), but lacking transport, he entered the interior by the road known as Tarīq al-Shām ("Road of the North"). After walking for three days along the desolate coastal plain (Tihāma) to the Harāz mountains, Saphir met the first Yemenite Jews, and when he reached the nearby town of Jirwāh, he was deeply impressed by them and their way of life, which he mentioned in a letter to Jerusalem. From there he went on to Hajara, Mudmar, Manākha, and Yafīd in the Hayma mountains. Near Yafīd all his possessions, including his credentials as an emissary, were stolen from him. From Yafīd he went to Qaryat al-Qābil in the vicinity of San‘a, where the Jews advised him not to visit San‘a because of the severe living conditions for the Jews which prevailed there during that period. In the meantime Saphir visited Shībam, where he celebrated Purim, and from there, by way of Kawkabān, he reached San‘a, staying there during the whole of Passover. With San‘a as his base, he visited ‘Amrān – spending Shavuot there – Hajjah, and Kuhlān, which was the northernmost place that he reached. To the east of San‘a, he visited Sa‘wān and Tan‘im. He stayed in Aden for more than a month and celebrated the Day of Atonement and Sukkot, sailing from there to India on Nov. 5, 1859. After traveling to India, Java, Australia, New Zealand, and Ceylon, Saphir once more returned to Aden, three years and four months later. On this occasion Saphir again thought of visiting the interior of Yemen, having become deeply attached to its Jews since his first visit; nonetheless, he refrained from doing this after hearing of the persecution of the Jews by the imām al-Mutawakkil. Saphir returned from Aden to Jerusalem by way of Jedda and Egypt (May 1863), after an absence of four years and ten months. Upon his return to Jerusalem he recorded his travels in Even Sappir. In 1869 Saphir was again sent to Egypt and the European countries, as emissary of the Bikkur Holim hospital of Jerusalem, and he was once more the emissary of the above institution in 1873 when he went to Russia. Upon his return to Jerusalem he continued to take an interest in Yemenite Jewry, and when he learned of the impostor who appeared as the pseudomessiah Shukr Kuhayl, he wrote an Iggeret Teiman ha-Shenit ("Second Epistle to Yemen") in which he warned the Jews of Yemen to beware of him (published Vilna 1873).

 

Hebrew Description:

יסבב אדמת חם >מסע מצרים< ים סוף, חדרי תימן, מזרח הודו... אוסטראליא (אשר חזיתי... ושמעתי במסעותי באורופא... בהוללאנד... ואמשטרדם)... מצב... אחינו... והמוצאות אותם מאז עד היום... ספורים וענינים תורנים וחקירות... וציוני... מצבות עתיקות והערות... ושירי קדש ובקשות... [מאת] יעקב ספיר הלוי מתושבי ירושלים... חלק א-(ג).

חלק א: יוצא לאור בפעם ראשונה ע"י חברת מקיצי נרדמים (שנה שניה, תרכ"ה-תרכ"ו). בספר גם תולדות המחבר, תיאור ספרים עתיקים (כתבי-יד) שראה בדרכו; ידיעות על היהודים באתיופיה; אגדות על יהודי חיבר, בני משה ועשרת השבטים; בירורים בהיתר שיבה למצרים, חקירה במניין השטרות, שירים ותפילות מפייטנים שונים בתימן וגם משירי המחבר.

הסכמות, בחלק א: ר' מאיר ליבוש מלבים, פאריס, תשרי תרכ"ה; ר' זלמן אולמאן ור' אליעזר איזידאר, פאריז, יג תשרי תרכ"ה; ר' שלמה מונק, פאריז, ב נובימביר 64[18]; שניאור ב"ר צמח זקש, פאריז, ג לך לך תרכ"ה; אברהם ב"ר אבא שמואל (פירקאוויץ) דמתקרי אבן רש"ף, ירושלים, א אדר-ב תרכ"ד. בספר ב: ר' אברהם אשכנזי, ראשון לציון, ירושלם, ח אדר-א תר"ל; ר' מאיר אויערבאך, ירושלם, כג כסלו תרל"ב.

חלק א: Lyck, מקיצי נרדמים, דפוס Siebert Rudolph, 1866.[10], קיא דף. בשער גם הפרט: בשנת ר'נ'י' ו'ש'מ'ח'י' [תרכ"ד!]. תיאור מסעו למצרים בשנת תרי"ח-תרי"ט, ים סוף ותימן. בתיאור המסע למצרים נכללו רשמים מנסיעתו השנייה, בשנת תרכ"ד. ספר ב: יכלכל בית עדן, הודו... סינגאפור... אוסטראליע... ציילאן, שיבת ירושלם. ונוסף... הערות רבות ... העתק מספר הללי וממחברת התיג'אן מתימן. מגנצא, בדפוסי ועל ידי יחיאל ברי"ל חתן המחבר, שנת ב'ר'ו'ך' א'ת'ה' [תרל"ד]. [10], רלז, [1] עמ'. לספר שני שער נוסף: ... Saphir Eben עמ' קמט-קנב: "משיח שקר", על יהודה בר שלום המכונה שוכר אל כחיל [הראשון] מצנעא, משיח שקר מתימן. נדפס תחילה בשם "חדרי תימן" ב"הלבנון", שנה א, תרכ"ג, גליון ו; שנית, בשם "החולם חלום בא עד הלום", שם, שנה ג, תרכ"ו, גליון 12, עמ' 184-182, ושלישית בראש ספרו "אגרת תימן השנית", תרל"ג, עמ' 5-3. כאן נדפס בהוספות. עמ' קעד-קצח: "דברי חפץ", על חילופי נוסחאות בכתבי היד שהביא עמו המחבר ממסעותיו. עמ' קצט-ריג: מספר הללי הסופר, מלאים וחסרים בתורה, מכתיבת יד. כולל חסרות ויתרות מחמישה חומשי תורה על סדר הפרשיות. עמ' ריד-רכז: "חרוזים" ו"מאמרים", שהעתיק מתנ"ך כתוב על קלף, אשר קנה בצנעא (עי' חלק א, דף קא,א). "ועל דעתי כולם או רובם הם מבן אשר" (משה בן אשר). כולל החרוזים "סדר סוד התורה" והמאמרים: סדר סוד התיבות; סדר קרי ולא כתיב; וזה פירוש כתיב ולא קרי; מספר השנים של ספרים; אלו הנביאים שנתנבאו על ישראל. עם הערות וציונים מאת ספיר. עמ' רכח-רלא: סדר הסדרים, העתק ממחברת התיגאן כ"י. בשולי העמודים מפוזרות הערות מאת יחיאל ברי"ל, חתן המחבר. (ספר ג): (על אדות היהודים בהוללאנד בכלל ואמשטרדם בפרט). [מגנצא?], חש"מ. [תר"ם?]. [2], כב עמ'. חלק זה לא נשלם בדפוס. ללא שער. מקום הדפוס והשנה של ספר ג לפי א"מ הברמן, הכל תלוי במזל אפילו ספר, ארשת, ג, תשכ"א, עמ' 118, מס' 55. עיין גם: י' י' ריבלין, ר' יעקב ספיר, מאזנים, יא, ת"ש-תש"א, עמ' 394-393, 399-398.

 

References:

BE alef 163; EJ; Bibliography of the Hebrew Book 1470-1960 #000154730