Segulah, R. Saadiah b. Joseph Gaon, Jerusalem 1940's (50553)

סגולה נוראה על כל צרה שלא תבא - Kabbalah

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Listing Details

Lot Number: 50553
Title (English): Segulah
Title (Hebrew): סגולה נוראה על כל צרה שלא תבא
Note: Kabbalah
Author: R. Saadiah b. Joseph Gaon
City: [Jerusalem]
Publisher: דפוס רפאל חיים הכהן
Publication Date: 1940's
Estimated Price: $200.00 USD - $500.00 USD


Physical Description

Page 296:190mm., quarto, light age staining, creased on folds.


Detailed Description   

Single page containing text that serves as a kemai (amulet) and supplication to be recited at the Kotel.

Amulets are frequently mentioned in talmudic literature. The term used is kame'a or kami'a (pl. kemi'ot or kemi'in), a word whose origin is obscure. It is possible that it derives from a root meaning "to bind" (cf. Rashi to Shab. 61a), but it might come from an Arabic root meaning "to hang." In either case, the reference is clearly something that is bound or hung on the person (cf. Kohut, Arukh, 7 (19262), 123). The Talmud mentions two sorts of kemi'ot: a written one and the kame'a shel ikrin, a kame'a made from roots of a certain plant. The written kame'a was a parchment inscribed with one or more quotations from a variety of sources, including the Scriptures (cf. Shab. 61b). The question arose whether the amulets were invested with the holiness of the scriptural scrolls and whether they should, therefore, be saved from a conflagration occurring on the Sabbath. A baraita is quoted which specifically states that they are not holy and that they, together with other texts which contain scriptural quotations (lit. berakhot), should be left to burn (ibid.). In the original Tosefta text, however, no mention is made of kemi'ot (Tosef. Shab. 13:4).

R. Saadiah b. Joseph Gaon (882–942), greatest scholar and author of the geonic period and important leader of Babylonian Jewry. Saadiah was born in Pithom (Abu Suweir), in the Faiyum district in Egypt. Little is known about his family except that his opponents slandered his father because he was not a scholar and earned his living from manual labor. Perhaps there is some truth to his opponents' claim that his father was banished from Egypt and died in Jaffa, but no reason for this expulsion is given. It is noteworthy that Sherira Gaon refers to Saadiah's father with respect (Iggeret Rav Sherira Ga'on, ed. by B.M. Lewin (1921), 112). The information given on the members of his family, apart from his wife and children, is mere speculation. While there is no doubt that in his youth he already displayed outstanding talents both as an author and in communal activity, there is scant information about his teachers, whether in Jewish studies or in Greco-Arabic philosophy. The Arab writer Mas'udi states that when Saadiah was in Ereẓ Israel, he studied under Abu Kathir Yaḥya b. Zechariah al-Katib of Tiberias. However, earlier than that, when he still lived in Egypt, he had already written two books (see below) and corresponded with R. Isaac b. Solomon Israeli of Kairouan. It is therefore certain that when he left Egypt he was already a learned scholar of Torah and secular sciences, and had left behind many disciples. There is no information about him between the years 905, when he wrote his responsum to Anan (see below), and 921; nor are the reasons for his departure from Egypt clear. From a fragment of a letter written in the summer of that year it is known that he was then in Aleppo, from where he proceeded to Baghdad, and, as stated above, it is known that he had been in Ereẓ Israel.


Hebrew Description