The Mishneh Torah, Maimonides (Moses Ben Maimon), with Hagahot Maimuniot and Teshuvot Maimuniot of Meirha-Kohen, Northern Italy, circa 1457-1465 Estimate: 4,500,000-6,000,000 USD.
JERUSALEM - Landing in Israel at this time of year, one is overwhelmed by waves of perfume that waft across the highway as one speeds away from airport. The flowering orange blossoms make for a spectacular welcome.
As we set up our highlights exhibition early on Wednesday morning in the elegant Reading Room of the King David Hotel, we relished the Egyptian revival décor with its abstract painted ceiling. For the next two and half days we were on our feet answering questions and sharing insights into the 25 items on display—a small taste of the almost 400 items which will be on view for 5 days in New York prior to the .
A decorated Ketubbah from Venice, 1716. Estimate: 50,000-70,000 USD.
The exquisite Mishneh Torah of Maimonides, created around 1457 in Northern Italy, attracted constant attention. One young teenager, accompanied by his father, pointed out that there was a “mistake” on the illustration for the book of Judges, Shofetim, to which the book was opened. A Jewish court usually consists of three judges, but always an uneven number to avoid a split decision. How come there were four judges in this picture instead of three, the student asked? Of course, he was perfectly correct; our assumption is that in this case the non-Jewish illuminator took the liberty of adding an extra judge because it suited his composition.
A rare English silver 'Lord Mayor's Dish,' presented to Sir George Thorold, Mayor of London in 1719, by the congregation of Bevis Marks, Robert Hill, London, 1719 Estimate: 400,000-600,000 USD.
Later that same day I was surprised to find a visitor reciting a blessing over the book. I had not caught the words, and asked him what he had said. He replied that he had made a Shehecheyanu, a blessing from the Talmud, which is recited on special occasions. It is also said to express gratitude for new and unusual experiences. This visitor said that he was so moved by the beautiful book that he wanted to offer the blessing: “Blessed are You, Lord our God, Ruler of the Universe, who has granted us life, sustained us and enabled us to reach this occasion.”