175
175

PROPERTY FROM THE ESTATE OF SHLOMO MOUSSAIEFF

Three Kabbalistic Works from the Circle of Rabbis Moses Zacuto and Benjamin ha-Kohen, [Italy: 17th century]
Estimate
10,00015,000
JUMP TO LOT
175

PROPERTY FROM THE ESTATE OF SHLOMO MOUSSAIEFF

Three Kabbalistic Works from the Circle of Rabbis Moses Zacuto and Benjamin ha-Kohen, [Italy: 17th century]
Estimate
10,00015,000
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Important Judaica

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Three Kabbalistic Works from the Circle of Rabbis Moses Zacuto and Benjamin ha-Kohen, [Italy: 17th century]
221 folios (7 3/4 x 5 1/2 in.; 198 x 140 mm) on paper; modern foliation (ff. 2-222) in pencil in Arabic numerals at lower-outer margin of recto; written in Italian Hebrew semi-cursive scripts (square script used as well on ff. 192r-203v) in brown ink; ruled in blind in outer margins; episodic vocalization; catchwords at foot of most versos on ff. 2-191 and of rectos and versos on ff. 192-222. Enlarged incipits; justification of lines via dilation of final letters, insertion of ornamental fillers, and use of anticipatory letters; periodic ornamental flourishes on individual letters; owner’s notation (“for the elevation of the soul of Rabbi Raphael...”) in an Eastern cursive hand on f. 2r at head; diagram on f. 100r; tapering text on ff. 123v, 138v-139r, 147r-v, 150r, 172v, 187r, 192r, 193v, 203v; section numeration in margins of ff. 205r-222v. Light dampstaining in upper and outer margins intermittently throughout; scattered staining and foxing (see esp. ff. 73-75); reinforced along gutter frequently throughout; some damage to outer edges of paper (ff. 92-94, 100, 187-191 frayed and chewed at lower corner); ink seeps through on several pages; paper repaired on ff. 9, 33, 38, 192-194; small tears in outer margin of ff. 28-30, 86 and at foot near gutter of ff. 83-84; ff. 163-171 bound out of order (current order: ...162, 168, 169, 170, 171, 163, 164, 165, 166, 167, 172...); ff. 205, 213-214 folded to preserve marginal text. Later calf, rebacked and moderately worn; modern flyleaves and pastedowns.
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Catalogue Note

This manuscript comprises three discrete units, each written on different paper and in a different hand, though all were most likely copied within the kabbalistic circle of Rabbi Moses Zacuto (ca. 1620-1697), one of the leading kabbalists of seventeenth-century Italy, and/or of his principal pupil, Rabbi Benjamin ha-Kohen of Reggio (1651-1730).

1. Ff. 2-191: This anonymous, alphabetically-arranged lexicon of fundamental terms emanating from the corpus of Lurianic Kabbalah is similar in form but not in content to Zacuto’s Erkhei ha-kinnuyim, published in parts by Meir Bikayam (d. 1769) in the latter’s Golel or (Izmir, 1737) and Me’ir bat ayin (Izmir, 1755). Although no other copy of the present work is known, it is likely that it originated in Zacuto’s and/or Benjamin ha-Kohen’s circle. The text is nearly complete, lacking only the first few leaves (until the middle of the letter bet), and includes numerous citations from Lurianic works like Mevo she‘arim (The Introduction to the Gates). The scribe of this unit is known to us from other texts that he copied in Italy in the middle of the seventeenth century.

2. Ff. 192-204: Rabbi Israel Sarug’s (late sixteenth-early seventeenth centuries) complete commentary on Rabbi Isaac Luria’s (1534-1572) zemirot (liturgical hymns) for each of the three Sabbath meals: Azammer bi-shevahin for Friday night (ff. 192r-200v), Asadder li-se‘udata for Sabbath morning (ff. 200v-202v), and Benei heikhala for Sabbath afternoon (ff. 202v-203v). Sarug was a kabbalist, likely of Egyptian origin, who propounded a unique version of Lurianic doctrine that differed in some important ways from the one disseminated by Rabbi Hayyim Vital (1542-1620). (It has been suggested that perhaps Sarug studied with Luria during the brief period before Vital joined the circle of Luria’s disciples and therefore learned an earlier version of their master’s teachings.) Sarug’s thought became particularly well known in Italy, where some of the most famous kabbalists of the day counted themselves among his pupils. His commentary on Luria’s Sabbath hymns was first published in Nowy Oleksiniec in 1767. This unit of the manuscript is also written in a seventeenth-century Italian hand on contemporary Italian paper.

3. Ff. 205-222: Seventy-nine principles of Kabbalah culled from the writings of Rabbi Hayyim Vital. As the chief disciple of Luria in sixteenth-century Safed, Vital was responsible for the formulation and circulation of many of the doctrines that would come to constitute the “official” corpus of Lurianic Kabbalah in later periods. This text, which exists in manuscript but has never been published, includes Zacuto’s comments in the margins (ff. 205r, 211r, 213v, 214v, 218r), usually preceded by the acronym mazalan (Mosheh zakkut, li nir’eh... [It seems to me, Moses Zacuto...]).

Literature

Ronit Meroz, “R. yisra’el sarug talmid ha-ari – iyyun mehuddash ba-sugyah,” Da‘at 28 (Winter 1992): 41-50.

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