176
176

PROPERTY FROM THE ESTATE OF SHLOMO MOUSSAIEFF

Sefer Berit Menuhah (The Covenant of Serenity), Attributed to Rabbi Abraham ben Isaac of Granada, [Eastern Europe?: late 17th-early 18th centuries]
Estimate
3,0004,000
LOT SOLD. 2,500 USD
JUMP TO LOT
176

PROPERTY FROM THE ESTATE OF SHLOMO MOUSSAIEFF

Sefer Berit Menuhah (The Covenant of Serenity), Attributed to Rabbi Abraham ben Isaac of Granada, [Eastern Europe?: late 17th-early 18th centuries]
Estimate
3,0004,000
LOT SOLD. 2,500 USD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Important Judaica

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New York

Sefer Berit Menuhah (The Covenant of Serenity), Attributed to Rabbi Abraham ben Isaac of Granada, [Eastern Europe?: late 17th-early 18th centuries]
[i], 1-79 = 80 folios (7 3/4 x 6 1/2 in.; 195 x 165 mm) (collation: i6, ii-vi8, vii12, viii-ix8, x6) on paper; contemporary and modern foliation in pen and pencil in Hebrew characters and Arabic numerals at upper-outer margin of recto; written in elegant Ashkenazic square (titles, incipits, and divine or angelic names) and semi-cursive (text body) scripts in dark brown ink; ruled in blind; intermittent vocalization of divine names; catchwords at foot of virtually every page; marginalia in hand of primary scribe throughout. Enlarged incipits and divine or angelic names; justification of lines via dilation of final letters and use of anticipatory letters and abbreviations; elaborately illustrated title page with remnants of green paint still visible; headers on ff. 1r-6r, 7r, 8r, 9r-10r, 13r-v, 22v, 23v, 24v, 52r; decorative section breaks on ff. 5r, 18v, 37v, 44v, 51r, 71r, 77r; diagrams on ff. 76v-77r; pen trials on f. 77v; added material from a different kabbalistic work on ff. 78r-79r. Slight dampstaining in upper margin throughout; outer corners slightly frayed or dogeared; margins shaved, slightly affecting header on f. 22v; periodic smudging or staining; individual worm tracks toward front of book, as well as in gutter at foot throughout, only minimally affecting text; title page lacking outer half and replaced in manuscript; paper repair in gutter at head of ff. [i]-1; ff. 1-2 lacking outer third and replaced in manuscript; small tear in gutter of f. 29 near foot; lower-outer corner of f. 56 lacking, with loss of some text; dampstaining in center of page on ff. 56r-58v; stain in outer quadrant of ff. 74r-76r; paper repair in outer margin of f. 76v. Quarter vellum boards; modern flyleaves and pastedowns; gilt title, author, and floral motifs on spine; gold-colored silk bookmark.


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Catalogue Note

Sefer berit menuhah, also known in some sources as Sefer ha-me’orot or Sefer ha-emunah, is an anonymous work composed in the last decade of the thirteenth or the beginning of the fourteenth century, most likely in southern Spain. (The mistaken attribution of this text to Rabbi Abraham ben Isaac of Rimmon [Granada] is apparently the result of the early confusion between this author’s Sefer ha-berit [as quoted by Rabbi Moses Botarel in his commentary on Sefer yetsirah] and the current composition.) A unique product of the theosophical-theurgic-ecstatic school of kabbalistic speculation, Sefer berit menuhah deals extensively with both theoretical (contemplation of the nature of God’s existence and emanation) and practical-magical (creation of a golem) kabbalistic themes, usually via discussions of various permutations and vocalizations of the Ineffable Name of God. The book was highly popular and influential from the fourteenth century onward and was greatly esteemed by the kabbalists of Safed, including Rabbis Moses Cordovero (1522-1570), Isaac Luria (1534-1572), and Israel Sarug (late sixteenth-early seventeenth centuries), as well as later figures like Rabbis Moses Hayyim Luzzatto (1707-1746) and Menahem Mendel of Shklov (d. 1827) and some of the early Hasidim.

The present manuscript is an elegant, complete copy of the book, with the text of part of the first three leaves filled in by hand by Obadiah ben Elijah Bezalel in Vilna in Kislev [5]637 (1876) based on a printed edition. The anonymous original scribe claims to have copied some kabbalistic material (ff. 78r-79r) from Rabbi Naphtali Bacharach’s (early seventeenth century) Emek ha-melekh (Amsterdam, 1648), a controversial book summarizing Lurianic kabbalistic theology that is based primarily on the works of Rabbis Hayyim Vital (1542-1620) and Sarug, but the text quoted here does not appear in the published edition or, indeed, in any other printed kabbalistic treatise. Probably not coincidentally, Bacharach himself quotes Sefer berit menuhah extensively in his own writing.

Provenance

Obadiah ben Elijah Bezalel (ff. 5r, 79r)

Literature

Oded Porat, Sefer berit ha-menuhah: mahadurah madda‘it u-mevo’ot (Bnei Brak: Hakibbutz Hameuchad; Jerusalem: Magnes Press, 2016).

Important Judaica

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New York