188
188
Pinkas Hevrat Derekh ha-Hayyim (Register of a Mutual Aid Society), Jerusalem: 1885
Estimate
6,0008,000
LOT SOLD. 6,875 USD
JUMP TO LOT
188
Pinkas Hevrat Derekh ha-Hayyim (Register of a Mutual Aid Society), Jerusalem: 1885
Estimate
6,0008,000
LOT SOLD. 6,875 USD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Important Judaica

|
New York

Pinkas Hevrat Derekh ha-Hayyim (Register of a Mutual Aid Society), Jerusalem: 1885
154 folios (13 3/8 x 8 in.; 340 x 203 mm) on paper; contemporary foliation (ff. 1-156; count skips ff. 79, 82) in purple ink in Arabic numerals at upper-outer margin of recto; written in clear, elegant Ashkenazic square and semi-cursive (Rashi) scripts in black ink; ruled in blind; intermittent vocalization of selected words. Enlarged titles and incipits; justification of lines via dilation of letters; embellished with numerous gold- and copper-colored hand-stamped decorative elements; ornamental flourishes on some letters; two decorated title pages with text illuminated in shell gold; purple- (and gold-) colored borders on ff. 1r-15r, 18r. Slight scattered staining; light foxing; thumbing; some ink chipped (e.g., f. 126r); small tear repaired on f. 1; small tears in outer edges of ff. 3-5, 8, 13, 15-19, 155; paper repairs on ff. 19r, 81r, 84r; staining in gutter at head of ff. 99v-100r. Contemporary mottled green calf binding paneled gilt; red leather lettering piece with title lettered gilt on upper board; red wax seal of the society affixed to inside of lower board; contemporary flyleaves and pastedowns.
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Catalogue Note

Hevrat Derekh ha-Hayyim was a mutual aid society originally founded in Jerusalem on Tuesday, 21 Tevet 5632 (January 2, 1872) by a group of workers who wished to study and pray together. Over time, the society grew to the point that it could hire a rabbi, rent the old beit midrash (study hall) of Rabbi Hayyim ibn Attar (1696-1743), and establish funds that would distribute charity and give loans to needy members of the hevrah. With the expansion of its activities, the society began collecting donations from Jews living in the Diaspora, particularly in America and Britain.

This beautifully illuminated and calligraphed manuscript pinkas (register) records the mission statement (ff. 4r-11r) and ten new bylaws (ff. 12r-14r) of the hevrah in 5645 (1885), thirteen years after its founding, when it began raising funds to build houses in Jerusalem for society members who could not afford the costs on their own. To this end, collectors living abroad were appointed to subscribe local Jews as members of the hevrah and to then transfer the money received to the society’s headquarters in Jerusalem. Both documents were written in Hebrew and translated into a highly Germanic register of Yiddish. The Hebrew versions were stamped with three of the society’s stamps and signed by hand by Rabbi Jacob Zevi Neuman (d. 1889), formerly the av beit din (chief rabbinic justice) of Uherské Hradiště (present-day Czech Republic); Rabbi Lipa Meir Wigolek (d. 1932), maggid (preacher) of the hevrah; an accountant; and three other officers.

Membership in the society was open to men and women, old and young, and indeed this pinkas features separate men’s (ff. 18r-98v) and women’s (ff. 99r-142v) sections, both of which list alphabetically by first name (usually on two to four pages per letter) all the members of the hevrah who had paid their dues. At the rear (ff. 143r, 155v, and 156v) appear accounts of donations sent by the representatives of the society in Manchester, England, in the years 5648-5650 (1888-1890), as well as a record noting that the aforementioned representatives had decided that as of Elul 5649 (1889) they would split the money collected equally between Hevrat Derekh ha-Hayyim and the members of a different Jerusalem-based group, the Kolel Suwałki-Łomża.

Provenance

Lipa Meir Wigolek (front flyleaf)

Literature

Jacob Goldmann, “Hashkafah kelalit al matsav b[enei] y[isra’el] be-er[ets] ha-k[odesh], ve-al korot yishuv ha-arets ba-avar u-ba-hoveh,” Ha-asif 3 (1886): 69-98, at p. 74.

Jacob Goldmann, “Mif‘alei ha-tov ve-ha-hesed bi-yerushalayim,” Ha-asif 4 (1887): 17-40, at p. 35.

Important Judaica

|
New York