SEFER KOL BO (HALAKHIC COMPENDIUM), RIMINI: GERSHOM SONCINO, [CA. 1520]
164 folios (11 5/8 x 8 1/4 in.; 295 x 208 mm) (collation: i4, ii-xiv6, xv8, xvi-xxvi6, xxvii8) on paper. Title within an elaborate woodcut border; printer’s device on title page; enlarged woodcut letters on ff. [1r, 5r]; intermittent marginalia in pen. Slight scattered staining; minor worming in gutters, mostly repaired; small repairs in edges of some leaves; ff. [1-4, 13-14, 164] remargined, with slight loss of border on f. [1r]; remnants of library stamp on f. [4v]. Early elaborately blind-tooled morocco, scratched, cracked, and worn around edges and on spine; headband repaired; spine in four compartments with raised bands; two paper tickets with title written in pen attached to spine, one of them almost completely lost; modern paper flyleaves and pastedowns.
Written at the end of the thirteenth or beginning of the fourteenth century, Sefer kol bo contains one hundred forty-eight chapters dealing with blessings, prayer, the synagogue, Sabbaths, festivals, marriage, monetary matters, forbidden foods, and mourning; it also includes one of the earliest commentaries on the text of the Passover Haggadah. The identity of the author remains unknown, though scholars have long discerned a close relationship between this work and the Sefer orhot hayyim of Rabbi Aaron ben Jacob ha-Kohen of Lunel. Identical language in the two books caused Rabbi Joseph Caro (1488-1575) to suggest that Sefer kol bo is an abridged version of the latter tract. Some, however, have proposed the opposite: that Sefer kol bo is really an earlier draft of the more expansive and more fully-developed Sefer orhot hayyim. The present lot is a copy of the third edition of the treatise, printed using a different manuscript or manuscripts from the previous two (Italy, ca. 1490; Constantinople, 1519).
In 1519, Gershom Soncino began publishing in Rimini where, in order to attract the Hebrew printing trade, the municipality had offered him a prime location and favorable terms. It has been suggested that his sojourn in the city inspired the illustration found on the title page of this edition, the Tower of Rimini, flanked by the verse: “The name of the Lord is a tower of strength to which the righteous man runs and is safe” (Prov. 18:10).
Mattithiah ben Rahamim (f. [1r])
Asher Rabibo (f. [164r])
Solomon ben Judah [...] Constantinople [...] the year 53[...] (f. [164v])
A.M. Habermann, Ha-madpisim benei soncino: toledoteihem u-reshimat ha-sefarim ha-ivrim she-nidpesu al yedeihem (Vienna: David Fraenkel, 1933), 63 (no. 79).
Chaim and Betzalel Stefansky, Sifrei yesod: sifrei ha-yesod shel ha-sifriyyah ha-yehudit ha-toranit (n.p.: Chaim and Betzalel Stefansky, 2019), 74 (no. 246).
Vinograd, Rimini 7