View full screen - View 1 of Lot 177. BABYLONIAN TALMUD, TRACTATE ROSH HA-SHANAH, WRITTEN ON BEHALF OF RABBI JOSEPH OPPENHEIM, SCRIBE: DAVID TEVELE BEN JOSEPH, [HOLEŠOV, MORAVIA]: 1712.
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BABYLONIAN TALMUD, TRACTATE ROSH HA-SHANAH, WRITTEN ON BEHALF OF RABBI JOSEPH OPPENHEIM, SCRIBE: DAVID TEVELE BEN JOSEPH, [HOLEŠOV, MORAVIA]: 1712

Estimate:

15,000

to
- 20,000 USD

BABYLONIAN TALMUD, TRACTATE ROSH HA-SHANAH, WRITTEN ON BEHALF OF RABBI JOSEPH OPPENHEIM, SCRIBE: DAVID TEVELE BEN JOSEPH, [HOLEŠOV, MORAVIA]: 1712

BABYLONIAN TALMUD, TRACTATE ROSH HA-SHANAH, WRITTEN ON BEHALF OF RABBI JOSEPH OPPENHEIM, SCRIBE: DAVID TEVELE BEN JOSEPH, [HOLEŠOV, MORAVIA]: 1712

Estimate:

15,000

to
- 20,000 USD

BABYLONIAN TALMUD, TRACTATE ROSH HA-SHANAH, WRITTEN ON BEHALF OF RABBI JOSEPH OPPENHEIM, SCRIBE: DAVID TEVELE BEN JOSEPH, [HOLEŠOV, MORAVIA]: 1712


59 folios (4 7/8 x 3 in.; 123 x 76 mm) (collation: 1 + i-vii6, viii4, ix-x6) on paper; premodern foliation in pen in Hebrew characters in upper-outer corner of rectos; written in elegant Ashkenazic square (incipits and closing formula of chapters) and cursive (text body) scripts in brown ink; single-column text of twenty-one to twenty-five lines; margins occasionally ruled in blind; justification of lines via dilation or contraction of letters and use of anticipatory letters; horizontal catchwords at foot of each page; headers throughout; corresponding folio number of printed edition and Masoret ha-shas added in margins; insertion of parentheses in pencil on f. 36v. Title within ornamental archway decorated with vases, flowers, crowns, (grape)vines, and pairs of animals; initial word panel composed of five inhabited initials decorated with delicate tracery, flowers, (grape)vines, animals, and a human form; end of chapters decorated on ff. 33r, 40r; tapering text at end of chapters on ff. 48r, 58r-v. Original blind-tooled leather, scuffed and worn, especially around the edges; spine heavily worn, especially at head and tail; all edges gilt; original marbled paper flyleaves and pastedowns, worn and soiled. Housed in a modern brown quarter-leather folding case; spine in six compartments with raised bands; red lettering pieces with gilt title and date on spine.


A charmingly decorated miniature manuscript of the Talmudic text, with distinguished rabbinic provenance.


David Oppenheim (1664-1736), who served as Chief Rabbi first of Moravia and then of Prague and Bohemia, was a learned halakhist, gifted yeshiva dean, and munificent philanthropist. He was also one of the first great private Jewish collectors of antique Hebrew books and, as a supporter of Jewish scholarship, made his enormous library in Hannover available to fellow rabbis and researchers. Following his passing, his collection was put up for sale and was eventually purchased by the Bodleian Library in Oxford, where it constitutes the bulk of that institution’s rare Hebraica and Judaica holdings.


Oppenheim’s only son, Joseph (ca. 1690-1739), shared his father’s passion for Jewish scholarship and book collecting and indeed served as one of the library’s caretakers following his father’s death. In 1710 or 1712, after his Elul [5]467 (1707) marriage to Tolze, daughter of the wealthy Viennese court Jew Rabbi Samson Wertheimer, he became head of the rabbinic court and yeshiva dean in Holešov (Holleschau), an important Jewish community in Moravia, where he developed a reputation as a great Talmudist, preacher, and supporter of charitable causes. He served in these capacities until 1714, and by August 1719 (and possibly as early as 1714) he had relocated to Hannover, where he worked as an imperial court factor, financier, and banker until his premature passing twenty years later.


The present lot, a miniature handwritten copy of Tractate Rosh ha-Shanah featuring an elegantly ornamented title page and so-called inhabited initials making up the initial word panel, was created as a gift for R. Joseph Oppenheim by his scribe and cantor, David Tevele ben Joseph. Appropriately, the work is dated Monday, 25 Elul [5]472 (September 26, 1712)—just five days before Rosh Hashanah—using the chronogram li-ketivah tovah (for a good inscription [in the Book of Life]). The volume, which eventually passed to a presumptive relative (through marriage) of Glikl of Hameln, should be seen as part of the revival of luxury Hebrew manuscript production that took place in the eighteenth century, primarily in German lands and on behalf of affluent court Jews and their families (on which phenomenon, see also next lot).


Provenance

“This Talmud was given to me thoroughly as a gift by my ancestor, the grandfather of my mother my teacher, the famous, noble officer and scholar […] Sussman Gans, may his Rock and Redeemer keep him, and may God lengthen his days and years in goodness and pleasantness. // This Talmud belongs to the lad Yitshak Itsik, son of my master my father, the wondrous, exceptional, noble head and officer […] Rabbi Juspa Katz, may his Rock and Redeemer keep him, of Hamburg.” (flyleaf of upper board)


Literature

Glikl of Hameln, The Life of Glückel of Hameln, trans. Beth-Zion Abrahams (Philadelphia: The Jewish Publication Society, 2010), 35.


Selig Gronemann, Genealogische Studien über die alten jüdischen Familien Hannovers, 2 pts. (Berlin: Louis Lamm, 1913), 1:6, 77-79, 2:58-59.


Max Grunwald, “Handschriftliches aus der Hamburger Stadtbibliothek,” Monatsschrift für Geschichte und Wissenschaft des Judentums 40,9 (1896): 422-429, at pp. 426-428.


David Kaufmann, Samson Wertheimer, der Oberhoffactor und Landesrabbiner (1658-1724) und seine Kinder (Vienna: Friedrich Beck, 1888), 95-99.


David Kaufmann, Urkundliches aus dem Leben Samson Wertheimers (Vienna: Carl Konegen, 1892), 123-124 (no. IV).


M. Wiener, “Die Geschichte der Familie Oppenheim,” Magazin für jüdische Geschichte und Literatur 1,19 (September 18, 1874): 81-84, at p. 83.


Albert Wolf, “Etwas über jüdische Kunst und ältere jüdische Künstler,” Mitteilungen zur jüdischen Volkskunde 1,1 (n.s.) (1905): 1-58, at p. 36.

Slight scattered staining and dampstaining (see, e.g., ff. 39-40 and some folio numbers); minor tape repair at foot of flyleaf of upper board; small hole in title page, not affecting decoration; f. 18 reinforced along gutter; short tears in outer edges of ff. 40, 45; small repair in outer edge of f. 52.