View full screen - View 1 of Lot 60. MAHZOR (FESTIVAL PRAYER BOOK) FOR SUKKOT ACCORDING TO THE RITE OF AVIGNON, SCRIBE: DAVID TSOREF OF VERONA, [AVIGNON]: 1721.
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MAHZOR (FESTIVAL PRAYER BOOK) FOR SUKKOT ACCORDING TO THE RITE OF AVIGNON, SCRIBE: DAVID TSOREF OF VERONA, [AVIGNON]: 1721

Estimate:

8,000 - 12,000 USD

MAHZOR (FESTIVAL PRAYER BOOK) FOR SUKKOT ACCORDING TO THE RITE OF AVIGNON, SCRIBE: DAVID TSOREF OF VERONA, [AVIGNON]: 1721

MAHZOR (FESTIVAL PRAYER BOOK) FOR SUKKOT ACCORDING TO THE RITE OF AVIGNON, SCRIBE: DAVID TSOREF OF VERONA, [AVIGNON]: 1721

Estimate:

8,000 - 12,000 USD

Lot sold:

32,760

USD

MAHZOR (FESTIVAL PRAYER BOOK) FOR SUKKOT ACCORDING TO THE RITE OF AVIGNON, SCRIBE: DAVID TSOREF OF VERONA, [AVIGNON]: 1721


223 pages (15 1/2 x 10 3/4 in.; 392 x 272 mm) (collation: i11 [i1 removed], ii-viii12, ix7 [ix8 removed]) on paper; original foliation in pen in Hebrew characters in upper-outer corner of recto (f. 97 repeated); modern pagination in pencil in Arabic numerals in center at foot; written in elegant Italian (Provencal?) square (text body) and semi-cursive (Kaddish and rubrics) scripts in dark brown ink; single-column text of twenty-seven lines per page; ruled in blind (prickings visible in inner and outer margins); justification of lines via dilation or contraction of final letters, use of anticipatory letters, and insertion of space fillers; biblical and liturgical texts (other than Kaddish) vocalized; headers; (decorated) catchwords at foot of most pages; intermittent corrections and insertions in hand of primary scribe; marginalia in a later hand on pp. 41-42. Enlarged incipits; title within magnificent architectural frame with patron’s name (subsequently erased) inscribed in escutcheon at foot; many piyyutim laid out ornamentally; embellished initial word panels on pp. 3, 144, 193; decorative elements on pp. 53, 144, 150, 172, 193, 221, 223; willow leaves (?) found on pp. 156-159, 168-169, a section headed le-yom aravah. Scattered staining and dampstaining; foxing; lower-outer corners sometimes dogeared; small holes on pp. 103-104, 169-170, not affecting text; minor worming at foot of pp. 135-210; short tears in lower edges of pp. 141-142, 171-172, 197-204. Original brown leather, bumped, scratched, and worn; spine in six compartments with raised bands; gilt designs in each compartment; shelf mark lettered in gilt in bottom-most compartment; tailband exposed; original paper flyleaves and pastedowns; Sassoon bookplate on pastedown of upper board.


An elegantly penned prayer book.


Jewish presence in Avignon dates back to the Talmudic period, though a community per se is first attested from the twelfth century. Culturally, linguistically, and religiously, Avignonese Jewry was straightforwardly Provencal, but because the city was sold to the pope in 1348, it was politically distinct. As a result, together with another papal territory, the immediately adjacent Comtat Venaissin, Avignon served as a safe haven for Jews when they were expelled from the rest of Provence in 1498-1501. From that point, Avignon and three Comtat cities—Cavaillon, Carpentras, and L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue—became the last bastions of authentic Provencal minhag.


For all their similarities, though, there were some important differences between the liturgical rites of Avignon and the other communities, mainly in connection with the piyyutim (liturgical poetry) each recited, which necessitated that they use separate prayer books. The first attempt to publish the minhag of Carpentras was undertaken in Amsterdam between 1739 and 1762; this was followed by a series of Avignon-rite prayer books issued between 1763 and 1767 in Amsterdam and Avignon. The latter, however, did not include a volume for the three pilgrimage festivals, and even when this eventually appeared in Aix in 1855, it did not reproduce all of the traditional Avignonese piyyutim.

The present lot, a folio-sized mahzor for Sukkot according to the rite of Avignon, was masterfully copied by David ben Solomon Tsoref of Verona in 1721. Tsoref’s beautifully written and artistically decorated liturgies have survived in at least ten other exemplars located in libraries in Cavaillon, Jerusalem, London, New York, Oxford and Sde Eliyahu. He is known to have been active between 1695 and 1741, but was particularly productive in the years 1720-1722. The Sassoon volume is noteworthy for its many piyyutim (some published from this manuscript), as well as several interesting prayer formulas, such as the morning blessing she-asani yehudi and the mi she-berakh supplications for the pope and his officers.


Literature

Benjamin Richler, “Ketuvei-yad ivriyyim she-nitpatselu,” Asuppot 1 (1987): 105-158, at p. 143 (no. 96).


Cecil Roth, “The Liturgies of Avignon and the Comtat Venaissin,” Journal of Jewish Bibliography 1,4 (July 1939): 99-105.


David Solomon Sassoon, Ohel Dawid: Descriptive Catalogue of the Hebrew and Samaritan Manuscripts in the Sassoon Library, London, 2 vols. ([Oxford]: Oxford University Press; London: Humphrey Milford, 1932), 1:xxx-xxxi, xlv, 2:831-833 (no. 1024).


Zosa Szajkowski, “Yehudim be-arba ha-kehillot shel ha-proventsiyah ha-appifyorit bi-derom tsarefat: bibliyyogerafyah shel sefarim, hoverot u-mismakhim mudpasim me-ha-me’ah ha-17 ad tehillat ha-me’ah ha-19,” Kiryat sefer 32,2-3 (1957): 205-210, 349-356, at pp. 209-210.


Dov Yarden, “E-l e-lohei ha-ts-eva’ot yoshev ha-keruvim,” Ha-boker 30 (9569) (September 27, 1964): 4.


Leopold Zunz, Catalog werthvoller hebräischer Handschriften (Berlin: Druck von Kornegg’s Buchdruckerei, 1850), 16 (Codd. 37-40).

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