View full screen - View 1 of Lot 36. A Polish Silver "Sfat" Beaker, 1877, the Engraving dated 1889.

A Polish Silver "Sfat" Beaker, 1877, the Engraving dated 1889

Auction Closed

December 15, 09:26 PM GMT


3,000 - 5,000 USD

Lot Details


A Polish Silver "Sfat" Beaker, 1877, the Engraving dated 1889

engraved with scenes of Jerusalem and Holy Sites, and extensive Hebrew inscriptions

Height 2¾in. (7 cm)

Around the upper lip: “A gift to the benefactor Señor Nissim Bey Mosseri, may God keep and save him, made with the money donated for the hadlakah of the Godly tanna Rabbi Simeon bar Yohai, may his merit protect us, amen.”

Around the lower edge: “From me, the humble Abraham Jacob Antebi, may God keep and save me, from the Holy City of Safed, may it be rebuilt and reestablished quickly, in our days, amen, in the year 5649 [1889].”

In the middle, scenes from holy sites in the Holy Land: “The Western Wall,” “The Cave of Machpelah,” and “The Courtyard of Rabbi Simeon bar Yohai and his son Rabbi Eleazar, may their merit protect us, amen.”

Nissim Mosseri (1848-1897) was an important Egyptian Jewish banker and philanthropist based in Cairo. Rabbi Abraham Jacob Antebi (1859-1923), scion of a prominent rabbinic family with roots in Aleppo, Syria, was born in Safed. According to his son Ephraim’s memoirs, Abraham Jacob became a regular at the Mosseri home when he moved to Cairo in 1891 to seek work.

The hadlakah mentioned above refers to a custom connected with the annual pilgrimage to the graves of the great Rabbi Simeon bar Yohai and his son Rabbi Eleazar in Meron, near Safed, on Lag ba-Omer (18 Iyyar), traditionally observed as the anniversary of Rabbi Simeon’s death. Israel ben Joseph Benjamin (Binyamin ha-Sheni; 1818-1864), author of a famous travelogue, explains this custom as follows: “To increase the joy of the holiday [18 Iyyar], they light many candles; in particular, they kindle a large vessel containing one hundred measures of pure olive oil… Kindling this vessel, known as hadlakah de-rabbi shim‘on, is considered a great mitzvah, and the honor is sold for large sums. Lighting the smaller candelabras is referred to as hadlakah de-rabbi eli‘ezer.”



Israel ben Joseph Benjamin, Sefer mas‘ei yisra’el, trans. David Gordon (Lyck: Zvi Hirsch Fetzoll, 1859), 8.


Elioz Antebi Hefer, “R. avraham ya‘akov antebi,” available at