Lot 5: ABUDRAHAM, DAVID BEN JOSEPH
November 14, 2013
New York, NY, USALive Auction
Abudraham [commentary to the prayers]. FIRST EDITION. Printed in double columns. With diagrams of the Temple altar in Jerusalem on ff. 23r. -24v. and calendric tables of "Moladoth" on ff. 134r., 137, 139v.-140r. Scattered marginalia in a Sephardic hand. ff. (169 of 170). f. 1 in facsimile, some text missing on ff. 2-3 replaced in facsimile. Several ff. paper repaired (especially final leaf laid to size), slight worming repaired, clean tear on f. 162 neatly taped, some staining, (pencil marking of leaf numbers erroneous.) Previous owner's signature on verso of final leaf "Yitzchak Ibn Lebo." Modern elegantly tooled morocco, with matching fitted case. Folio. Vinograd, Lisbon 4; Goff 36; Goldstein 92; Offenberg 1; Steinschneider, p. 859, no. 4784, 1 "Expl. Perfectum Rariss."; Thes. B19; Wineman Cat. 57. Not in Cambridge University; Roest p. 296 (also lacking first leaf); Yeshiva University copy incomplete (See G. Cohen, Hebrew Incunabula...Yeshiva University no.1).
• THE SECOND BOOK PRINTED IN LISBON. A Wide-Margined Copy.
An invaluable encyclopedia concerning the ritual customs of Spain, France, Provence and Germany.
David ben Joseph Abudraham of Seville wrote this liturgical commentary in 1340. He was motivated to write the work in response to contemporary liturgical confusion: "The lengthy exile and intensive persecution have led to a variety of customs in different kingdoms so that most ordinary folk, when they offer their prayers to God, are ignorant about their meaning and have no understanding of the sense and structure of liturgical practices." Abudraham's work accordingly not only provides clear rules, but devotes much space to the reasons behind many customs, as well as commenting on the text of the prayers and piyutim. The work offers commentary to all daily, Sabbath, monthly, Festival and fast-day prayers, also provides guidance on lectionaries, the calendar, as well as an extensive treatise upon the various benedictions. See S. C. Reif, Judaism and Hebrew Prayer (1993), pp. 204-5.
"Of all the [incunable] Hebrew presses that flourished in the Iberian Peninsula, that of Lisbon - the last of them all - was typographically the best equipped and most successful." See J. Bloch, Early Hebrew Printing in Spain and Portugal (1938) pp. 32-3.
The opening leaf of this first edition is especially rare and is lacking in many copies. Indeed, Brad Sabin Hill states, [Incunabula, Hebraica & Judaica from the Jacob M. Lowy Collection, National Library of Canada (1981) no. 92] "this may be the only complete copy in the world."
Lisbon, Eliezer (Toledano), 1489.