Auction 3 1st Anniversary Auction - Important Hebrew Books | Manuscripts
By Royal Auction House
Jan 17, 2022
1555 Route 37, Toms River, NJ 08755, United States

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LOT 50:

Rare: Chamisha Chumshei Torah with Sifsei Chachamim Commentary, Dyhernfurth 1693. Exceedingly Rare Second Edition ...

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Rare: Chamisha Chumshei Torah with Sifsei Chachamim Commentary, Dyhernfurth 1693. Exceedingly Rare Second Edition Printed by the Author.

Presented here is the exceedingly rare Dyhernfurth edition of the Torah, published alongside the classic super-commentary Sifsei Chachamim in 1693. It was written by 17th century scholar and Chazzan R. Shabsai Meshorer-Bass, and has been well received ever since. Due to its immense popularity, it has been incorporated as a standard text in almost all Chumashim printed in the last two centuries. The printers, however, shortened the commentary so as not to take up space; thus a large portion was omitted from print. 

First printed in Amsterdam in 1680, this edition was reprinted by the author himself at his very own printing press in 1693 with many additions and corrections. In the introduction, he relates that due its immense popularity all copies were sold out and not a single one was left. A second print run was necessary, so in 1690 he traveled to Amsterdam to make arrangements for printing. Upon arriving, to his utter dismay he learned that the printers’ license had already been awarded to another printer, leaving him with no recourse. (A printers’ license is akin to a modern-day patent which lasted for about six years. This ensured that the work would not be reproduced or reprinted by anyone else besides the license holder). With no other alternative, he felt compelled to purchase the official license for himself to ensure nobody else would print his work. This license is predominantly displayed on pp. 2 of this work, dated February 6, 1688. Ultimately, this work was printed in Dyhernfurth at the author’s very own printing press. Why he established his own press is unknown, although seldom do we find the author more involved in the printing of the second edition than the first edition. 

Printed with Rashi and Targum Onkelos, in addition to the Sifsei Chachamim commentary. Also with Haftorahs and Chomesh Megillos, with a separate title page for each. First title page features a copper engraving of Moses and Aaron alongside a Menorah. At the bottom we find music notes, presumably since the author was a composer and Cantor of Prague’s Altneu Synagogue. A large Menorah is seen on pp. 2, not found in the first edition. Many additional portions of text were also added and indicated as such by small hands throughout. 

Seen on the title page to Chomesh Megillos and Haftorahs are beautiful woodcuts of a Turkey and a Peacock, as well as an additional woodcut featuring the author himself (!) with the words “Yode’ah Nagen” (lit. “knows how to sing”), holding what appears to be accordion with his musical notes. See also: Yaari, Hebrew Printers’ Marks 77a. This is perhaps the only Hebrew book with a woodcut of it’s author. 

A complete copy such as this is exceedingly scarce and important. Only two complete copies are known to exist worldwide, in contrast to the 20 libraries which possess copies of the first Amsterdam edition; clearly no match for the scarcity of this edition. Prestigious libraries such as Oxford’s Bodelian library and the National Library of Israel do not possess complete copies. As such, this edition is far more important than the first edition, especially when considering the author’s involvement with the printing.

Bound in original wooden binding; original clasp intact. In overall very good condition. Stains seen on some leaves, sometimes very dark stains. Previous owners’ inscriptions seen on flyleaf.

[5], 368 pp. (Mispaginated). 

Vinograd, Dyhernfurth 33.

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