Auction 78 Rare and Important Items
May 25, 2021
Israel
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LOT 16:

Tzedah LaDerech – First Edition – Ferrara, 1554

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Tzedah LaDerech – First Edition – Ferrara, 1554
Tzedah LaDerech, halachic composition on various topics, by R. Menachem son of Aharon ibn Zerach. Ferrara: Abraham ibn Usque: [1554]. First edition.
A comprehensive composition by R. Menachem ibn Zerach, a Spanish scholar in the 14th century and disciple of R. Yehuda son of the Rosh, covering all the year-round laws and customs. The lengthy preface contains many important details relating to the Tosafists and Rishonim and to the author's time. The author writes that his book is geared to "members of His Majesty the King's court… [who] due to the turbulences of the time and desire for luxuries… become lax in their fulfillment of Mitzvot…".
Usque's printer's device occupies the center of the title page: illustration of an astrolabe, set within a frame, together with various verses. The device was printed again on the final page, followed by the colophon: "And the work of G-d was completed, here in Ferrara, in the house of the exalted R. Avraham ibn Usque".
Ownership inscriptions on the title page: "Was allotted to me, Shmuel son of R. Yehuda [---]"; "From the Hekdesh funds of the late R. Yehuda Chaim Pesaro".
Censorship glosses and expurgations. Censors' signatures on final leaves, including the signature of censor Dominico Irosolimitano – a Jewish convert to Christianity, who became a notable censor of Hebrew books in Italy. He compiled Sefer HaZikuk (Book of Expurgation) intended for Christian censors of Hebrew books.
[14], 32, [3], 38-75, [212] leaves. Approx. 21 cm. Light-colored, high-quality paper. Condition varies. Most leaves in good condition. First and final leaves in fair condition. Stains. Extensive worming to first and final leaves, affecting text (including damage to engraved title page and printer's device on final leaf), repaired in part with paper (on title page and final leaf). Censorship expurgations. Several leaves with many expurgations, and tears from ink erosion. New, elegant leather binding. Slipcased.
In this copy, as in most copies, leaves 33-37 containing a commentary to Birkat HaMinim (blessing on the heretics), were omitted for censorship reasons, and replaced with three unpaginated leaves containing an abridged version (see article by Yitzchak Rivkind, Alexander Marx Jubilee Volume, New York, 1950, Hebrew vol., p. 416; and article by S. Hasida, Birkat HaMinim in Sefer Tzedah LaDerech, Moriah, Tishrei 2012, pp. 15-17). Regarding differences between various copies of this edition, see: Y. Sonne, Kiryat Sefer, VII, 1930-1931, p. 485.
Provenance: Valmadonna Trust Library.

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