Auction 69 Part 1 Rare and Important Items
Tuesday, 3.12.19, 17:00 (Your local time)
Israel
 8 Ramban St, Jerusalem.

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LOT 35:

Avot Olam – Venice, 1719 – Copy of the Ramchal

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Start price:
$ 15,000
Estimated price:
$20,000-40,000
Auction house commission: 23%
VAT: On commission only
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Avot Olam, commentary to Tractate Avot (including the text of the Mishnah), by R. Binyamin HaKohen – the Rabach. Venice, 1719.
Fine, wide-margined copy, which belonged to the Ramchal. On the leaf following the title page, calligraphic signature: " Moshe Chaim son of R. Yaakov Chai Luzzatto".
The design of this signature in Italian-Sephardic script resembles that of the calligraphic signature of R. Yisrael Binyamin Bassan – colleague of the Ramchal and publisher of this book (R. Bassan's signature was inspired by Sephardic calligraphic signatures). The Ramchal may have himself imitated the form of his friend's signature when signing here, but it is more likely that the Ramchal received this copy as a gift from R. Yisrael Binyamin Bassan, who signed the name of his friend the Ramchal, using his own style of signature.
The author of this book was the renowned kabbalist R. Binyamin HaKohen – the Rabach, father-in-law of R. Yeshaya Bassan – prime teacher of the Ramchal. The Rabach held the Ramchal in high esteem, and even asked him to reveal to him the secret of the root of his soul (see: Ginzburg, R. Moshe Chaim Luzzatto UBenei Doro – Collection of Letters and Documents, Tel Aviv 1937, letter 20). When the polemic arose surrounding the Ramchal, the Rabach and his son-in-law R. Yeshaya Bassan stood beside the Ramchal, providing him with their steadfast support. This book was published by R. Yisrael Binyamin Bassan, son of R. Yeshaya Bassan and grandson of the author, the Rabach (R. Yisrael Binyamin added a conclusion and special poem at the end of the book).
R. Moshe Chaim son of R. Yaakov Chai Luzzatto – the Ramchal (1707-1746), a leading Torah scholar of all generations, an exceptional, G-dly kabbalist, who benefitted from revelations of Eliyahu HaNavi and angels – Maggidim from heaven, whose teachings he recorded in his book Zohar Tinyana (second Zohar). He authored Mesillat Yesharim and many other compositions on Kabbalah and ethics. Despite the polemic surrounding him in his times, the Ramchal was accepted throughout the Jewish world. Reputedly, the Gaon of Vilna stated that had the Ramchal been alive in his times, he would have walked all the way to Italy to receive ethical teachings from him. The Maggid of Mezeritch attested that the Ramchal's generation was not worthy of grasping the extent of his righteousness and asceticism (publisher's foreword to Klach Pitchei Chochma, Korets 1785). His book Mesillat Yesharim is the most widely studied musar text in Batei Midrash today.
The publisher of the book, R. Yisrael Binyamin Bassan (1701-1790), rabbi of Reggio Emilia, son and successor of R. Yeshaya Bassan Rabbi of Reggio and grandson of the Rabach – R. Binyamin son of R. Eliezer Kohen-Vitali, an elder Italian rabbi. His father and grandfather were the prime teachers of the Ramchal. R. Yisrael Binyamin was a disciple and associate of the Ramchal, who taught him Kabbalah. The Ramchal composed a play named Midgal Oz in honor of R. Yisrael Binyamin's wedding (later printed in Leipzig 1837). He published his father's book – Lachmei Toda (Venice, 1741), which includes a few of his own responsa.
Signature in Ashkenazic script on the title page: "Wolf son of R. Yokev Segal…". Several inscriptions on the flyleaf.
115 leaves. 22 cm. Wide margins. Good condition. Stains. Parchment binding. New endpapers.

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