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Bidding Information
Lot #    12372
Auction End Date    12/20/2005 10:13:00 AM (mm/dd/yyyy)
Title Information
Title (English)    Derekh ha-Hayyim
Title (Hebrew)    דרך החיים
Author    [Polemic - Only Ed.] R. Raphael ben Elijah Kazin
City    Constantinople
Publisher    Isaac de Castro and sons
Publication Date    1848
Collection Information
Independent Item    This listing is an independent item not part of any collection
Description Information
   Only edition. [6], 2-61 ff. octavo 198:125 mm., nice margins, usual light age and damp staining, hand on title, small tear to title. A good copy bound in contemporary boards.
Paragraph 1    Author's dedication on title, torn.
   Polemic against Christianity by R. Raphael ben Elijah Kazin. The title page is, appropriately, dated from the verse, “to guard the way of the tree of life” (Genesis 4:24).There is a detailed introduction from R. Kazin beginning with eight lines of verse, each the initial word derekh, followed by the text, of which eleven of its paragraphs also begin derekh. At the end of the introduction R. Kazin gives permission to whoever wishes to reprint the book, whether in Hebrew or translation, the right to do so, except that they may not add or delete from the work. The text is divided into sha’arim which are further subdivided into chapters, set in a single column in rabbinic type. In the introduction R. Kazin relates that he as reluctant to publish his Derekh Emet because it speaks harshly against Christianity and its adherents, who are opposed to both the written and oral Torah. He therefore makes it known in Derekh Hayyim, which is written in the form of a disputation and includes much of Derekh Emet. The first twelve chapters are cast as a disputation between Jacob the Jew and a non-Jew, chapters thirteen through twenty six as questions from the student Jacob and responses from his teacher Moses.

R. Raphael ben Elijah Kazin (1818–1871) was rabbi of Baghdad. He was born in Aleppo. On the death of his father he left his birthplace, visiting Erez Israel and Persia, and in 1846 went to Baghdad as a "self-appointed emissary." He was an outstanding scholar and accomplished speaker. At that time the av bet din in Baghdad was R. Elijah Obadiah ben Abraham ha-Levi, who had come from Erez Israel. With the arrival of R. Kazin a violent controversy arose which split the community. Most of the wealthy men sought to depose R. Obadiah and appoint R. Kazin in his place, while most of the rabbis supported R. Obadiah. So deep-seated was the animosity that was engendered between the rival factions that for many years they did not even intermarry. Finally the supporters of R. Obadiah triumphed and in 1847 R. Kazin left Baghdad. He went to Constantinople where he succeeded in obtaining a firman from the sultan appointing him hakham bashi ("chief rabbi") of Baghdad, an office that previously did not exist. He filled this office from 1849 to 1852, and according to Benjamin II he exercised his authority with firmness. Four soldiers were stationed as guards at the entrance of his house and when he went out he was preceded by five Jews in uniform carrying scepters in their hands, as was the custom for nobles at that time. In 1852 the "Obadiah faction" rose to power and R. Kazin was compelled to return to Aleppo. There is no information available on the activities of R. Kazin after his return to Aleppo. Three of his seven works have been published: Iggeret Maggid Mezarim (1837), an appeal to the Jews of Europe to come to the aid of the Jews of Persia, and two polemics against Christianity, this work, Derekh ha-Hayyim, and Likkutei Amarim (second ed. 1855, with a Ladino translation). His other works, including a third polemic on Christianity, Derekh Emet, are in manuscript.

Paragraph 2    (והוא כפרוזדור לפני טרקלין ספר דרך אמת... [ויכוח עם הנוצרים] המתנגדים לדת האמת)... פעולת... ר' רפאל קצין נר"ו... שנת לשמור את דר'ך עץ הח'יים

בהקדמתו מספר המחבר, כי חשש להדפיס את ספרו "דרך אמת", משום שדיבר בו קשות על הנוצרים "המתנגדים לתורות אמת, הן תורה שבכתב הן תורה שבעל פה", לפיכך הוא מפרסם ספרו "דרך החיים" הכתוב בצורת ויכוח ושיקע בו הרבה מספרו "דרך אמת". הספר נחלק לששה ועשרים פרק. פרק א-יב: ויכוח בין יעקב היהודי ומתי הנוצרי. פרק יג-כו: שאלות התלמיד יעקב ותשובות המורה משה.

   EJ; Vin Constantinople 704; CD-EPI 0303146
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Listing Classification
19th Century:    Checked
Greece-Turkey:    Checked
Polemics:    Checked
Autographed:    Checked
First Editions:    Checked
Language:    Hebrew
Manuscript Type
Kind of Judaica