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Bidding Information
Lot #    16299
Auction End Date    12/5/2006 10:05:00 AM (mm/dd/yyyy)
Title Information
Title (English)    Ir Gibborim
Title (Hebrew)    עיר גיבורים
Author    [First Ed.] R. Ephraim Luntshits
City    Basle
Publisher    [Israel Zifroni] Ambrosino Provinanno
Publication Date    1580
Collection Information
Independent Item    This listing is an independent item not part of any collection
Description Information
   First edition. 137 ff., 298:201 mm., wide margins, light age staining, lower corner upturned affecting title border, old hands on fly and title. A very good copy bound in contemporary half leather boards, rubbed.
   Homilies by R. Ephraim b. Aaron of Luntshits (Leczyca; 1550–1619), rabbi and renowned preacher. He was known as "Ephraim of Luntshits," the popular pronunciation of Leczyca among Polish Jews. The name "Solomon" was added some time after 1601. In his youth R. Ephraim was sent to study in the yeshivah of R. Solomon Luria. At an early age he had already gained a reputation as a preacher, in which capacity he traveled to Lublin, Lemberg, Jaroslaw, and other towns. It is not known whether he ever held a regular communal post before he became head of a yeshiva in Lemberg when he was already past fifty. In 1604, he arrived in Prague where he served as president of the rabbinical court and head of the yeshiva, but relinquished his rabbinical post in the last year of his life. As a preacher he was distinguished for his lucid and fascinating sermons. He addressed the heads of the Council of Four Lands when they met in Lublin and was apparently on friendly terms with the leaders of that council on whose recommendation he was appointed rosh yeshivah in Lemberg. R. Ephraim's sermons shed much light on the religious and communal life of the Polish-Jewish community of his time. He railed against the wealthy members of the congregation whose passion for money and luxury caused them to withhold assistance from their needy brethren and he criticized their pretensions to spiritual and religious status on the basis of their commercial success. He said that wealth corrupts and destroys the character of men when they do not appreciate its purpose. At the same time, he complained about the poor who wished to enjoy the charity of the rich without making any effort to provide for their needs. In addition, he attacked certain casuistic methods of talmudic study (pilpul) which often neglected the truth, and the desire for personal aggrandizement among communal leaders.

R. Ephraim's sermons were collected and published in various books: Olelot Efrayim (Lublin, 1590); Orah le-Hayyim (ibid., 1595); Keli Yakar (ibid., 1602), commentary on the Pentateuch in homiletic style that was subsequently included in various editions of the rabbinical Bible (Mikra'ot Gedolot); Siftei Da'at (Prague, 1610); Ammudei Shesh (ibid., 1617); Petihot u-She'arim (Zolkiew, 1799). He also compiled a book of sermons entitled Rivevot Efrayim, which is occasionally mentioned in his other works. He composed three Selihot in connection with the invasion of Prague in 1611 by the army of the bishop of Passau.

Paragraph 2    והם דרשות על התורה (על סדר הפרשיות) חיבר... ר' אפרים יצ"ו בכמהר"ר אהרן זצ"ל תושב ק"ק לבוב הנקרא לעמבורג... בשבת תחכמוני... ר' מרדכי י"ץ בכ"ר משה הלוי ז"ל איש פראג... השתדל להוציא הדפסת הספר מן הכח אל הפעל... (חלק א-ב).

בעמ' האחרון: דברי-סיום של ר' מרדכי ב"ר משה הלוי. על הנאמר בשער "ואם באולי תמצא תמצא בספר איזה מאמר שאינו כהוויתו... דנוהו לכף זכות כי לא במדר ולא במעל רק כשגג'", מוסיף המחבר בהקדמתו בראש ספר "עוללות אפרים": "שבזמן שחיברתי החיבור (עיר גיבורים)... לא היה בידי לא לחם ולא שמלה... גם בביתי לא היו ספרים וחיבורים בעיר יערסלב עד אשר הבאתי בחיבור... כמה מאמרים ופסוקים שלא כצורתם ולא הזכרתי שם המסכתא או המדרש כי לא... כתבתי רק מה ששמ[ר] כח הזוכר שקריתי בבחרותי... חששתי... כאשר ראיתי... כמה קנאין פוגעים בו [בספר]... שכל מגמת פניהם... לדבר עליו סרה".

   CD-EPI 0170566; H. H. Ben-Sasson, Hagut ve-Hanhagah (1959), p. 263; EJ
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Listing Classification
16th Century:    Checked
Holland:    Checked
Homiletics:    Checked
First Editions:    Checked
Language:    Hebrew
Manuscript Type
Kind of Judaica