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Bidding Information
Lot #    16300
Auction End Date    12/5/2006 10:05:30 AM (mm/dd/yyyy)
Title Information
Title (English)    Levush Ateret Zahav Gedolah
Title (Hebrew)    לבוש עטרת זהב גדולה
Author    [First Ed.] R. Mordehai Jaffa
City    Cracow
Publisher    Isaac b. Aaron of Prostitz
Publication Date    1594
Collection Information
Independent Item    This listing is an independent item not part of any collection
Description Information
   First edition. 221, [1] ff., 302:193 mm., wide margins, usual light age and damp staining, initial & final 5 ff. expertly extended in margins not affecting text. A very good copy bound in modern half-vellum boards.
   The "Levush" is the achievement with which R. Jaffe's name is principally associated, and he is best known as the "ba'al ha-Levushim" ("the author of the 'Levushim'"). It is a rabbinical code, arranged in the order adopted in the Turim and the Shulhan Arukh, and divided into five parts. The titles of the work and its various parts were derived by R. Mordecai, with allusion to his own name, from Esther viii. 15. The reason advanced by R. Jaffe for the compilation of the work was his desire to give a digest of the latest decisions and minhagim, mainly those of German and Polish authorities and including those of his teachers, in order to shorten the course in his yeshibah (introduction). The appearance of R. Joseph Caro's "Bet Yosef" appended to the Turim was hailed with joy as a great event in rabbinical circles. Even R. Jaffe thought, at the time, that this work was final. The "Bet Yosef," however, was too scientific and voluminous for the general use of an ordinary rabbi. R. Jaffe was on the point of publishing his work, when R. Caro anticipated him with the Shulhan Arukh, to which R. Isserles later added annotations and the minhagim prevailing in Germany, Poland, and Russia. The two extremes presented by the copiousness of the "Bet Yosef" and the brevity of the Shulhan Arukh left many dissatisfied, and R. Jaffe accordingly continued his work on his own lines, avoiding both the exuberant, argumentative style and the too terse and legal manner of R.Caro. Another advantage possessed by the "Levush" was that it included parts of the Turim omitted by R. Caro, and the latest minhagim collected by R. Isaac Tyrnau. The "Levush," while its author was alive, enjoyed great popularity; but after his death R. Caro's code gradually superseded it, not only in the Orient but also in Europe, for the reason that the rabbis were obliged to consult the "Bet Yosef" for the sources, while the layman was content with the shorter Shulhan Arukh.

R. Mordecai b. Abraham Jaffee (c. 1535–1612), talmudist, kabbalist, and communal leader. Born in Prague, R. Jaffe was sent as a boy to Poland to study under R. Solomon Luria and R. Moses Isserles. There he devoted himself also to the study of astronomy and philosophy (apparently at the instance of R. Isserles). At the same time he studied Kabbalah under R. Mattathias b. Solomon Delacrut. After a few years he returned to Prague, where in 1553 he was appointed head of the yeshivah. Very soon he discovered that the students were not interested in mere understanding of the Talmud but preferred "pilpul" and "were turning the word of the living God into false, corrupt, and evil words" (Preface to his Levush Malkhut). R. Jaffe chose therefore "to minimize the time spent with these students" and applied himself to writing constructive books. He was head of the yeshiva in Prague until 1561, when, by order of the emperor Ferdinand, the Jews were expelled from Bohemia. Jaffe then went to Venice and studied astronomy (1561-71). In 1572 he was elected rabbi of Grodno; in 1588, rabbi of Lublin, where he became one of the leaders of the Council of Four Lands. Later R. Jaffe accepted the rabbinate of Kremenetz. In 1592 he was called as rabbi to Prague; from 1599 until his death he occupied the position of chief rabbi of Posen.

Paragraph 2    והוא הלבוש השלישי מלבושי המלכות אשר חבר... ר' מרדכי... יפה... והוא כולל כל דבר הנקרא הוראה, והוא אשר כלל... בעל הטור בטור יורה דעה...

בסוף הספר קולופון המחבר: "זיכני לגמור לבוש עטרת זהב הגדולה בחדש ובשנה שמוסיפים שמח"ה [אדר שנ"ג]...". אחר כך דברי המגיה. [ר' ישעיה הסופר ב"ר מאיר מבומסלא?] המזכיר את שמות המביאים לדפוס: ר' יוסף ב"ר מנחם ישראל [ר' יוסף הלבן] ונפתלי בן טוביה אלט שול, שניהם מלובלין. קולופון המדפיס: "ותשלם המלאכה... ביום הששי... כ"ח לחדש הרביעי [תמוז] ד'ש'ן' לפ"ק [שנ"ד]...".

   CD-EPI 0313675 & 0136553; R. M. Amsel, "Mi-Toledotav shel Rabbenu ha-Levush" in: Mordecai Jaffe, Levush Malkhut, 2 (Levush ha-Hur; 1964); Graetz-Rabbinowitz, 7 (1899), 350–5, 429–34; S. A. Horodezky, Le-Korot ha-Rabbanut (1911), 145–74; S. M. Chones, Toledot ha-Posekim (1910), 314–8; S. B. Nissenbaum, Le-Korot ha-Yehudim be-Lublin (1900), 25–27; Waxman, Literature, 2 (1960), 150–2; EJ; JE
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Listing Classification
16th Century:    Checked
Russia-Poland:    Checked
Customs:    Checked
Halacha:    Checked
First Editions:    Checked
Language:    Hebrew
Manuscript Type
Kind of Judaica