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Bidding Information
Lot #    16531
Auction End Date    12/5/2006 12:00:00 PM (mm/dd/yyyy)
Title Information
Title (English)    Kizzur Hilkhot Shehitah
Title (Hebrew)   
Author    Anonymous; R. David ben Solomon Vital
City    Frankfort am Main
Publication Date    1712
Collection Information
Independent Item    This listing is an independent item not part of any collection
Description Information
   Only edition. 6 ff., 133:72 mm., nice margins, usual age and damp staining, worming, inner margins strenghtened. A good copy bound in modern full leather boards. Rare - no copy in most major collections. Not in CD-EPI.
   Rare and unusual work, printed in a small format, succinctly summarizing the laws of shehitah with verse. The author is anonymous but the verse is credited to by R. David ben Solomon Vital. Printed without a title page this versified volume begins by stating that anyone who wishes to eat an animal, beast, or fowl must know nine things included in the laws of shehitah, after which he can slaughter and eat the animal. After this enumeration is verse on the laws of examining the lungs, followed by a list of seventy trefus. The colophon dates conclusion of Kizzur Hilkhot Shehitah with the verse, You shall be blessed above all people (Deuteronomy 7:14).

R. David ben Solomon Vital, (first half of 16th century), rabbi, preacher and paytan, often called Ha-Rofe ("the doctor"). It is conjectured that David Vital was born before 1492 in Toledo (or southern Italy) and was among the Spanish exiles (or those leaving Calabria) who went to Turkey and Greece, eventually settling in Patras. During the Turco-Venetian war (1532) the community of Patras was severely affected and Vital's house was destroyed and his library and works lost. He moved to Arta, where he was apparently accepted as a halakhic authority, and remained there for the rest of his life. In 1534 he signed, together with the local rabbis, takkanot designed to preserve order and modesty in the town. He died apparently after 1536.

R. Vital was the son-in-law - and perhaps the pupil - of R. David ben Hayyim of Corfu, whose responsa he collected and for which he prepared a table of contents. He corresponded on halakhah with many contemporary scholars, including Jacob Tam ibn Yahya (Responsa Oholei Tam in Tummat Yesharim (Venice, 1622), 81d83d) and R. Meir Katzenellenbogen of Padua, who writes eulogistically "that our father Abraham has in you a son of such caliber that if, God forfend, the Torah were to be forgotten in Israel, you could restore it through your dialectic" (Responsa Maharam Padua, no. 31).

R. Vital composed rhymed verse on halakhic and theological topics, which reveal his mastery both of Talmud and posekim, grammar and poetry. They include Keter Torah (Constantinople, 1536), a rhymed summary of the 613 commandments, in accordance with the enumeration of Maimonides, plus the seven rabbinical commandments (hence the title, the numerical value of keter being 620). He based himself upon the tradition that the 620 letters of the Ten Commandments hint at the 620 commandments. The work is regarded as a succinct commentary on the Sefer ha-Mitzvot of Maimonides, in that each commandment begins with Maimonides' formulation and concludes with an explanation of it, which sometimes even includes a reply to the critics of Maimonides. Mikhtam le-David (Venice, 1546/7) is a composition intended to prove that the 13 Principles of the Faith are deduced from the Shema (translated into Latin by J. H. Wolf in 1726), to which are appended piyyutim, supplicatory prayers and poems, including a supplication consisting of 1,000 words, each word beginning with the letter "he." Shirei David (1882) is a work on grammar, the intercalation of the calendar, and some biblical expositions.

   EJ; Cowely 227; Vin Frankfort a. M. 293
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Listing Classification
18th Century:    Checked
Germany:    Checked
Halacha:    Checked
First Editions:    Checked
Language:    Hebrew
Manuscript Type
Kind of Judaica