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Bidding Information
Lot #    19168
Auction End Date    11/13/2007 10:22:00 AM (mm/dd/yyyy)
Title Information
Title (English)    Iggeret le-Shadal
Title (Hebrew)    אגרות לשד'ל
Author    [Only Ed.] Isaac Hayyim Castiglioni – ed.
City    Trieste
Publisher    Joseph Fischer - Cracow
Publication Date    1900
Collection Information
Independent Item    This listing is an independent item not part of any collection
Description Information
   Only edition. xvii, [5], 96, octavo 212:138 mm., usual light age staining, nice margins. A good copy bound in later boards, rubbed.
   Collected letters in honor of Samuel David Luzzatto on the centenial of his birth by Italian scholars, collected and brought to press by Isaac Hayyim Castiglioni. There are two facing title pages, in Hebrew and Latin, followed by a word to the reader, pages of verse, including one in German, a dedicatory page to the Shadal and then the collected letters.

Samuel David Luzzatto (Shadal, 1800–1865) was an Italian scholar, philosopher, Bible commentator, and translator. His father, Hezekiah, was an artisan at Trieste and a scholarly Jew who could claim descent from a long line of scholars. He wrote his first Hebrew poem at the age of nine. His mother died when he was 13 and his father's pecuniary status declined seriously making it necessary for the young Luzzatto to assist his father in his work. His own wife died after a long illness, and he eventually married her sister. He survived two of his children – one Philoxenus (or Filosseno), had been a young man of especially great promise. Samuel David's translation of the Ashkenazi prayer book into Italian appeared in 1821/22, and that of the Italian rite in 1829. He established a regular correspondence with the Jewish scholar, Isaac Samuel Reggio, and through the efforts of the latter, Luzzatto was appointed professor of the newly established rabbinical college of Padua in 1829. There he spent the rest of his life teaching Bible, philology, philosophy, and Jewish history. His versatility and the scope of his learning are best seen in the mass of letters written to all the outstanding Jewish savants of the day – to Geiger, Zunz, Rapoport, Steinschneider, and others. Almost 700 of these letters were published and many run into several pages; some are in themselves dissertations. He wrote a Hebrew commentary on the Pentateuch (5 vols., with Italian translation, 1871–76) and the Haftarot, on the Book of Isaiah (together with a translation into Italian, 1845–97), on Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Proverbs, and Job and a long dissertation in Hebrew on Ecclesiastes (1876). It is in this type of work that his attitude to Judaism is revealed. He was a traditionalist and had a great veneration for Rashi in particular. His antagonism toward Abraham Ibn Ezra is asserted boldly in his letters and Bible commentaries. He maintained that his own dislike for Ibn Ezra did not stem so much from the latter's departure from tradition as from his insincerity. Luzzatto had his grievances against Maimonides too, but in the case of the latter his language is more restrained. Luzzatto, as he himself wrote, divided seekers of truth into two groups – those who follow Rashi and Samuel b. Meir and those who are the disciples of Maimonides and Ibn Ezra (Letters nos. 272 and 275). His own commentary on the Pentateuch is not fundamentalist, and whereas he himself did not take the first chapters of Genesis literally, he criticizes those who treat them as an allegory (Letters no. 83). He believed them to be meant as model lessons from which we are to derive moral and ethical values. In his writings, he readily quotes the views of his pupils, mentioning their names when so doing. Although denying the Solomonic authorship of Ecclesiastes he upholds the unity of the Book of Isaiah. He maintained a firm belief in revelation and treated the text of the Torah with sacred regard although he occasionally allowed himself to depart from the traditional phrasing of the words as reflected in the Masorah and the Talmud. A natural corollary of his attitude to the classical authorities is Luzzatto's high regard for the Aramaic translation of Onkelos to which he devoted his Ohev Ger (the "Lover of the Proselyte," 1830), an allusion to the conversion of Onkelos to Judaism. He named his son Philoxenus (the Latin equivalent of Ohev Ger). He divided the work into two parts. The first demonstrates the method of Onkelos when the latter seems to depart from the literal translation of a text, especially when he wants to avoid anthropomorphisms. The second part of Ohev Ger deals with matters of text and is technical.

Luzzatto's philosophy may be compared with that of Judah Halevi. "I esteem Maimonides very greatly" he wrote (Letters no. 83), "but Moses the Lawgiver never dreamed of philosophy and the dreams of Aristotle." He lists his objections to the Guide of Maimonides and to some remarks in Sefer ha-Madda and to others in Maimonides' commentary on Mishnah Sanhedrin (ch. Helek) and in the Shemonah Perakim (commentary on Avot). He was opposed to Maimonides' enumeration and formulation of the 13 principles of faith and his condemnation of those who did not subscribe to these (Letters no. 238). Luzzatto's attitude to Greek philosophy was negative and even hostile, and his negative views on Kabbalah are found in his Vikku'ah al Hokhmat ha-Kabbalah (1852). He blames rationalistic philosophy for having brought about – as a reaction – the flowering of Kabbalah and mysticism. As for the Zohar, he rejected the authorship of Simeon b. Yohai as did Jacob Emden and Leone Modena before him, and Luzzatto was apparently influenced by the latter's Ari Nohem (1840). Luzzatto's religious thinking does not rest at the rejection of "atticism" – Hellenism – as diametrically opposed to Judaism, and of a moral rationalism as represented in the Middle Ages by Maimonides and in modern times by Kant. For him the idolizing of "progress" and the utilitarianism which speaks from the craving for (outer but not inner) emancipation of modern Jewry were the very antithesis of free Jewish thinking and living. He had nothing but contempt for the rotten European civilization. In his theological writings, most of published lectures such as Teologia Morale israelitica (1862) as well as in his letters, he develops his own positive system of Jewish theology and religious philosophy, based on the firm belief in revelation, tradition, and the election of Israel.

Paragraph 2    [שמואל דוד לוצאטו], כולל מכתבים שונים אשר הריצו לו... מחכמי דורו וחיבורים אחרים בשיר נעים לכבודו (חברו המשורר... אהרון מצליח בכ"ר ירמיה רומאניני). הוציאם לאור הצ' יצחק חיים קסטיליום ... איש טריאסטי ביום מלאת מאת שנה להלדת שד"ל.

ראינו טופס נוסף בו, בעמ' [5], אין כתובת המצבה שהורמה בבית תלמוד תורה בעיר טריאסטי למלאת מאה שנה להולדת שד"ל. כולל כו מכתבים מאת מרדכי יוסט, ו מאת שלמה ראזענטהל ומאיר הלוי לעטעריס, ג מאת ישראל מיכל ראבבינאוויטש, ה מאת ר' שלמה זלמן חיים האלברשטאם ז מאת יעקב גאלדענטהאל ושני מכתבים מאת יהושע העשיל שור. עמ' VI [צ"ל IV]: "הוספתי שני שירי שד"ל". השירים לא נדפסו. בראש הספר רק שירים לכבודו של שד"ל מאת משוררים שונים, ביניהם שירו של משה עהרענרייך במקורו הגרמני עם תרגום עברי מאת יוסף אלמנצי.

   BE alef 454; EJ; CD-EPI 0161647
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Listing Classification
19th Century:    Checked
Russia-Poland:    Checked
Other:    Haskala
Language:    Hebrew
Manuscript Type
Kind of Judaica