[Book List]  

PLEASE NOTE: All bidding for the auction currently underway
at our new website at www.virtualjudaica.com/

Bidding Information
Lot #    20206
Auction End Date    4/1/2008 10:36:30 AM (mm/dd/yyyy)
Title Information
Title (English)    Kabbalah Prayerbook
Title (Hebrew)    סידור קבלה
Author    [Ms. - Kabbalah - Liturgy]
City    North Africa &/or Mid-East
Publisher    Aleppo - Baghdad - Jerusalem
Publication Date    19th cent.
Item of
Collection Information
Independent Item    This listing is an independent item not part of any collection
Description Information
   [101] ff., 159:110 mm., light age staining, on heavy stock, ink on paper, mixture of block letters and mid-Eastern script, bound in contemporary leather boards, rubbed and torn.
Paragraph 1    Kabbalistic prayerbook apparently following the teachings of R. Shalom Sharabi. The copy of R. Isaac b. Joseph Chermhe (Shrem) of Aleppo (Aram Zova). The volume includes an introduction by R. Joseph Hayyim b. Elijah Al-Hakam, the Ben Ish Hai.
   The copy of R. Isaac b. Joseph Chermhe (Shrem; 1860-1909) of Aleppo (Aram Zova). R. Chermhe was dayyan of Aram Zova and emigrated to Jerusalem in 1896 where he was appointed a dayyan on the Sephardic Bet Din. An erudite scholar and kabbalist he wrote many works in both disciplines. The fly carries his signature and stamps.

Kabbalistic prayerbook apparently following the teachings of R. Shalom Sharabi (1720–1777), Jerusalem kabbalist. R. Sharabi was born in Sana in Yemen, where the study of Kabbalah and mysticism was widespread. in his youth, he emigrated to Erez Israel via Damascus. In Damascus he was involved in a controversy with the local rabbis concerning the meaning of the minimum quantity ("the size of an olive") prescribed for the eating of mazzah on Passover night. When he arrived in Jerusalem, he prayed and studied at the kabbalistic yeshivah Bet El, which was founded in 1737 by the kabbalist Gedaliah Hayon. There the prayers were held in accordance with the mystical meditations of R. Isaac Luria. Like the Jerusalem kabbalists, he studied only the Lurianic Kabbalah, as transmitted through the works of R. Hayyim Vital. Soon he became widely known as a man of outstanding piety and as a kabbalist. R. Sharabi succeeded Gedaliah Hayon as head of the yeshivah after the latter's death (1751). During his leadership, he did much for the yeshivah, initiated important regulations and arranged the order of prayer. He became known as one of the greatest rabbis in Jerusalem and his signature appears on several documents preserved from this period. In 1754 and 1758, he and other rabbis of Jerusalem signed the note binding the association of kabbalists, Ahavat Shalom. In 1774 he signed next to the leaders of the community of Jerusalem on a letter for emissaries to Western Europe.

R. Sharabi's life was embellished by legends even from his youth, and in Erez Israel he was famous as a saint and miracle worker. Popular tradition links his departure from Yemen with a miracle that occurred after a rich Muslim woman tried to seduce him. In Bet El he worked as a servant and hid his learning from others; only miraculously was his deep knowledge of Kabbalah discovered and he became a member of the kabbalistic circle. According to legend, the prophet Elijah appeared to him and he was an incarnation of Luria. After his death, his name became greatly revered among the Jews of Jerusalem and among the kabbalists of Bet El. The members of Bet El used to prostrate themselves on his grave on the Mount of Olives on the commemoration of his death. His signature was Shalom Mizrahi di-Ydi'a Sharabi and his titles Ha-Reshash or Ha-Shemesh (both are Hebrew acronyms of Shalom Mizrahi Sharabi).

The volume includes an introduction (ff. 96-97) by R. Joseph Hayyim b. Elijah Al-Hakam (1833 or 1835–1909), the Ben Ish Hai. He was born in Baghdad, he studied with his maternal uncle, R. David Hai b. Meir. In 1848 he began to study under R. Abdallah Somekh. He succeeded his father (1859) as preacher, a post he held until his death. In 1869 he visited Erez Israel. In 1876 Jacob Obermeier of Vienna, who had come to Baghdad to teach French, insulted R. Joseph Hayyim. The community excommunicated him and compelled him to request the rabbi's pardon. Al-Hakam was renowned as a great halakhic authority who instituted many takkanot. He wrote some 60 works on all aspects of Torah, only a few of which have been published. He is best known for his Ben Ish Hai. His other published works include Ben Yehoyada (1898–1904), five volumes of commentaries to the aggadic portions of the Babylonian Talmud and Rav Pe'alim (1901–12), responsa. He wrote approximately 200 piyyutim and pizmonim, about 50 of which are incorporated in the liturgy of Baghdad Jewry; the rest are still in manuscript.

Associated Images
8 Images (Click thumbnail to view full size image):
  Order   Image   Caption
  1   Click to view full size  
  2   Click to view full size  
  3   Click to view full size  
  4   Click to view full size  
  5   Click to view full size  
  6   Click to view full size  
  7   Click to view full size  
  8   Click to view full size  
Listing Classification
19th Century:    Checked
Israel:    Checked
Other:    North Africa
Kabbalah:    Checked
Liturgy:    Checked
Language:    Hebrew
Manuscript Type
Other:    Liturgy
Kind of Judaica