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Bidding Information
Lot #    5523
Auction End Date    9/16/2003 11:56:00 AM (mm/dd/yyyy)
Title Information
Title (English)    Letter by Isaac Benjacob
Title (Hebrew)    כתב מיצחק אייזק בן-יעקב
Author    [Ms. - Bibliography]
City    Vilna
Publication Date    1859?
Collection Information
Independent Item    This listing is an independent item not part of any collection
Description Information
   [1] p., 198:145 mm., light age staining, ink on paper, neat Ashkenazi script, signed and dated.
   Letter to his publisher regarding financial arrangements for the publication of his book.

Isaac Benjacob (1801–1863), first modern Hebrew bibliographer. He was born near Vilna and spent most of his life in that city. After publishing original works and republishing several medieval writers, including Hovot ha-Levavot by Bahya ibn Paquda (with a commentary of his own), Benjacob published, with Abraham Dov Lebensohn (Adam ha-Kohen), a 17-volume edition of the Hebrew Bible (1848–53). It included Rashi's commentary, Mendelssohn's German translation (in Hebrew script), a new commentary by Lebensohn, as well as Benjacob's own Mikra'ei Kodesh, an abridged version of Tikkun Soferim ("the scribes' emendations to the biblical text"). This edition helped spread Haskalah among Russian Jewry, and was utilized not only for the study of Scriptures, but also for learning German. Benjacob then began his magnum opus of 20 years' duration, Ozar ha-Sefarim (Vilna, 1880; repr. New York, 1965), one of the greatest bibliographic achievements in Hebrew literature. The work lists approximately 8,480 manuscripts and approximately 6,500 books published up to 1863, with a description of their contents. Benjacob also wrote a collection of epigrams, poems and literary essays, Mikhtamim ve-Shirim Shonim (1842). His son JACOB (1858–1926) was a merchant, banker, and Zionist. After first publishing his father's work Ozar ha-Sefarim with the assistance of M. Steinschneider (1877–80), he began recruiting and expanding it, using new bibliographical methods but retaining its original chronological limit (1863). His son-in-law Moses Schorr reported that the new edition contained 60,000 entries and comprised 12 volumes. Both Benjacob and Schorr tried unsuccessfully to have it published. The manuscript was lost during the Holocaust in Poland.

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Listing Classification
19th Century:    Checked
Russia-Poland:    Checked
History:    Checked
Language:    Hebrew
Manuscript Type
Letters:    Checked
Kind of Judaica