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Bidding Information
Lot #    5607
Auction End Date    9/16/2003 2:44:00 PM (mm/dd/yyyy)
Title Information
Title (English)    Bet Hadash
Title (Hebrew)    בית חדש החדשות
Author    [First Ed.] R. Joel Sirkes
City    Korets
Publisher    Johann Anton Krieger
Publication Date    1785
Collection Information
Independent Item    This listing is an independent item not part of any collection
Description Information
   First edition. 68, 8 ff., folio, 328:200 mm., usual fraying. A good copy bound in modern cloth boards.
   Important responsa.

R. Joel Sirkes (1561–1640), one of the greatest talmudic scholars of Poland, was born in Lublin and was rabbi in a number of communities, including Belz, Brest-Litovsk, and Cracow, where he was appointed av bet din and head of the yeshivah in 1619. Many of his students became leading rabbis in Poland, the most famous being his son-in-law, R. David b. Samuel ha-Levi (the Ta-Z). R. Sirkes' chief work was the Bayit Hadash (Cracow, 1631–39), a critical and comprehensive commentary on the Arba'ah Turim of R. Jacob b. Asher, in which he traced each law to its talmudic source and followed its subsequent development through successive generations of interpretation. He viewed with alarm the constriction of the law through codification and the growing dependence of his contemporaries on the Shulhan Arukh. His major authorities were the Talmud, the geonim, the tosafists, Alfasi, R. Asher b. Jehiel, and Maimonides.

Sirkes, a scholar of independent judgment rendered many controversial decisions. He allowed the acceptance of emoluments and special privileges by rabbis in return for their services. He extended the permission to sell leavened food to a non-Jew before Passover to include the sale of the room in which such food was found. R. Sirkes performed a marriage on the Sabbath when an orphan's future was at stake. He permitted the reading of secular, non-Hebrew books on the Sabbath and liberalized certain laws to allow for the greater enjoyment of the festivals. He was, however, very strict in issues of issur ve-hetter. Though opposed to philosophy and an adherent of Kabbalah he rejected kabbalistic practices that were contrary to the halakhah.

R. Sirkes' literary legacy includes: two volumes of responsa published posthumously, She'elot u-Teshuvot Bayit Hadash (Frankfort, 1697) and She'elot u-Teshuvot Bayit Hadash ha-Hadashot (Koretz, 1785). In the She'elot u-Teshuvot ha-Ge'onim Batri (Turka, 1760) there are 22 responsa either by R. Sirkes himself or dealing with responsa which he had written.

Paragraph 2    ... שאלות הראשונים... רבינו [יואל סירקיש] בעל ב"ח והגאונים דעימי'... והמה כתב ידם ממש... והרבה נקבעו בדפוס בשני כריכות וקראו בשמותם שו"ת ב"ח ושו"ת גאונים בתראי ועוד לנו... הקונטרסים הללו... אשר עדן לא הי' לעולמים... ומטא לידן... תרי בני אחי שמואל... בלא"א... ר' אלכסנדר סענדר מרגליות נ"י ואפרים... זלמן בלא"א... ר' מנחם מאניש מרגליות נ"י... והזלנו זהב מכיסנו להלוות... להמדפיסים בכדי להעלותם על מזבח הדפוס...
   CD-EPI 0154224; EJ
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Listing Classification
18th Century:    Checked
Russia-Poland:    Checked
Halacha:    Checked
Responsa:    Checked
First Editions:    Checked
Language:    Hebrew
Manuscript Type
Kind of Judaica