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Bidding Information
Lot #    6084
Auction End Date    11/18/2003 1:10:00 PM (mm/dd/yyyy)
Title Information
Title (English)    Kaftor va-Ferah (Kavvanot ha-Aggadot)
Title (Hebrew)    כונות האגדות נקרא כפתור ופרח
Author    [First Ed.] R. Jacob ben Isaac Luzzatto
City    Basle
Publisher    Ambrosius Froben
Publication Date    1580
Collection Information
Independent Item    This listing is an independent item not part of any collection
Description Information
   First edition. 162 [i.e. 192]. [12] ff., quarto, 206:154 mm., age stained, nice margins, title backed. A good copy bound in full modern leather boards, tooled in gilt.
   On the aggadah in the Babylonian and Jerusalem Talmuds and Midrashim by R. Jacob ben R. Isaac Luzzatto of Safed (16th century). The title page has an ornate decorative border made up of numerous figurines. It gives the full title as “Sefer Kavvanot ha-Aggadot” called “Kaftor va-Ferah,” ‘[In days to come] Jacob shall take root (Yashresh Ya’akov); [Israel shall] blossom and bud, [and fill the face of the world with fruit]’ (Isaiah 27:6). To Israel is the explanation of all the difficult and obscure aggadot. . . .” In addition to its explanation of the Talmud and Midrashim there are also novellae on Zohar. The title Kaftor va-Ferah refers to the “bulbs and flower” (Exodus 25:33 and 37:19) in the menorah in the Tabernacle. The title page is dated “Prosperity שלוה (341=1581), and the colophon dates completion of the work to,“Rosh Hodesh Kislev parasha ‘For now the Lord has made room for us, and we shall be fruitful in the land’ (Genesis 26:22), in the year, ‘Peace be within your walls, and prosperity שלוה (Tuesday, November 18, 1580) within your palaces’ (Psalms 122:7). There is an introduction (3 f.) and a table of contents, followed by the text. At the end is an epilogue from Israel Zifroni, apologizing for any possible errors. The text is in square letters, the commentary in rabbinic type.

The book is made up of ma’amarim by subject, and with each ma’amar the text is further divided by tractate in the order of the Talmud. Luzzatto explains many of the aggadah in an allegorical manner, but according to traditional sources, such as Rashi, Ba’alei Tosafot, R. Solomon Adret (Rashba), and R. Nissim, thus defending the aggadah against the attacks of censors, who found in them anti-Christian meanings. The work encompasses cites parallel passages in the Babylonian and Jerusalem Talmuds, Midrashim and the Zohar. Reprinted in Salonika (1584) as Kehillat Ya'akov.

R. Luzzatto was reputedly born in Safed but later resided in Basle, Posen and Cracow. He worked as a corrector in Cracow, where he wrote a preface and index to R. Solomon Molcho’s Sefer ha Mefo’ar (1570) and to R. Elijah Vidas’ Toze'ot Hayyim (c. 1600), and for the Basle press of Ambrosius Froben, having accompanied Israel Zifroni to that city from Venice to work on the Basle Talmud (1578-81), some of his glosses appearing with that edition. R. Luzzatto also edited and wrote a rhymed preface to Menahem Recanati’s Ta'amei ha-Mitzvot (Basle, 1581).

Paragraph 2    נקרא כפתר ופרח ... ביאור לכל הגדות קשות... בש"ס בבלי וירושלמי ושאר מדרשות, נאספות מבעלי אסופות, חכמי אשכנז ספרד וצרפת, ובאור תוספת המחבר... עם חידושי ספר הזהר ועם מעשים נפלאים (המגיה והמלקט... יעקב בן מהר"ר יצחק לבית הלוצאטי זלה"ה מצפת)... על סדר התלמוד. קולופון (דף קסב,ב): "אמר המחוקק... ואף אם אמנם שגיאות... לא ימלט... לא מיד המחבר היתה זאת, ויד האומנים היתה בהם... כי לא מבני ישראל המה... ומה גם בימי הרגלים, כל איש ישראל לרגל עולים, להיות במניין הכשרים... הצעיר ישראל המחוקק הזפרוני. ותהי השלמתו בר"ח כסלו פרשת עתה הרחיב ה' לנו ופרינו בארץ שנת יהי שלום בחילך ש'ל'ו'ה' בארמנותיך". שני הפסוקים באותיות רש"י, חוץ מן התיבה "שלוה". בטופס שרשם י' פרייס, Die Basler hebraeischen Drucke, שני הפסוקים באותיות מרובעות, חוץ מן המלים "בחילך" ו"בארמנותיך" שהן באותיות רש"י, ובמקום "יהי שלום" שם: "יהיה [!] שלום".
   Prijs, 220-222 n. 131; Vinograd, Basle 171; CD-EPI 0175286
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Listing Classification
16th Century:    Checked
Holland:    Checked
Other:    Agadah
Bindings:    Checked
First Editions:    Checked
Language:    Hebrew
Manuscript Type
Kind of Judaica