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Bidding Information
Lot #    7346
Auction End Date    6/8/2004 11:44:00 AM (mm/dd/yyyy)
Title Information
Title (English)    Ma'asei ha-Shem
Title (Hebrew)    מעשי ה'
Author    [First Ed. - Haggadah] R. Eliezer Ashkenazi
City    Venice
Publisher    Juan D'Gara
Publication Date    1583
Collection Information
Independent Item    This listing is an independent item not part of any collection
Description Information
   First edition. [6], 197 ff., 272:190 mm., age and damp staining, small repair in title, old hands and stamps on title and final. A good copy bound in modern half leather and cloth boards with corners tipped in.
   Commentary on the Torah, following the rationalist trend in rabbinical scholarship, calling for freedom in exegesis of the Scriptures: "Each and every one of us, our descendants too, to the end of all generations... is obliged to search for the meaning of the words of the Torah... to accept the truth from whoever says it, after we have understood it. Let us not permit the opinion of someone else - even if of an earlier generation - to hinder us from research... Research and choose: for that you have been created and reason has been given you from heaven" (Ma'asei ha-Shem, 169). R. Eliezer suggests that irrational elements in Jewish tradition had accrued through copyists' errors, misunderstandings, and misreadings, or had been precipitated in times of trouble and expulsions, or even inserted by ill-disposed persons.

R. Eliezer b. Elijah the Physician Ashkenazi (1513–1586), rabbi and exegete. R. Eliezer's activities covered many of the Jewish centers of the 16th century. The influential position he held in widely scattered communities indicates the basic unity of Jewish society and culture in the period. A pupil of R. Joseph b. Solomon Taitazak in Salonika, R. Eliezer went to Egypt when he was 26, and officiated as rabbi. R. Elijah of Pesaro said he "judged all the community of Egypt for 22 years." While there, R. Eliezer was in contact with the Safed community and its sages, including R. Joseph Caro, who respected and consulted him. In 1561 R. Eliezer was compelled to leave Egypt, and settled at Famagusta in Cyprus. R. Elijah of Pesaro, who met him there in 1563, describes him as "well-versed in twelve languages... a sage in many general sciences and in the Talmud... he is wealthy." In 1563 R. Eliezer was in Venice; the following year he traveled to Prague, returned for a few years to Famagusta, and again went to Venice. From there he went to Cremona where in 1576 he published his commentary Yosef Lekah on the book of Esther, dedicated to Joseph Nasi. The same year he was invited to Poland as rabbi of Poznan; he was subsequently called to Gniezno, and thence to Cracow, where he died. In Poland his answers to legal queries were accepted as authoritative. Impartial in his decisions, he denied his support to the brother-in-law of R. Moses Isserles, R. Joseph Katz, who had referred to R. Eliezer in a discussion with his own pupils. R. Eliezer also wrote selihot and piyyutim printed at Cracow and in Lublin (1618). His glosses on the code of R. Mordecai b. Hillel are included in Gedulat Mordekhai (Hanau, 1593).

Paragraph 2    שחבר ... ר' אליעזר אשכנזי נר"ו בכמ"ר אליה הרופא נ"ע, אשר הואיל באר כל ספורי המעשיות ... בתורתנו הקדושה והיה לארבעה ראשים. החלק הראשון ... מעשי בראשית ... באור כל המעשיות עד זריחת אורו של אברהם ... חלק שני מעשי אבות ... ומבאר משם ואילך עד גניזת אורו של יעקב. ומשם ... מתחלת ספור יציאת מצרי' עד סוף השירה ונקרא ... מעשי מצרים ופרישת ההגדה אוחזת בעקב חלק זה ... החלק הרביעי ... מעשי תורה ... באור המעשיות שבתורה מסוף השירה עד גמירא ... הוגה בעיון רב על ידי הח"ר יצחק טריוויס יצ"ו ...

דף [2,א-3,א]: "הקדמה. דברי התלמיד המעמיד הדפסת החבור על מכונו ... ברוך שמו בן ... כמ"ר שמחה קלמן טערויז נ"ע". הקדמה זו חזרה ונדפסה בכל המהדורות הבאות של הספר. ב"מעשי מצרים", פרק כד: נוסח ההגדה של פסח.

   CD-EPI 0112156; Yudlov 30; EJ
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Listing Classification
16th Century:    Checked
Italy:    Checked
Bible:    Checked
Halacha:    Checked
First Editions:    Checked
Language:    Hebrew
Manuscript Type
Kind of Judaica