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Bidding Information
Lot #    8626
Auction End Date    12/7/2004 12:10:00 PM (mm/dd/yyyy)
Title Information
Title (English)    Ketav Yosher
Title (Hebrew)    כתב יושר
Author    [Haskalah] Shalom ben Jacob Cohen
City    Vilna
Publisher    Joseph Reuben Romm
Publication Date    1868
Collection Information
Independent Item    This listing is an independent item not part of any collection
Description Information
   [4], xiii, [1], 174 pp., 160:105 mm., age and use staining. A good copy bound in contemporary boards, rubbed.
   Popular work on letter writing for Jewish children by Shalom ben Jacob Cohen. There is a title page, on the verso Cyrillic publication information, a second Hebrew title page, and a third Yiddish title page. The title page informs that the purpose of Ketav Yosher (Correct Writing) is to instruct Jewish children the “writer’s ink well” (Ezekiel 9:3) to know how to write “to each other” “words of peace” (var. cit.). The work is divided into three parts. There is a forward, in Yiddish, and the text, which is in both Hebrew and Yiddish. In addition to the instructional material Ketav Yosher has numerous examples. Ketav Yosher was a sufficiently popular work that the Bet Eked Sefarim lists fourteen editions, including two in Vilna printed within ten years of this work, omitting an 1870 edition printed in Warsaw, and possibly others.

Shalom ben Jacob Cohen (1772–1845) was a Hebrew writer, poet, and editor. Born in Mezhirech, Poland, he studied German and read the new Hebrew literature, particularly Ha-Me'assef. His first book Mishlei Agur (1799) was a collection of Hebrew fables in rhyme, with German translation, aimed at teaching Jewish children simple and clear Hebrew. Cohen went to Berlin in 1789 and taught in the Hinnukh Ne'arim school and in private homes. After the publication of several works he renewed the publication of Ha-Me'assef and served as its editor (1809–11). In 1813 Cohen left Germany, spent a short period in Amsterdam, and moved to London where he tried unsuccessfully to establish a Jewish school. In London, in 1815, he printed his catechism, Shorshei Emunah (with an English translation by Joshua van Oven), in which he stressed the divinity of the Written and Oral Law and its immutability. From London, Cohen moved to Hamburg (1816 or 1817), where he spent three controversy-laden years. In a posthumously published poem he attacked the hypocrisy of the "reformists" for their lack of religious belief and national feelings, and considered the establishment of the Reform temple in Hamburg an act of blasphemy. In 1820 Cohen was invited by Anton Schmid to serve as head proofreader in the Hebrew section of his printing press in Vienna, remainng there for 16 years. In 1821 Cohen established the annual Bikkurei ha-Ittim, three issues of which appeared under his editorship. In 1834 he published his poetic work, Nir David, on the life of King David, one of the first romantic works in Hebrew literature. In 1836 Cohen returned to Hamburg, where he lived until his death. His last extensive work was Kore ha-Dorot, a history of the Jewish people (1838). His other works include: Matta'ei Kedem al Admat Zafon (1807), poetry; Amal ve-Tirzah (1812), an allegorical and utopian drama, a sequel to M. H. Luzzatto's La-Yesharim Tehillah; and Ketav Yosher (1820), a literary miscellany.

Paragraph 2    הוא תבנית אגרת ומליצות עברית ואשכנזית, בלשון צחה... ללמד לבני יהודה... לכתוב איש לרעהו... או לחקוק פרי מחשבותיהם על הספר במליצה פשוטה... נחלק לשלשה ראשים. אויסוואהל גוטער העברעאישער אונד דייטשער בריפע... אין דרייא אבטהיילונגען, מאת שלום הכהן...
   BE kaf 556; EJ; JE
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Listing Classification
19th Century:    Checked
Russia-Poland:    Checked
Other:    Haskalah
Language:    Hebrew
Manuscript Type
Kind of Judaica