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Bidding Information
Lot #    10473
Auction End Date    5/24/2005 10:35:00 AM (mm/dd/yyyy)
Title Information
Title (English)    Tshuvot ha-Rav
Title (Hebrew)    תשובות הרב
Author    [First Ed.] R. Isaac b. Sheshet Perfet
City    Constantinople
Publisher    [Eliezer Soncino]
Publication Date    1546-47
Collection Information
Independent Item    This listing is an independent item not part of any collection
Description Information
   First edition. [303] ff., 306:209 mm., usual age and damp staining, extra wide margins, some minor scattered worming, old hand on title and final. A very good copy bound in modern cloth boards.
   R. Isaac ben Sheshet Perfet (known as Ribash from the initials of Rabbi Isaac Ben Sheshet; 1326–1408), Spanish rabbi and halakhic authority. Ribash was born in Barcelona, where he studied under such eminent scholars as R. Perez ha-Kohen, R. Hasdai b. Judah Crescas (the grandfather of the philosopher), and R. Nissim b. Reuben Gerondi, and where he later acted unofficially as rabbi. In 1370, R. Isaac, together with R. Nissim and five other Jewish notables, was arrested on a false charge and imprisoned for several months. After acquittal, he moved to Saragossa, where he accepted the position of rabbi, only to be involved in the first of the many controversies and family tragedies that were to embitter his career. In Saragossa he made strenuous efforts to secure the abolition of certain objectionable customs. He did not succeed, but brought upon himself the opposition of the local scholars. Finally he decided to leave for Calatayud, but was persuaded to change his mind. Faced with continued disharmony in the community, he moved to Valencia, where from 1385 he acted as rabbi.

The anti-Jewish riots of 1391 drove him to North Africa. After a short stay at Miliana, he finally settled in Algiers, where he was enthusiastically welcomed. Fresh vexations awaited him, however, as another refugee, jealous of Ribash's prestige, launched a violent campaign against the newcomer in the hope that he would leave Algiers. Thanks to the intervention of R. Saul Astruc ha-Kohen, the civil authorities put an end to the conflict by appointing Isaac dayyan or communal rabbi. Their action, however, antagonized a celebrated refugee from Majorca, R. Simeon b. Zemah Duran, who declared the appointment invalid, no government having the power of jurisdiction in Jewish communal affairs. Duran relented when he was convinced that Isaac harbored no thoughts of personal aggrandizement, and the latter was left free to enjoy general affection and respect in his last years. On the anniversary of his death pilgrimages were made to his tomb until recent years. Ribash's most important work is his responsa (Constantinople, 1546). They exercised considerable influence on subsequent halakhah, and were one of the pillars upon which the Shulhan Arukh rested. They contain a vast amount of halakhic material - part derived from sources which are no longer extant - together with much valuable information about popular customs in Spain and North Africa. The collection is of very great importance for a knowledge of the history of the Jews in those countries in the 14th century. Ribash was involved as a halakhist and decisor in the great controversy connected with the French chief rabbinate; he was one of the first to discuss the status of Marranos from the halakhic point of view, which had become one of the crucial problems of Spanish and North African Judaism. He was one of those who established the minhag of Algiers regarding the pecuniary rights connected with matrimonial law. Ribash also wrote an extensive commentary on several talmudic tractates, and a commentary on the Pentateuch. Poems and kinot composed by him were published in Zafenat Pa'ne'ah (1895).

Paragraph 2    תשובות ריב"ש קולופון: "אמר שמואל ... תשובות הרב ריב"ש ... והמלאכה הערוכה ... היתה ... בית היקר כ"ר אליעזר שונצינו ... בפועליו בכליו ובאותיותיו ... והחכם ר' יחיאל אשכנזי יצ"ו גם בני ... ביהוסף שמו שניהם ... היו לנו ... להגיה ולחזור ולהגיה ... ותהי התחלת הדפסת הספר ... בד' לאייר שנת הש"ו והשלמתו בשלהי אלול שנת הש"ז בקושטנטינה". ר' שמואל הלוי [חכים] כתב שני שירים בשבח הספר. הראשון (בשער) פותח: הילך תשובות רב מלמד לקרב. אוצר השירה והפיוט, ב, עמ' 139, מס' 541. השני (בסוף הספר) פותח: נדיב נדיבות יעצה עינך. שם, ג, עמ' 203, מס' 136. [21] הדפים הראשונים כוללים מפתחות ותיקונים. השער הוא בדף [22, א]. הספר נדפס ונמכר קונטרסים-קונטרסים. עיין: אברהם יערי, הדפוס העברי בקושטא, ירושלים תשכ"ז, עמ' 103, מס' 145.
   A. M. Hershman, Rabbi Isaac bar Sheshet Perfet and his Times (1943), Hebrew edition (1956); Baer, Spain, index; I. Epstein, Responsa of R. Simon b. Zemach Duran (1930), index; CD-EPI 0136846
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Listing Classification
16th Century:    Checked
Greece-Turkey:    Checked
Responsa:    Checked
First Editions:    Checked
Language:    Hebrew
Manuscript Type
Kind of Judaica