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Bidding Information
Lot #    10590
Auction End Date    5/24/2005 12:33:00 PM (mm/dd/yyyy)
Title Information
Title (English)    Sha'ar ha-Gemul
Title (Hebrew)    שער הגמול
Author    [Kabbalah - Marranos] R. Moses b. Nahman (Ramban)
City    Ferrara
Publisher    Abraham ibn Usque
Publication Date    1556
Collection Information
Independent Item    This listing is an independent item not part of any collection
Description Information
   26 ff., 209:135 mm., wide margins, light age and damp staining. A very good copy bound in modern full leather boards, tooled in blind.
Paragraph 1    Abraham ibn Usque, Marrano printer. Born in Portugal and known there as Duarte Pinel (Pinhel), Usque fled from the Inquisition shortly after 1543, established himself at Ferrara, and became associated with the press established by the Spanish ex-Marrano, Yom-Tov ben Levi Athias (Jeronimo de Vargas). He followed Athias' plan of publishing Jewish liturgies in the vernacular, as well as other texts intended to facilitate the Marranos' return to Judaism. Usque's name first appears in connection with the famous Bible translation of 1553, the so-called Ferrara Bible. This Bible was published in two forms: one intended for a Jewish audience, bearing a Hebrew date (14 Adar 5313) and a dedication to Dona Gracia Nasi, and listing the Hebrew names of the printer and publisher (Usque and Athias); the other for the Christian world, dated March 1, 1553, with a dedication to Duke Ercole d'Este of Ferrara and the names of Duarte Pinel and Jeronimo de Vargas. Books published by Usque also include the enigmatic Menina e Moga, by Bernardim Ribeiro, Samuel Usque's Consolagam as tribulagoens de Israel (1553), and various works in Hebrew. The fury of the Counter-Reformation gradually halted Usque's printing activities. He published no books in Spanish or Portuguese after 1555 and continued the publication of Hebrew books only to 1558.
   On reward and punishment.

R. Moses b. Nahman (also known as Nahamani and RaMBaN - an acronym of Rabbi Moses Ben Nahman; Nahmanides; 1194–1270), Spanish rabbi and scholar and one of the leading authors of talmudic literature in the Middle Ages; philosopher, kabbalist, biblical exegete, poet, and physician. Nahmanides was born in Gerona, Catalonia, and it was after his native town that he was also referred to as Rabbenu Moses Gerondi or Yerondi. His Spanish name was Bonastrug da Porta. Nahmanides was a descendant of R. Isaac b. Reuben, a contemporary of R. Isaac b. Jacob Alfasi. His mother was the sister of R. Abraham, father of R. Jonah b. Abraham Gerondi. His teachers included R. Judah b. Yakar, a disciple of R. Isaac b. Abraham of Dampierre, who established his yeshivah in Barcelona, and R. Meir b. Isaac of Trinquetaille. From the first, he received the tradition of the tosafists of northern France, while from the second he learned the methods of study employed in the yeshivot of Provence. He maintained close contact with R. Meir b. Todros ha-Levi Abulafia of Toledo who replied to his queries, and even more so with his cousin, R. Jonah b. Abraham of Gerona. His colleagues also included R. Samuel b. Isaac Sardi, to whom he sent the largest number of his responsa, as well as R. Isaac b. Abraham of Narbonne. The responsa of R. Solomon b. Abraham Adret (part 1, 120, 167) relate that Nahmanides earned his livelihood as a physician. Even though there is no information available on Nahmanides' yeshivah in Gerona, there is no doubt that it existed. His disciples included the leading halakhists of the following generation, such as R. Solomon b. Abraham Adret, R. Aaron b. Joseph ha-Levi, R. David Bonafed, R. Jonah b. Joseph, Nahmanides' cousin, and many others. There is reason to believe that after the death of R. Jonah b. Abraham Gerondi in 1264, Nahmanides acted as chief rabbi of Catalonia until his emigration to Erez Israel. The Spanish rabbis of subsequent generations regarded him as their great teacher and referred to him as ha-rav ha-ne'eman ("the trustworthy rabbi"). In his Nomologia, R. Immanuel Aboab states that throughout Spain it was the custom to refer to him simply as "the rabbi" or "the teacher."

Paragraph 2    בשער: ותשלם המלאכ' בחדש תמוז שי"ו. קולופון: ותשלם המלאכה בחדש תשרי שי"ז.

דף כה,ב: שיר בשבח הספר, מאת המדפיס. פותח: פקח עיניך [צ"ל: עינך] ילוד אשה ובן אדם והעירה. אוצר השירה והפיוט, ג, עמ' 304,מס' 178. עי' שם, שאין זה אלא שירו של ר' יוסף ביבאס, שנדפס בסוף ספר תורת האדם, קושטנתינה רע"ט, ור' אברהם אושקי שינהו והתאימו לעצמו. דף כו,א: אגרת ששלח הרב ז"ל מירושלם ... לבנו ... נחמן... ה"אגרת" נדפסה בכל ההוצאות הבאות, פרט לווארשא 1862. ראינו טופס, שבשערו נדפס בטעות "להרמב"ם" וב"אגרת" נשתבשו שתי תיבות: "ששח" במקום "ששלח" ו"לי כת" במקום "ללכת".

   CD-EPI 0150445; EJ; C. Roth, in: Modern Language Review, 38 (1943), 307–17; M. A. Cohen (ed. and tr.), S. Usque, Consolation for the Tribulations of Israel (1965).
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Listing Classification
16th Century:    Checked
Italy:    Checked
Kabbalah:    Checked
Language:    Hebrew
Manuscript Type
Kind of Judaica