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Bidding Information
Lot #    13456
Auction End Date    3/7/2006 10:11:30 AM (mm/dd/yyyy)
Title Information
Title (English)    Peirush Megillat Esther Yosef Lekah
Title (Hebrew)    פירוש מגלת אסתר יוסף לקח
Author    [Bible - Esther] R. Eliezer Ashkenazi
City    Cremona
Publisher    Christopher Draconi
Publication Date    1576
Collection Information
Independent Item    This listing is an independent item not part of any collection
Description Information
   Second edition. 83 ff., 195:142 mm., wide margin, usual light age and damp staining, few minor wormholes. A very good copy bound in contemporary full vellum over boards.
   Commentary on Megillat Esther by R. Eliezer ben Elijah, the physician, Ashkenazi (1513-86). The author, a many faceted individual, was a talmudist, physician, and well-rounded scholar, who served as rabbi in a number of varied communities. Born in the Middle East to German-Jewish parents, R. Ashkenazi was a student of R. Joseph Taitazak. His first rabbinic position, from 1538-61, was in Fostat, Egypt. Forced to leave Fostat, R. Ashkenazi went to Famagusta, Cyprus, where he was rabbi for two years, and then to Venice. He left for Prague (1561) after a dispute with the Maharam of Padua, and after traveling as far as the Crimea, returned, via Famagusta, to Venice. R. Ashkenazi was next rabbi in Cremona, where he published Yosef Lekah. Shortly after he left to be rabbi of Posen, and, from 1584, was in Cracow. R. Ashkenazi experienced difficulties in Poland, disputing over his right to open a yeshiva in close proximity to an existing yeshiva, so that R. Joseph Solomon Delmedigo (1591-1655) wrote about him, "You have brought a vine from Egypt; you have cast out the nations, and planted it" (Psalms 80:9).

R. Ashkenazi was highly regarded by his contemporaries, corresponding with R. Joseph Caro, R. Joseph Ha-Kohen (Katz), R. Moses Isserles (Rema), and R. Solomon Luria (Maharsha1), several mentioning him in their responsa. R. Ashkenazi's responsum is included in Hatzaa al Odot ha-Get (Venice, 1566), concerning the Tamari-Venturozzo affair. R. Elijah of Pesaro, in Famagusta in 1563, praised R. Ashkenazi's scholarship, noting that he was fluent in twelve languages.

Yosef Lekah is dedicated to Don Joseph Nasi, Duke of Naxos, whom R. Ashkenazi, in the introduction, compares' to Joseph in Mizraim and Mordecai at the time of Ahasuerus. R. Ashkenazi, therefore, entitled this work Yosef Lekah. He also discusses the Jews of Turkey and the difficulties they have experienced. The work was completed in של"ו (336 = 1576), equaling "and that these days of Purim פורים (336) should not fail from among the Jews" (Esther 9:28). On the title page the date is given as, "Therefore they called these days Purim" (Esther '9:26).

Yosef Lekah was printed by Christopher Draconi, previously associated with Conti. Draconi's Hebrew printer was Solomon ben Jacob Bueno. Two, almost identical, editions of Yosef Lekah exist, both dated 1576. Although an almost exact copy of the original, it is clear, upon close examination, that the book was reset. Slight errors distinguish the two printings, among them the manner in which Bueno's name is set, correctly in the first, as בואינו, incorrectly, in the' second, as בוינו.The reprinting cannot be attributed to the destruction of the first edition, as it is the more common of the two printings. It has been suggested that Bueno, after printing for Draconi, independently reprinted the book. Although Draconi did not print additional Hebrew titles, he printed other works until 1614.

R. Ashkenazi's most important work is Ma'aseh HaShem (Venice, 1583), on the historical occurrences in the Torah, with a commentary on the Passover Haggadah; selihot; and, not extant today, a supercommentary on the Ramban (Nachmanides) and annotations to R. Joseph Caro's Beit Yosef.

Paragraph 2    להגאון כמוהר"ר אליעזר אשכנזי נר"ו בכמ"ר אליה הרופא ז"ל, קראו יוסף לקח. נדפס שנית.

נדפס דף-על-דף ושורה-על-שורה, כמעט, על-פי ההוצאה הראשונה מאותה שנה. חלק מן השינויים רשם מ' בניהו, הדפוס העברי בקרימונה, ירושלים תשל"א, עמ' 234-233. עם הפנים (בלתי מנוקד).

   CD-EPI 0182238; Heller, Sixteenth Century Hebrew Book (Brill, 2004) pp. 652-653
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Listing Classification
16th Century:    Checked
Italy:    Checked
Bible:    Checked
Bindings:    Checked
First Editions:    Checked
Language:    Hebrew
Manuscript Type
Kind of Judaica