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Bidding Information
Lot #    13902
Auction End Date    3/7/2006 1:54:00 PM (mm/dd/yyyy)
Title Information
Title (English)    Biur al ha-Torah - Zeror ha-Mor
Title (Hebrew)    ביאור על התורה - צרור המור
Author    [Kabbalah] R. Abraham Saba
City    Venice
Publisher    Marco Antonio Giustiniani
Publication Date    1545
Collection Information
Independent Item    This listing is an independent item not part of any collection
Description Information
   165 ff., 302:205 mm., estra wide margins, heavy regal paper, few minor holes, light age and damp staining. A very good copy bound in modern full leather boards, ruled in blind.
   Kabbalistic commentary on the Pentateuch by R. Abraham b. Jacob Saba (d.c. 1508), Spanish exegete, preacher, and kabbalist. On the expulsion of the Jews from Spain, R. Abraham settled in Oporto (Portugal) where he wrote commentaries on the Pentateuch, the Five Scrolls, and on Avot. When the forced conversion of the Jews was decreed in Portugal in 1497 his two young sons were baptized and his extensive library plundered. He left Oporto, taking his writings with him, but when near Lisbon he was warned by the local Jews of the danger of entering the city with Hebrew books in his possession, which was a capital offense. He thereupon buried his manuscripts under an olive tree. In Lisbon he was arrested and imprisoned together with other scholars, pressure being exerted on them to accept baptism. After nearly six months he succeeded in escaping to Fez in Morocco where he fell ill. When he recovered, he began to rewrite his lost works from memory. He succeeded in completing only his commentaries on the Pentateuch, Ruth, and Esther. He remained in Fez for ten years, and in 1508 he was in Tlemcen in Algeria, and, it is thought, later in Italy.

R. H.J.D. Azulai tells an anecdote relating to R. Abraham. On a sea voyage to Verona, R. Saba became dangerously ill and during a heavy storm exacted a promise from his fellow travelers that should he die he would be given Jewish burial on dry land. As a result of his prayers the storm abated. He died on the eve of the Day of Atonement and the captain saw that the local Jews carried out his request. According to another account, however, he died in Fez. In Spain, Portugal, and Morocco R. Saba preached in the synagogues, urging the congregations to fulfill the principles of Judaism. He attributed their misfortunes to that, in their pride and arrogance, they had forgotten their ancestral land, building themselves palatial residences in alien countries, neglecting the Torah, and desecrating the Sabbath.

R. Abraham's works included Eshkol ha-Kofer, commentaries on the Five Scrolls (the commentary on Esther published in 1904, on Ruth published in 1908); Perush Eser Sefirot, on the ten Sefirot, extant in manuscript, which he wrote in Tlemcen. His lost works include commentaries on Job; on the commandments, Zeror ha-Kesef, which he wrote in his youth; Zeror ha-Hayyim, on tractate Avot; on Psalms; and a kabbalistic commentary on the daily prayers.

Marco Antonio Giustiniani was a Christian printer of Hebrew books in Venice in the 16th century. His master printer Cornelius Adelkind printed a fine edition of the Babylonian Talmud (1546–51). Soon, this very active press faced a formidable competitor in the house of Bragadini which issued Maimonides' Mishneh Torah, with the notes of R. Meir Katzenellenbogen. Giustiniani then printed the full text of that code without R. Meir's notes. The mutual recriminations that the rivals engaged in at the Papal Court ultimately resulted in the confiscation and burning of all Hebrew books (1553).

Paragraph 2    בשער: בשנת ש"ו לפ"ק בחדש תשרי. קולופון: ונשלם ספר צרור המור נדפס שנית היום יום ששי חמשת אלפים ושלש מאות וששה...
   CD-EPI 0153143; EJ; D W. Amram, Makers of Hebrew Books in Italy (1909).
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Listing Classification
16th Century:    Checked
Italy:    Checked
Kabbalah:    Checked
Language:    Hebrew
Manuscript Type
Kind of Judaica