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Bidding Information
Lot #    21794
Auction End Date    11/18/2008 10:11:00 AM (mm/dd/yyyy)
          
Title Information
Title (English)    She’elot u’Teshuvot,
Title (Hebrew)    שאלות ותשובות - רלב'ח
Author    [First Ed.] R. Levi b. Habib
City    Venice
Publication Date    1565
          
Collection Information
Independent Item    This listing is an independent item not part of any collection
          
Description Information
Physical
Description
   First edition. [4], 206 [i.e.210], 217-328, [2] ff., 275:189 mm., wide margins, initial 8 and final 2 ff. repaired with loss of letters, usual light age and damp staining. A good copy bound in modern half leather and marbled paper boards.
          
Detailed
Description
   Responsa by R. Levi b. Habib (Ralbah; c. 1483–1545), rabbi in Jerusalem and principal opponent of the restoration of the semikhah. Levi b. Habib was born in Zamora, Spain, and in 1492 was taken to Portugal by his father, R. Jacob Ibn Habib. There he was forcibly baptized. Both he and his father escaped to Salonika where Levi received his education. He succeeded his father, teaching at the congregation of Spanish exiles, called Gerush Sefarad, in Salonika. Levi became famous as a talmudist, showing a preference for the use of literal meaning (peshat) as opposed to casuistry (pilpul). He never presented his own views unless they had been given by previous scholars. Levi admitted that he was not well versed in Kabbalah, but he was proud of his knowledge of astronomy. In order to atone for his baptism as a youth, he went to Erez Israel, traveling via Asia Minor, Aleppo, and Damascus. He first settled in Safed and later moved to Jerusalem. For 15 years he officiated there, instituting as rabbi various new regulations for the community. At that time, there was no "ordained" (Heb., samukh) bet din, like the ancient Sanhedrin, i.e., one which was authorized to sentence to punishment by lashes (malkot), prescribe fines, and determine the intercalation of months. Therefore the rabbis of Safed decided to restore the ancient semikhah and chose R. Jacob Berab to ordain rabbis and act as a judge. This act was of great significance, as the ordination was to be reestablished only in messianic times, and it also marked the supremacy of the Safed rabbis. Levi b. Habib refused to accept the authority of Berab and accused the latter of disgracing the honor of Jerusalem. A violent controversy ensued whose details are recalled in an appendix entitled Semikhat Zekenim o Kunteres ha-Semikhah ("Ordination of the Elders or Pamphlet Concerning Ordination") printed at the end of Levi's responsa (Venice, 1565). The volume also contains Levi's commentary on Maimonides' Hilkhot Kiddush ha-Hodesh. In addition to responsa, he completed and published the second part of his father's Ein Ya'akov.
          
Paragraph 2    ... המחבר... רבנא לוי ן' חביב זלה"ה (שהדפסנו אותו במצות הישיש ונבון הה"ר אברהם ן' היני יצ"ו מתושבי מצרים)...

ספירת דפים משובשת. דף רמח, ב-רעו: "פירות שביעית", חשבון שנת השמיטה; פירוש הלכות קידוש החודש לרמב"ם וחשבון תקופות ומולדות, בצרוף טבלאות וצורות הנדסיות. דף רעז-שכח: "קונטרס הסמיכה": "ויכוח שעבר בין חכמי צפת [ובראשם ר' יעקב בירב] וחכמי ירושלים [ובראשם המחבר] מענין הסמיכה". בספר ישנן הערות רבות ממגיה אנונימי. כפי הנראה תחילה נדפס הספר עם הערותיו של מגיה זה ואחר כך הדפיסו דפים רבים מחדש ושינו או השמיטו את ההערות הללו. לפיכך יש הבדלים רבים בין טפסים שונים של הספר, השונים זה מזה במספר הדפים החדשים שצורפו אליהם, ועוד. על שינויים בין הטפסים השונים: שינויים בטכסט, ההגהות ארוכות ורבות בהרבה מאשר באחרים וכן נסדרו דפים מחדש, עיין: י' ריבקינד, דקדוקי ספרים - קרית ספר, י, תרצ"ג-תרצ"ד, עמ' 493-492, מס' 8; הנ"ל, ספר היובל לכבוד אלכסנדר מארכס, נוירק תש"י, עמ' תיט-תך, מס' 23; י' יודלוב, גנזי ישראל, ירושלים תשמ"ה, עמ' 120-119, מס' 715.

          
Reference
Description
   Frumkin-Rivlin, index; Rosanes, Togarmah, 2 (1938), 156–8; Y.R. Molho, in: Hemdat Yisrael … H.H. Medini (1946), 33–42; Y. Katz, in: Zion, 16 (1950/51), 28–45; M. Benayahu, in: Sefer Yovel … Y. Baer (1960), 248–69; EJ; CD-EPI 0176509
        
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Listing Classification
Period
16th Century:    Checked
  
Location
Italy:    Checked
  
Subject
Responsa:    Checked
  
Characteristic
First Editions:    Checked
Language:    Hebrew
  
Manuscript Type
  
Kind of Judaica