[Book List]  

PLEASE NOTE: All bidding for the auction currently underway
at our new website at www.virtualjudaica.com/

Bidding Information
Lot #    21955
Auction End Date    11/18/2008 11:31:30 AM (mm/dd/yyyy)
Title Information
Title (English)    She'elot u'Teshuvot She'erit Yosef
Title (Hebrew)    שאלות ותשובות שארית יוסף
Author    [First Ed.] R. Joseph b. Mordecai Gershon Katz
City    Cracow
Publisher    Isaac ben Aaron Prostitz
Publication Date    1589-90
Collection Information
Independent Item    This listing is an independent item not part of any collection
Description Information
   First edition. 92, [1, 1 blank], 32 ff., 192:144 mm., wide crisp margins, old hands on title, usual age staining, few minor pin-size holes. A very good copy of a very rare book bound in contemporary hand tooled boards, rubbed, recent leather spine. The center [1] f. with responsa is generally not present as it was printed after the completion of the book and not added to all copies. This copy has 1 of the 2 ff. followed by an uncalled for blank page.
   Responsa and novellae by R. Joseph b. Mordecai Gershon Katz of Cracow (1510-1591), one of the preeminent scholars of sixteenth-century Polish Jewry. Katz was the brother­in-law of R. Moses Isserles (Rema), his sister being Rema's second wife, and served as a Rosh Yeshiva in Cracow for more than fifty years. He was a dayyan there together with Rema and R. Moses Landau, and was a leader of the Va'ad Arba Aratzot (Council of the Four Lands). Queries were submitted to him from other lands, such as Italy and Turkey. Among those who turned to him are Isserles, R. Solomon Luria (Maharshal), and R. Meir Katzenellenbogen (Maharam). R. David Gans (Zemah David, I 391) described R. Katz as hav­ing four crowns, that of Torah, priesthood, greatness, and a good name.

The title page has an architectural frame and states that it includes novellae on the Mordekhai for selected tractates and on the Tur Hoshen Mishpat. Work on the volume began on Tuesday, 12 T evet, in the year, " [and he shall give strength to his king], and exalt the horn 1ip (350 = December 19, 1589) of his anointed" (I Samuel 2: 10). The colophon dates the completion of the book to Monday, "Only good :m!l (17th)" (Psalms 23:6; 73: 1; and Proverbs 11 :23) in the eleventh month (Adar), "and exalt the horn 1ip (February 21, 1590) of his anointed," which in fact occurred on a Wednesday that year.

The author's introduction is on the verso of the title page. R. Katz, due to his great humil­ity, did not wish to publish any of his writings, for, as he states, he did not write this for any honor, but did so in response to the urging of the Cracow community, which he had served for forty-nine years. Near the end of the introduction R. Katz writes that he is old and his sons and grandsons pressed him to publish. The book is entitled She'erit Yosif, based on the verse,

"Hate the evil, and love the good, and establish justice in the gate; it may be that the Lord God of hosts will be gracious to the remnant of Joseph (she'erit Yosef)" (Amos 5: 15), that it should be for me for a sign, a remembrance, and a remnant, and perhaps it will fulfill for me, "[And the roof of your mouth like the best wine for my beloved, that goes down sweetly,] causing the sleepers' lips to murmur" (Song of Songs 7: 10). And praise to God, with the help of HaShem I will have a remnant and a goodly remembrance from children and grandchildren for ever.

The introduction is followed by a listing (2a-4a) of the responsa, and then, to 92a, the responsa. After the responsa, with a new enumeration, are the novellae on tractates in the Mordekhai and Hoshen Mishpat. The text is in two columns in rabbinic type, the introduc­tion and headings are in square type, and the initial words of the novellae are in orna­mental letters. The listing enumerates seventy-six responsa, but they are preceded by one unnumbered responsum. The responsa cover a wide variety of subjects, such as festivals, marital issues, and inheritance, but are primarily concerned with commercial issues. Katz was generally stringent in his rulings, but also fearless. He also annotated the Sifer ha­Aguddah (Cracow, 1571) of R. Alexander Suslin ha-Kohen (above, pp. 614-15).

Paragraph 2    וביאורי' על המרדכי מסדר נזיקין ומסכת ברכות ועל הלכות קטנות וסדר מועד ועל טור חשן המשפט, אשר אזן וחקר ... ר' יוסף בן כהר"ר מרדכי גרשון כ"ץ זצ"ל יצ"ו. ונקרא בשם שארית יוסף ... שנת וירם ק'ר'"ן' משיחו

בסוף המפתחות נדפסה תשובה, שנוספה בסוף ההדפסה ואינה כלולה בסימני הספר. [2] דף: ארבע תשובות שנוספו אחר גמר הדפסת הספר. כנראה הוסיפו דפים אלא רק לטפסים מעטים. התשובות הללו לא נדפסו בהוצאות הבאות, פרט להוצאת ניו יורק תשמ"ד. על הטופס המיוחד שבו תוספת התשובות, עיין: י' יודלוב, גנזי ישראל, מס' 724. דף כא: "סמני דפים בטור חשן המשפט בדפוס גדול שנדפס [בסביוניטה] שי"ט לפק עם הבית יוסף". דף א (מן הספירה השנייה): "סמני הדפים מהביאור למרדכי לפי דפוס הנדפס רפ"ב לפ"ק בויניצא".

   Heller 16th Century Book pp. 776-777; CD-EPI 0135511
Associated Images
3 Images (Click thumbnail to view full size image):
  Order   Image   Caption
  1   Click to view full size  
  2   Click to view full size  
  3   Click to view full size  
Listing Classification
16th Century:    Checked
Russia-Poland:    Checked
Responsa:    Checked
First Editions:    Checked
Language:    Hebrew
Manuscript Type
Kind of Judaica