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Bidding Information
Lot #    22025
Auction End Date    11/18/2008 12:06:00 PM (mm/dd/yyyy)
Title Information
Title (English)    Bikkur Ya’akov
Title (Hebrew)    בכור יעקב
Author    [Only Ed.] R. Jacob ben Abraham Cohen
City    Djerba
Publisher    David Aydan
Publication Date    1912
Collection Information
Independent Item    This listing is an independent item not part of any collection
Description Information
   Only edition. [21], 60 ff. ff. quarto 225:165 mm., wide margins, usual age staining, stamps. A very good copy bound in later boards.
   Discourses for Shabbat and mo’edim, hagim and zemanim by R. Jacob ben Abraham Cohen (1852-1909). The discourses are also for teshuvah and good deeds, Torah, and the virtues of the righteous. Included in the discourses are many dinnim, in both Hebrew and Judeo-Arabic. There are numerous approbations, listings of those who helped finance publication, an index, and the text. The discourses are in rabbinic letters. The halakhot, which include Purim and Pesah, are in two columns, both in square Hebrew letters, the inner in Hebrew, the outer, in a larger font, in Judeo-Arabic.

Djerba is an island off the coast of Tunisia. In ancient times it was an important Phoenician trading center. According to the local tradition, the Jewish settlement there is very old. It maintains that the Jews came there during the reign of Solomon and founded the present al-Hāra al-Kabīra (the "Big Quarter"). A family of priests fleeing Jerusalem in the year 70 C.E. is said to have transported one of the Temple gates to Djerba. It is believed to be enclosed in the Bezalel synagogue, known as al-Gharība (the "extraordinary") of the Hāra al-Saghīra (the "Small Quarter"), which is situated in the center of the island. The Gharība was a much frequented place of pilgrimage. The Jewish population consisted mainly of kohanim (priests) with a small sprinkling of others, although there were no levites among the residents. According to tradition, the absence of levites on the island is the result of a curse against them by Ezra because they refused to answer his request to send levites to Erez Israel (cf. Ezra 8:15), and they all died. The history of the Jews of Djerba includes three serious persecutions: in the 12th century under the Almohads; in 1519 under the Spanish; and in 1943 under the Nazis. In 1239 a colony of Jews from Djerba settled in Sicily, where they obtained concessions to cultivate henna, indigo, and the royal palm groves. It was common for the male Jewish population of Djerba to look for livelihood abroad, but they kept returning to the island, where their families had remained. Exchange of goods with Malta and Italy was in the hands of the Jews, who grew the products and processed the commodities for export themselves. Maimonides, in a letter to his son, expressed a low opinion of their superstitions and spiritual capacity, but praised them for their faith. In the 19th and 20th centuries the yeshivot of Djerba produced many rabbis and writers and they provided rabbis for the communities of North Africa. In 1976, some 300 youngsters received Jewish education. In the early 1990s, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee provided funding for Jewish education (including a girls' school) with a combined enrollment of 245. David Idan established a Hebrew printing press in Djerba in 1903, and many books, mainly Passover *Hagaddot and liturgical items, were printed there. In 1946 there were some 4,900 Jews in Djerba, settled in al-Hara al-Saghīra, al-Hāra al-Kabīra, and Houmt-Souk, the principal town of the island. Their number dwindled to about 1,500 by the late 1960s, about 1,000 in 1976, 800 in 1984, and 670 in 1993, the majority immigrating to Israel and settling in moshavim (many of them on moshav Eitan) or reaching France. Those remaining dealt in jewelry and commerce, but the Jewish neighborhoods lost their purely Jewish character as Muslims moved in and the community was the victim of several anti-Jewish incidents. In October 1980 a Jewish boy was sentenced to five years in prison (but released two months later) for destroying an Islamic religious manual during a 1978 schoolyard scuffle. Following the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982, Jewish homes and shops in Djerba were ransacked and set on fire on Yom Kippur and several Jews were injured. The Tunisian government encourages the annual Lag ba-Omer pilgrimage to al-Gharība as a tourist attraction, even inviting Tunisian Jews from Israel to participate in May 1993. But al-Gharība suffered several attacks, with the pilgrimage temporarily decreasing. On May 9, 1979, a fire (labeled by the government an "accident") broke out, destroying seven Torah scrolls, the ark, and prayer books. During the Simhat Torah prayers in October 1985, a Tunisian guard, posted by the government for protection, shot at the congregation, killing five (including a policeman) and wounding eleven. He was convicted and sentenced to a mental institution. On April 11, 2002, a natural gas truck exploded at the outer wall of al-Gharība, killing 21, mostly German tourists, with a group linked to al-Qaeda claiming responsibility.

Paragraph 2    דרושים לשבתות ולמועדים... לתשובה... לתורה ולמעלות הצדיקים. עם כמה מוסרים ודינים בלשוננו העבריה... והשפה הערבייה [באותיות עבריות]... אשר בטא בשפתיו ברוב עם... ר' יעקב הכהן זצוק"ל אשר הרביץ תורה ... וישמש בכתר הרבנות פה העירה בק"ק אלחארה אלכבירה... ובסופו מי מנוחות, לימוד לפקודת השנה (מצאתי בכ"י... ר' אברהם ברוך [הכהן])... וארוכה ומרפא, (נוסח תפיל') למי שיש לו חולה או איזה צר ומצוק... להגאון חיד"א [ר' חיים יוסף דוד אזולאי, מספרו יוסף תהלות]... שנת ת'ע'ר'"ב'

בראשי העמודים: מעיל יעקב ח"ג. [1,ב-13] דף: רשימת ספרי המחבר, הסכמות, "דיני מדפיסי ספרים" ו"מבוא" מאת ר' [כלפון] משה ב"ר שלום הכהן ("המנהל" את הוצאת הספר), "הקדמת העורך והמעתיק" ר' שאול מקיקץ השלי, ועוד. דפים אלו ממש נמצאים גם בראש ספרו "מעיל יעקב". דף כט-מ,א: דיני בדיקת חמץ (מצת מצוה, הגעלה, עירובי תבשילין, כבוד מועד ודיני הסדר)... מספר ערבי פסחים... [מאת] ר' שאול [ב"ר מוסא] הכהן ... והנו בכתובים. דף מד, ב-מו: דיני חג השבועות... מפי סופרים ומפי ספרים... המ"ך [הצעיר כלפון משה כהן]. דף נז: קינים ונהי... אל הלקח...ר' יעקב שאול אלישר, [מאת] משה הכהן המכונה כ'לפ'ון כהן. הקינה פותחת: ראש גולתי נשיא עירי וגדולי. רעה נאמן בהר ציון זבולי. דף נט, א: הערות והגהות... ר' משה זקן מאגוז.

   EJ; CD-EPI 0140445
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Listing Classification
20th Century:    Checked
Other:    Tunis
Homiletics:    Checked
First Editions:    Checked
Language:    Hebrew, Judeo-Arabic
Manuscript Type
Kind of Judaica