Lot 12: Vayikra, Bamidbar and Devarim - With Translation into Three Languages - First Printing in Judeo-Persian - Constantinople, 1546 - Soncino Printing - Two Volumes
15 November 2016
Jerusalem, IsraelLive Auction
Description: Chumash with Rashi commentary and with translation into three languages: Aramaic (Onkelos), Judeo-Arabic and Judeo-Persian. [Constantinople, 1546. Printed by Eliezer son of Gershom Soncino]. Two volumes. One volume of Vayikra, one volume of Bamidbar-Devarim. This is a complete copy of Vayikra, and Bamidbar and Devarim lack about 20 leaves apiece. The Judeo-Arabic translation is the Tafsir of R. Se'adya Gaon, and the Judeo-Persian translation was done by R. Ya'akov son of R. Yosef Tawas. The translations were arranged around the text of the Scriptures [flanking it and above], and the Rashi commentary was printed below. R. Moses Hamon the physician brought this edition to print. He was a rabbi and sage and a prominent leader of the Constantinople community in his times. R. Moses was among the Jews expelled from Spain (born in Spain, he was one year old at the expulsion) and his family settled in Turkey. His father, R. Yosef, was the physician of the Turkish Sultan and after his father's death, R. Moses succeeded him as the personal physician of Sultan Salim I, and afterward as the physician of Suleiman I (Suleiman the Magnificent). He accomplished much on behalf of the Jews and was also active in convincing the Sultan to protect the Jews from blood libels by regulating that each such libel must be presented before the King and not in a regular court (see the book Divrei Yosef by Rabbi Yosef HaSambri). He established a Beit Midrash in Constantinople headed by R. Joseph Taitazak. In 1534, Sultan Suleiman I conquered Tabriz the Persian capital. One year later, the Sultan's army also conquered Baghdad. On his travels to Persia, the Sultan was accompanied by his personal physician, Rabbi Moses Hamon (in the book Shevet Yehuda by Rabbi Shlomo Ibn Virga, the author's son cites a story which happened to the Persian Jews in the name of the "High and lofty officer R' Moshe Hamon"). In Baghdad, R. Moses Hamon found a manuscript with a Judeo-Persian translation of the Torah by a Persian sage R. Ya'akov son of R. Yosef Tawas and took it with him to Constantinople, and brought it to print in this edition. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first time that the Persian language is printed in Hebrew letters (Judeo-Persian), and the first time that a Persian translation of the Torah has been printed. Two volumes. Approximately 28 cm. Vol. 1: Vayikra:  leaves. Fair condition. The inner margins of the leaves are restored by gluing paper throughout the book, sometimes affecting text. Five leaves have large open tears significantly affecting the text. Approximately, 20 leaves have small tears restored with paper filling, some with handwritten replacements of lacking text. Stains and dampstains. Vol. 2: Bamidbar:  leaves. Lacking 18 leaves.  leaves were replaced in Yemenite handwriting. Fair condition. Stains. Small tears to the margins of many leaves. Restored tears affecting text in about 10 leaves. Devarim:  leaves. Lacking 20 leaves. Fair condition. Stains, dampstains. Wear. About 10 leaves with glued tears and apparent, sometimes significant lack of text. Other leaves have small restorations. Provenance: Sassoon family collection.