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Levush Malkhut, R. Mordehai Jaffa, Cracow 1599

ספר לבוש הבוץ וארגמן - First Edition - Rare - Women

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  • Lot Number 54191
  • Title (English) Levush Malkhut
  • Title (Hebrew) ספר לבוש הבוץ וארגמן
  • Note First Edition - Rare - Women
  • Author R. Mordehai Jaffa
  • City Cracow
  • Publisher דפוס יצחק בן אהרן מפרוסטיץ
  • Publication Date 1599
  • Estimated Price - Low 1,000
  • Estimated Price - High 3,000

  • Item # 2554119
  • End Date
  • Start Date

Physical Description:

First edition, Part 4, 8-126 ff., folio, 300:190 mm., wanting title and initial 6 ff., wide margins, corners rounded, light age and damp staining, old hands and stamps, bound in later boards, rubbed.



Detailed Description:   

Part four of the Levush dealing with laws of the Even Ezer, pertaining to women.

The "Levush" is the achievement with which R. Jaffe's name is principally associated, and he is best known as the "ba'al ha-Levushim" ("the author of the 'Levushim'"). It is a rabbinical code, arranged in the order adopted in the Turim and the Shulhan Arukh, and divided into five parts. The titles of the work and its various parts were derived by R. Mordecai, with allusion to his own name, from Esther viii. 15. The reason advanced by R. Jaffe for the compilation of the work was his desire to give a digest of the latest decisions and minhagim, mainly those of German and Polish authorities and including those of his teachers, in order to shorten the course in his yeshiva (introduction). The appearance of R. Joseph Caro's "Bet Yosef" appended to the Turim was hailed with joy as a great event in rabbinical circles. Even R. Jaffe thought, at the time, that this work was final. The "Bet Yosef," however, was too scientific and voluminous for the general use of an ordinary rabbi. R. Jaffe was on the point of publishing his work, when R. Caro anticipated him with the Shulhan Arukh, to which R. Isserles later added annotations and the minhagim prevailing in Germany, Poland, and Russia. The two extremes presented by the copiousness of the "Bet Yosef" and the brevity of the Shulhan Arukh left many dissatisfied, and R. Jaffe accordingly continued his work on his own lines, avoiding both the exuberant, argumentative style and the too terse and legal manner of R.Caro. Another advantage possessed by the "Levush" was that it included parts of the Turim omitted by R. Caro, and the latest minhagim collected by R. Isaac Tyrnau. The "Levush," while its author was alive, enjoyed great popularity; but after his death R. Caro's code gradually superseded it, not only in the Orient but also in Europe, for the reason that the rabbis were obliged to consult the "Bet Yosef" for the sources, while the layman was content with the shorter Shulhan Arukh.

R. Mordecai b. Abraham Jaffe (c. 1535–1612), talmudist, kabbalist, and communal leader. Born in Prague, R. Jaffe was sent as a boy to Poland to study under R. Solomon Luria and R. Moses Isserles. There he devoted himself also to the study of astronomy and philosophy (apparently at the instance of R. Isserles). At the same time he studied Kabbalah under R. Mattathias b. Solomon Delacrut. After a few years he returned to Prague, where in 1553 he was appointed head of the yeshiva. Very soon he discovered that the students were not interested in mere understanding of the Talmud but preferred "pilpul" and "were turning the word of the living God into false, corrupt, and evil words" (Preface to his Levush Malkhut). R. Jaffe chose therefore "to minimize the time spent with these students" and applied himself to writing constructive books. He was head of the yeshiva in Prague until 1561, when, by order of the emperor Ferdinand, the Jews were expelled from Bohemia. Jaffe then went to Venice and studied astronomy (1561-71). In 1572 he was elected rabbi of Grodno; in 1588, rabbi of Lublin, where he became one of the leaders of the Council of Four Lands. Later R. Jaffe accepted the rabbinate of Kremenetz. In 1592 he was called as rabbi to Prague; from 1599 until his death he occupied the position of chief rabbi of Posen.


Hebrew Description:

ספר לבוש מלכות : חברו ... ר’ מרדכי יצ"ו נקרא יפה. בו ילביש ערומים בעשרה לבושי קדש: בחמשה הראשונים מהם הוא מלביש מערומי כל המתפרנסים וסמוכים על שולחני ... רבינו יוסף קארו ... ורבינו ... משה איסרלז [בספרם שולחן ערוך], שתים מהם הם ביאורי ולבושי התורה, האחת בפשטיה והשני בדרשותיה. ועוד ... ביאורים והקדמות לחכמות ... מחקריות תכוניות וקבלות ... א-י.

מהקדמת המחבר: "נתפשטו בעולם ... ספרי ... רבינו יוסף קארו .. ורבי ... ר’ משה איסרלז ... אשר קראו שמו שלחן ערוך ... ופסקי הדינים בלא טעמים ... השמיטו כמה דינים ... הכתובים בדברי ... הטורים [לר’ יעקב ב"ר אשר] ובדברי ב"י [בית יוסף] ... על כן אמרתי ... להעתיק כל דין ודין על בוריו ושלא להשמיט שום דבר ממה שהשמיטו ... בדקדוקיהם ובטעמיהם ... אף גם זאת ... יצאתי בעקבי המשבי’ [ר’ יוסף קארו] ... לעשות סעיפין בכל סימן וסימן במניינ’ ובמספרם ולא ... להמעיט או להוסיף על סעיפיו. ואף כי הוספתי בדברים בכמה דינים שהיו ראויין להחלק לסעיפים יותר על הראשונים, אמרתי יגדלו ויתעבו הסעיפים... שלא להרבות על הסעיפים הראשונים... קראתי שם הספ’ הזה לבוש המלכות... וחלקתיו לשמנה בגדים (והלבוש השמיני ... חלקתיו לשלשה חלקים)"

לכל חלק ("לבוש") שער מיוחד.

ד: לבוש הבוץ והארגמן ... דיני סדר נשים המבוארי’ בטור אבן העזר. קראקא, דפוס יצחק בן אהרן מפרוסטיץ, מה נעשה י’ק’ר’ ו’ג’ד’ו’ל’ה למרדכי על זה [שנ"ט]. קכו דף.


Bibliography of the Hebrew Book 1470-1960 #000136560; R. M. Amsel, "Mi-Toledotav shel Rabbenu ha-Levush" in: Mordecai Jaffe, Levush Malkhut, 2 (Levush ha-Hur; 1964); Graetz-Rabbinowitz, 7 (1899), 350–5, 429–34; S. A. Horodezky, Le-Korot ha-Rabbanut (1911), 145–74; S. M. Chones, Toledot ha-Posekim (1910), 314–8; S. B. Nissenbaum, Le-Korot ha-Yehudim be-Lublin (1900), 25–27; Waxman, Literature, 2 (1960), 150–2; EJ; JE