Page 20 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 28

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Prayer books with unauthorized changes were forbidden by rabbis.
In this group are
Liebliche Tephilla
by Aharon Shmuel Me-
Hergershausen, and
Gebetbuch fiir die offentliche und hausliche
Andacht der Israeliten
published by Meir Bresla and Zekel Frenkel
(Hamburg, 1841).
III. Erotica
Erotic literature was not often written by Jewish authors, but
the few books that appeared were banned. The Italian poet,
teacher, and philosopher, Immanuel ben Solomon Haromi, whose
collected verse in his
Mahbarot
included some of an erotic nature,
offended the rabbis by its “low” moral tone. The
Shulhan Arukh
(Orah Hayyim, Hilkhot Shabbat 307:16) speaks of the
Book of
Immanuel
as a classic example of a book which should remain
unread because of its immoral influence on the reader. It exhorts
publishers, printers, and copyists not to render a public disservice
by promulgating such literature. During the seventeenth century
Flor de Apollo
by Daniel Halevi Barrios was not permitted to
be printed in Amsterdam. The author, who belonged to sabbatian
circles, took this book and two other banned works,
Coro de las
Musas
and
Imperio de Dios en la Harmonia del Mundo,
to Brus-
sels, where it was printed in 1672.
IV. Economic Factors
In order to defend the copyright privileges of author and pub-
lisher, and to avoid unfair competition, the rabbis sometimes
intervened on behalf of both. When the two competing publishing
firms, Props of Amsterdam and Rabbi Meshullam Zalman ben
Aharon in Sulzbach, also Reuben Ram in Vilna and the Shapiro
brothers in Slavita, started to print the Talmud simultaneously,
one of the publishers was forbidden to print, to keep from flooding
the market, or the quantity of volumes was equitably distributed
among the publishers. The Council of Four Lands tried to allot
publication rights in this manner among the competing houses
of Poland.
To defend the author's rights a rabbi could issue a
herem
hagana
(ban defending copyright). In the publication of the
Mahzor by Anton Schmid, who was the official censor of Hebrew
books in Austria, the rabbi’s ban was not recognized by the secular
authorities. Having obtained permission to publish, Schmid chose
the Mahzor of Wolf Benjamin Heidenheim, printed in Rodelheim
in 1806 and recognized as the finest edition because of its scientific
approach. Heidenheim appealed to Rabbi Horovitz in Frankfurt
am Main to issue a
herem hagana.
The Rabbi complied with the
request but was overruled by the Austrian government.
In the text of the
haskamot,
the approval given a book by the