Page 19 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 39

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MEHLMAN / ANTIQUE HEBREW BOOKS
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with rare books. All o f the six small books which were p rin ted
there (mostly with translations into Malabari) have come down to
us only in a few copies. This small community did not requ ire its
own press and thus it lasted for only one year (1877).
(c)
Contents.
More than any o ther factor, it is extensive use
which causes books to deteriorate. O f three ra re prayerbooks in
my collection not one is complete. They comprise: a fragm en t o f a
Sephardic prayerbook, which includes Ibn Gabirol’s “Keter Mal-
khu t”; a prayerbook lacking a frontispiece, which was p rin ted in
Venice in 1564 at the press o f Christopholo de Zanetti; and the
first part o f
Siddur Tefillot Kol Ha-Shanah,
which was p rin ted by
the brothers Shelomo and Moshe Shimon in Salonika in 1610.
None o f these are recorded in any catalog.
Among the books tha t have d isappeared are prayerbooks
which follow rites tha t have fallen into disuse. T h e
Mahzor
Roumania
was p rin ted three times — twice in Constantinople
(1510; 1576-77), and once in Venice (between 1520-40). Only a
few copies are extant and as usual only in fragmentary form . Even
a later edition (and probably the last) o f a shorter collection o f
Romaniote prayers and penitential prayers, which was p rin ted in
Venice in 1665, is known to be extant in only a few copies.
The prayerbook according to the rite o f the community of
Aleppo was p rin ted bu t twice: in Venice, prior to 1548 and in
1560; only a few copies are extant o f both editions. For the most
part, they are all lacking leaves. Not only old books but even later
ones are scarce. T he Krimchaks twice p rin ted their prayers “ac­
cording to the rite o f Caffa and Krasov” — once in Kallo in 1735
and once in Mezyrow in 1792 — but only scattered copies are
available o f both editions.
Even editions o f prayerbooks tha t followed popu la r rites
(Sephardic, Ashkenazic and Italian), and especially those which
were p rinted in the 16th century, have partly o r entirely disap­
peared. Numerous liturgical works tha t were printed in the
17th-18th centuries, especially prayerbooks, selihot, haggadot,
kinot, grace after meals and hoshanot, have almost completely
been lost, and only few copies and sometimes isolated pages have
remained. Even the prayerbooks printed at the well-known press
o f Manasseh Ben Israel (17th century), which were highly re ­
garded and trea ted carefully, are very scarce today.