Page 24 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 39

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JEWISH BOOK ANNUAL
on the occasion o f his marriage to Shulamit Feigenberg,” again in
50 copies. Both books were magnificently p rinted . T he custom o f
issuing limited editions o f books and brochures to mark family
occasions like a bar-mitzvah o r wedding has become quite com­
mon.
At times various responsa, in which only a few parties were
involved, were p rin ted in a limited num ber o f copies. A b rochu re
containing the responsa o f Rabbi Samuel Azariah Rodelsom was
apparently p rin ted in about 20 copies (probably Amsterdam ,
1898). A “reco rd” was reached when S.Y. Agnon issued his tale
Ha-Mitpahat
(The Kerchief) in 13 copies (Jerusalem, 1933).
In recent decades a number o f books have been issued as
bibliophilic items in limited editions. Various handsome books o f
this type have been published by Mosad Bialik in Jerusalem . Some
time ago the poet Yonathan Ratosh issued a collection o f poems,
Shire Herev
, as a collectors’item in 180 copies. Occasionally, poetry
collections o f unknown poets who later achieve fame — du ring
the ir lifetime or posthumously — become valuable as first ed i­
tions. For example, David Vogel’s
Lifne Ha-Shaar Ha-Afel
(In
Front o f the Dark Gate, Vienna, 1923).
It is most difficult to obtain the original edition o f some books.
For example, two pages dealing with circumcision were removed
for reasons o f propriety from Jacob
Emderis Migdal Oz
(Altona,
1748), and a single, d ifferen t page was substituted. T he original
text was retained only in a few copies. An original copy o f the
book
Me’or Einayim
by Azariah de Rossi (Mantova, 1574) is quite
scarce. In o rde r to meet criticism, six pages were substituted by
the author, who was unde r attack by fanatic rabbis, and the
original pages are unavailable. Again, additional pages were
printed at the end o f part two, and only two copies o f this edition
are known. All the large public libraries lack a complete original
copy of this book.6
6 A copy is now found in the Mehlman Collection, at the Jewish National and
University Library, Jerusalem.