Page 191 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 44

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Troyes and supercommentaries on his commentary, and an early
19th century manuscript o f the commentary on the Song o f
Songs by Elijah Gaon o f Wilna.
The holdings o f the Lowy Collection encompass a very large
number o f works relevant to the intellectual and cultural history
o f the entire Sephardic and oriental Jewish world. Hundreds o f
authors and rare editions from Spain, Portugal, Holland, North
Africa, Greece, Turkey, and the Orient (Baghdad, Calcutta, and
Bombay) are found in the collection, as well as a considerable
portion o f Sephardic printing in Italy (especially from Leghorn),
many o f these works first or unique editions. The oldest Hagga-
dah in the collection is the edition with the commentary o f
Abravanel printed in Constantinople in 1505, being one o f the
first books ever printed outside Europe. Another item o f note is
the Sephardic prayer book published in Jerusalem in 1842, the
first Jewish prayer book printed in the Holy Land. Editions o f
many other rabbinic works composed in Spain (as well as
Provence and medieval France) are also held in the collection.
Among the more important Sephardic works printed in western
Europe is the 17th century geometrical-astronomical treatise by
Delmedigo o f Candia, published by Menasseh Ben Israel
(Amsterdam, 1629), and the latter’s own
in Spanish
(Frankfurt, 1632). Many volumes in the collection bear the auto­
graphs o f famous scholars, often Sephardic, particularly from
North Africa and the Levant.
The literary productivity o f Sephardic Jewry in the Ottoman
Empire is amply represented in commentaries and responsa
printed over a period o f four centuries in Istanbul, Salonika and
Izmir. Perhaps most important, however, is the practically com­
plete collection o f the works o f Hayyim Palaggi, Hakham Bashi o f
Izmir during the middle o f the 19th century, given to the
National Library in 1979 as a special gift from Mr. Lowy. One o f
the most prolific rabbinic authors o f Sephardic Jewry, Palaggi
published over seventy separate works, almost all o f which are
held in the Lowy Collection, constituting the most complete col­
lection o f his works in the western world. Printed between 1821
and 1891, primarily in Izmir and Salonika, Palaggi’s writings
include legal responsa, biblical, talmudic, and liturgical commen­