Auction 10 July 28, 2021 / י"ט אב, תשפ"א
Jul 28, 2021

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LOT 16:

Tractate Brachos. Prague, 1728. Special Edition Published by Rabbi Yonasan Eibschitz

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Tractate Brachos. Prague, 1728. Special Edition Published by Rabbi Yonasan Eibschitz

Tractate Brachos and Mishnayos Zeraiim with the commentaries of the great Achronim, includes a novel addition - the Rambam and his commentators relevant to Tractates Brachos and Zera’im.

This special edition was produced under Harav Yonasan Eibschitz due to the church's restrictions and censorship. (see below)

With novella on  Aggados of Chazal by Rabbi Yonasan  Eibschitz.

These novellae, which were printed anonymously, were actually the first of his works to be published. For many years they remained unknown and were only reprinted in our times. 


Prague, 1728. 67 leaves, [4]:,   Piskei HaRosh: 47 leaves, Seder Zeraim: 86 leaves, Mishneh Torah L’HaRambam: 125 leaves. Page size: 38 cm. Water stains. Last two pages professionally restored. few letters missing on final leaf. Antique wood binding Rare.

[Provenance: Mosad Harav Kook Collection, back binding label by Yehuda Leib HaCohen Fishman-Maimon. Signature of owners on last page: Moshe Anzel Taub Altendorf].

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The Story behind Harav Yonasan Eibschitz’s Tractate Brachos:

Life under Catholic Austrian rule was difficult for the Jews of Bohemia. The Church forbade the printing of the Talmud, and in Prague, where the church ruled with a heavy hand, it was illegal to even own a Talmud. 

Between 1712-1714, the Church confiscated all books belonging to Prague's Jews, leaving yeshivah students bereft of all their study texts. The venerable Roshei Yeshivah in Prague, Harav Avraham Broide and Harav Eliyahu Shapiro entreated the government to allow them to procure sfarim for the Yeshivah, yet they were unsuccessful.

Following intensive efforts by Harav Yonasan Eibschitz, a printing license was finally obtained from the government. 

In the introduction to his work he recounts, "I would come and go in the courtyards of the rulers and the Christian priests (may G-d have mercy) to debate with them on behalf of our Torah, and rulers would mock me…I was an advocate, bringing mysteries to light in order to clarify the words of Chazal…until… they allowed me to print books of Talmud, something they have never done before.”

The publication of the Talmud in Prague came along with the steep price of deletions and changes in order to meet the approval of the censors. This is why his sefer is called Hilchos Brachos as opposed to Tractate Brachos, so that it would not be known as "The Talmud."

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