Auction No. 094

Rare Books & Manuscripts, Rabbinical letters, Zionism, Erez Israel, Judiaca objects & art, numismatics & archeology

July 19, 2016
Opening $ 1,500
Estimate $ 2,000 - $ 3,000
Sold for $ 4,148
Including buyer's premium

Pentateuch with haftarot and the five megillot and Yiddish translations. Vienna, 1815. With signature of Rabbi Elazar Flekeles, av"d of Vienna, and the censor signature of Karl Fischer.
163 [1], 43 leaves. 23 cm. Special copy used to swear in Jewish witnesses in a non-Jewish court. The Jews received special permission to swear on a Jewish Pentateuch. The details of this authorization are written and signed in this copy. 
The endpaper bears a German notation and signature by Karl Fischer, the royally approved censor, followed by the authorization and signature of Rabbi Elazar Flekeles, av"d of Prague. He notes that this book can be used by Jews when sworn in by a court. The document was signed in 1821.
As customary at the time, the Jews were instructed to place their hand between the leaves of the book and point to a specific verse during the oath. This copy marks two verses: leaf 58, p. 1 and the following page. For this purpose, numerical digits were handwritten alongside the Hebrew letters used for the original pagination on the pages of these oath verses.
Rabbi Elazar Flekeles [1754-1826] was a prominent disciple of the Noda B'Yehudah. He was a prominent scholar of his time and served for many years as av"d of Prague. He was known for his three-section set of responsa Teshuvah MiAhavah and other works. 
Karl Fischer, scholar and Hebraist [1757-1844], was an imperial censor and royal Hebrew editor and translator. He was a non-Jew who admired the Jewish nation and greatly respected Jews and rabbis. He had an affectionate relationship with the av"d of Vienna. Karl Fischer also signed on the title pages of the Noda B'Yehudah's works, and verbally expressed his opinion regarding the validity of the works. The censor was fluent in Hebrew and corresponded with Rabbi Elazar Flekeles in this language. In his Teshuvah MiAhavah [section 1, teshuvah 26], there is a lengthy teshuvah sent by Rabbi Fleckles to the censor regarding Jewish oaths on a holy book in gentile courts. 
Historic item, used by the public, but preserved in fine condition.
Original leather binding with blemished gilt spine. Very fine condition.