Auction 78 Rare and Important Items
May 25, 2021
 8 Ramban St, Jerusalem.
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LOT 11:

Siddur Tefillat Yisrael – Jerusalem, 1842 – First Siddur Printed in Jerusalem

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Siddur Tefillat Yisrael – Jerusalem, 1842 – First Siddur Printed in Jerusalem
Siddur Tefillat Yisrael, Sephardi-rite, with laws, piyyutim and supplications. Jerusalem: R. Yisrael Bak, 1842. The first siddur to be printed in Jerusalem.
The title page lauds the superiority and sanctity of the book, which was printed in Jerusalem in absolute holiness, and "all those involved in this holy production were Jewish".
Many approbations from Sephardi Torah scholars of Jerusalem, Safed, Tiberias and Hebron, and from Ashkenazi Torah scholars of Jerusalem (Rebbe Aharon Moshe of Brody, R. Yeshaya Bardaki son-in-law of R. Yisrael of Shklow and R. Moshe Rivlin Doresh LeTzion – the Maggid of Shklow). The "approbation" of Jerusalemite rabbis printed on the verso of the title page is an authorization from the end of 1840 granting R. Yisrael Bak the exclusive rights to print books in Jerusalem. Additional approbation from the rabbis of Jerusalem (dated Iyar 1842) on leaf 3.
In his introduction, the printer recounts of the ordeals he underwent in Safed: "After all the travails that befell me – pestilence, sword, and hunger… a great earthquake… I was compelled to ascend to the mountain and I have established my dwelling here… Jerusalem". He thanks Yosef Amzalag "who assisted me in printing the siddur".
The renowned printer R. Yisrael Bak (1797-1874), a disciple of leaders of the Chassidic movement, Rebbe Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev and R. Yisrael of Ruzhin. Born in Berditchev, he was involved in the printing profession already in his youth, and in 1815, he established the (second) printing press in Berditchev, where he printed some 26 books before immigrating to Eretz Israel. Reputedly, he designed the Slavita typeface. Following his immigration to Eretz Israel, ca. 1831, he settled in Safed, where he established a printing press which operated for a short while, until the great 1837 earthquake which completely destroyed the town. In 1840 he established a printing press in Jerusalem – the first printing press in Jerusalem to print Hebrew books and the only press in the city until the 1860s.
Regarding R. Yisrael Bak and his printing press in Safed and Jerusalem, see: Sh. HaLevy, Sifrei Yerushalayim HaRishonim, Jerusalem 1976, pp. 15-27; Meir Benayahu, R. Yisrael Bak's Printing Press in Safed and the Beginning of Printing in Jerusalem, Areshet, IV, Jerusalem 1966, pp. 271-295.
Signature on title page: "Yaakov de Pinto".
152 leaves. Approx. 15 cm. Most leaves in good condition. Many stains, large stains and wear to some leaves. Several tears. Several leaves with many creases (one leaf partially detached). Old binding, with damaged leather spine.
Third Hebrew book printed in Jerusalem. Sh. HaLevy, no. 4 (apart from the two books which preceded it, HaLevy lists another publication: Broadside for righteous women in Eretz Israel and abroad, ibid. no. 2).