Auction 78 Rare and Important Items
May 25, 2021
Israel
 8 Ramban St, Jerusalem.
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LOT 28:

Manuscript, Ir David, by R. David Oppenheim – Handwritten by the Author – Unpublished Work

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Manuscript, Ir David, by R. David Oppenheim – Handwritten by the Author – Unpublished Work
Manuscript, Ir David, compilation of teachings of the sages on Halachah and Aggadah, with novellae and explanations, by R. David Oppenheim. [Prague, ca. 1700s-1710s].
Manuscript of a monumental work authored by R. David Oppenheim, comprising a compilation of midrashim and teachings of the sages arranged according to topics, with the addition of novellae and commentaries. R. David did not succeed in bringing this work to print, and to date, it has not been published (see: Ch. Michel, Or HaChaim, Frankfurt, 1891, p. 315). Various parts of this work can be found in libraries around the world.
The work is named "Ir" (= city) and its entries are called "Batim" (= houses, the work is also called Sefer HaBatim – Book of Houses). A number of manuscripts produced by copyists exist, where the "Batim" are arranged in alphabetical order, and each of the "Batim" is divided into sub-sections named "Chadarim" (= rooms). The present manuscript is from the initial stage of writing, and the entries are not written in any special order. Large sections of this manuscript are handwritten by the author, and some sections were written by a copyist, at times with amendments and additions in the author's handwriting. Above each section, the author wrote the type of "Bayit" to which the section belongs.
In two places, the author refers to his other books. On p. [15a]: "See my book Yad David at length". On p. [33b], he mentions "my book Yalkut David, leaf 79".
Various novellae and short notes appear on the last leaves, later deleted (they were presumably copied elsewhere).
R. David Oppenheim (1664-1736) was a prominent leader in his times. Outstanding Torah scholar, rabbi and yeshiva dean, kabbalist and posek, wealthy and influential in the Emperor's court. He was a disciple of R. Gershon Ashkenazi, author of Avodat HaGershuni; of R. Yaakov Katz, father of the Chacham Zvi; and of R. Binyamin Epstein, author of Nachalat Binyamin. He had a close relationship with R. Yair Chaim Bacharach, author of Chavot Yair, and exchanged halachic correspondence with him. In 1690, while still in his twenties, he was appointed rabbi of Nikolsburg (Mikulov) and Moravia. Twenty years later, he was appointed rabbi of Prague, eventually serving as chief rabbi of Bohemia. He held this position for over 25 years until his death. He authored some twenty halachic and aggadic books, including Responsa Nish'al David. Only a few of his compositions were published. Exceptionally wealthy (he inherited his wealth from his father-in-law and from his uncle, R. Shmuel Oppenheim), he held close ties with the Emperor's court and with all the top governing officials. While his books remained in manuscripts, he was very supportive of Torah scholars and assisted them in printing their books. R. David dearly loved books and privately compiled the most important Jewish library in his times, containing thousands of volumes of rare books and manuscripts spanning many eras. After his death, his library was offered for sale and was purchased by the Oxford University Bodleian Library in England.
[80] written leaves (and many more blank leaves). 19 cm. Good condition. Some stains. Minor wear. New leather binding.

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