ABUDARHAM, David ben Joseph (Spain, 14th century). Perush ha-Berakhot ve-ha-Tefillot (Commentary on the benedictions and the prayers). Lisbon: Eliezer [Toledano], 1 Tevet, 5250 (= 25 November 1489).
Chancery 2o (275 x 190 mm). Collation: [110 2-108 116 12-208 2110] (1/1r: blank; 1/1v: introduction by the author, surrounded by a very fine metalcut border of swirling white-vine foliage incorporating various stylized and mythical animals including a lion, bear, dog, deer, bird, unicorn and dragon, with a similarly decorated initial, produced by the Christian silversmith and printer Alfonso Fernandez de Crdoba of Hjar in Spain, also used in Hebrew Hjar editions of the printer Eliezer Alantansi in the years 1485-1490; 1/2r, col. 2, line 9: beginning of the commentary on the liturgy; 17/4r: beginning of the text on the calendar; 19/1r: beginning of the rules on benedictions; 21/10r: concluding poem by the author, concluding poem by the printer and colophon; 21/10v: blank). 170 leaves, unfoliated. Signed on rectos of first leaf of each bifolium (with some errors). Double column. 34 lines with headline and signature, 197 (207, 217) x 140 mm. Types: 1:230 H. (square) for titles and initial words; 2:117 H. (semi-cursive) for text, headlines and signatures. Type-rule diagrams on leaves 3/5v and 3/6r. Calendar tables on leaves 17/6r, 18/1r-v and 18/4r. A few printed line fillers. Paper: various stocks with hand-with-flower watermarks. (Some marginal dampstaining, worming in the last quires, affecting a few letters. Leaf 1/1 mounted, repairing a few marginal tears, with outer margins cut short, and bound in in reverse.) Modern blind and gold-tooled black morocco, two modern paper flyleaves at back and front.
PROVENANCE: On leaf 1/1r an extensive note by Abraham ben Gabriel Sarfati, dated Wednesday 20 Av 332 (= 30 July 1572), who bought this copy from a Christian named Christofel Sabal (the porter?) of Canaria(?). In the lower margins of quires 7 to 12 annotations in Hebrew by an early owner giving instructions on the proper order of the leaves, apparently intended for a Jewish binder.
FIRST EDITION, THE FIRST PRINTED COMMENTARY ON THE PRAYER-BOOK, AND THE SECOND BOOK PRINTED IN LISBON. Joseph ben David Abudarham (or Abudraham) finished his detailed commentary on the synagogue liturgy in Seville in 1340. In his commentary he traces the substantial local variations in prayer ritual in different countries, and expresses the fear that knowledge of the correct ritual is in decline. The commentary also includes calendrical and astronomical tables, and the last nine chapters are devoted to the laws on benedictions.
A line-by-line reprint of the Lisbon edition was published at Fez in Morocco in 1516 (i.e., 1521?) by printers who had learned the trade at Toledano's press. Other editions appeared in Constantinople (1513; Vinograd, Thesaurus, p. 603, no. 38), in Venice (1546 and 1566; Vinograd, Thesaurus, p. 248, no. 259, and p. 253, no. 512), and in Amsterdam (1726; Vinograd, Thesaurus, p. 59, no. 1270). S.A. Wertheimer published an edition with variant readings in Jerusalem in 1959 (21963), but a critical edition is still lacking.
A TALL COPY.
REFERENCES: Adler 17; Anselmo 5; GW 8160; CIBN Heb-50; Cowley p. 145; De-Rossi I, 28; Freimann 17; Goff Heb-36; Goldstein 92; Haebler BI 1; Hill 92; Iakerson 105, 106; IBH 1143; IDL 2435; IGI E 35; Madsen 1352, 4308; Marx 20; Mead 5287; Offenberg 1; Ohly-Sack 998, 999; Pellechet 4167; Proctor 9834; Sallander 2179; Steinschneider 4784, 1; Tamani (Parma) 33; Thesaurus B 19; Van Straalen p. 61; Wachstein 8; Walsh Heb-32; Zedner p. 806.