SIDDUR (daily prayer-book of Shabbetai Sofer ben Isaac of Przemysl [d. after 1630] with vocalization). MANUSCRIPT ON PAPER
[Eastern Europe, early 17th century]
Principally 2o (300 x 180 mm).  + 233 leaves. Brown ink. Ashkenazic semi-cursive and cursive scripts. The printed title-page and the last page of the Hakdamah of the Lublin 1631 edition pasted onto the rectos and versos of the first leaf. The approbations preceding the text in various paper sizes and qualities. (Edges frayed, some browning and staining, some margins with old strengthening, with slight loss of individual letters in the commentary, some old silk restorations, generally in excellent condition.) Modern blind and gold-tooled brown morocco, two modern paper flyleaves at back and front.
Probably the original version dictated by the apparently blind author.
This Siddur, accompanied by a long introduction and a commentary, served as a model for accurate Siddurim. The author, a pupil of R. Mordecai Jaffe (c. 1535-1612), author of the Levush, was a noted grammarian and expert on vocalisation. He also had access to the now lost Siddur of R. Solomon Luria and quoted it often in this manuscript. Shabbetai Sofer was persuaded by the Rabbis of the Council of Three Lands to publish an authorized and accurate edition of the Siddur and it was printed in 1617 in Prague; apparently no copies of this edition are extant. Efforts to reprint the Siddur later met with only partial success and no complete edition based entirely on the early Siddur or on this manuscript has been published. Included in this manuscript is a title-page and, on the verso, an introduction from an edition dated Lublin 1628. It is not certain whether the Siddur itself was ever published, or whether the printer, Zevi ben Kalonymos Jaffe, produced the title-page alone.
The Siddur in this manuscript is fully vocalized, often with variations from the standard printed Siddurim, and includes signs for rafe and dageshim. Recently, an attempt has been made by Y. Satz to publish the entire manuscript with the complete array of vocalization, but so far only the introductions and the services for weekdays, Sabbaths and the Haggadah have appeared (Baltimore 1984-1994). A monograph, Shabbetai Sofer and his Prayer-book, by S.C. Reif, was also published (Cambridge 1979), and it includes the commentary on the Sabbath services. In 1877, B. Spiers published a Hagadah for Passover in London with vocalisation based on this manuscript. The introduction was published by A. Berliner, Abhandlung ber den Siddur des Schabtai ha-Sofer aus Przemysl (Frankfurt 1909).
The manuscript includes original approbations (haskamot) signed by leading 17th-century Rabbis: one, dated 1614, signed by Rabbis Jacob Koppel ben Asher Katz, Joshua Falk (Ba'al ha-Sema) and Moses Mordecai Hakohen; three approbations from 1617, signed by Benjamin Aaron Slonik (author of Mas'at Binyamin), Simeon Wolf ben David Tevele Auerbach (Rabbi in Przemysl and son-in-law of the Maharshal) and Alexander Suesskind ben Moses Hakohen; another signed by Nathan ben Solomon Spira (author of Megalleh Amukkot); an approbation from the Council of Three Lands in 1617 signed by Jacob Koppel ben Asher Katz (Rabbi in Przemysl and later in Cracow); another from the same year signed by Meshullam Feibush (teacher of Joel Sirkis), his son Samuel, Pinchas Halevi Horowitz (brother-in-law of R. Moses Isserles), Nathan Spira and Isaiah Horowitz (SheLaH); another signed by Joel Sirkis (author of the Bayit Chadash or Ba"ch), Samuel Eliezer Halevi (MAHARSHA), David ben Isaac, Alexander Suesskind ben Moses Hakohen, Joseph ben Matthathias Delacrut, Israel Aryeh ben Isaac and Solomon Ephraim Lunshits (author of Keli Yakar); another approbation from the Council of Three Lands in 1618 signed by the Maharsha, Sirkis and Alexander Suesskind, others from 1618 by Hayyim ben Isaac Hakohen and Abraham ben Joel Ashkenazi; another signed by Hayyim ben David Zechariah; another signed by Moses ben Israel, Isaac ben Nathan Spira (author of Mevo She'arim), Jacob Koppel, Solomon Charif, Samson Bochner, Ephraim Schor (author of Tevu'ot Shor), Isaac ben Jonathan, Jehiel ben Moses Jacob and Simeon Wolf Auerbach; another from 1618 signed by the scribe of Lublin, Benjamin Samuel, Meir ben David, the beadle of Lublin and Abraham ben Joel Ashkenazi.
There are also letters and approbations concerning the efforts of the author's grandson Shabbetai ben Moses Aryeh Leib to publish the Siddur in 1693-1704, including a letter by the same Shabbetai, an approbation written and signed by Meir Kahana, a mokhiach, or moral preacher, in Nikolsburg; another signed by the teacher of Shabbetai (the grandson), David Oppenheim, the famous rabbi and bibliophile of Prague, who was also in Nikolsburg, and an approbation signed by Saul of Cracow in 1704.
REFERENCES: Neubauer, no. 37, p. 13-14; Institute of Microfilmed Hebrew Manuscripts, Jerusalem, F 4705.