Anash.org Exclusive: A new feature will showcase a historic treasure from the Rebbe’s library each week, along with a video lecture by Chief Librarian Rabbi Berel Levine explaining the item’s history and significance. This week: The first dated Hebrew book to be published.
By Anash.org reporter
Thousands of priceless treasures lie on the shelves and safes of the Central Chabad Library, right next door to 770. The average chossid, however, won’t have the chance to see the most precious of them. Until now, that is.
A new series, launched by Anash.org in partnership with the Rebbe’s library, will showcase some of the most unique and historic books and items in the Rebbe’s library.
The items shown will be among the most precious, the ones that exist in few copies around the world, or only at the Rebbe’s library. Other items will be ones relating to Chabad history and give a window into how 7 generations of Rebbeim gathered seforim, manuscripts and artifacts to create what is today a prominent collection.
Accompanying each item will be a short lecture by Rabbi Berel Levine, Chief Librarian of the Rebbe’s library, scholar, researcher and author of numerous works on Chabad history, halacha and other topics.
Rabbi Levine will give a brief synopsis of the history and significance of each item, and when applicable, how the item fits into the bigger picture of Jewish history and the history of Chabad.
The first episode will showcase the very first dated Hebrew work to be published.
Printed in Regio di Calabria in 1475, Rashi al Hatorah was the first Hebrew work to be printed with a date, thus allowing us to ascertain when it was printed.
The book contains Rashi’s commentary on the Torah as a standalone volume, which was common during the incunabular period. It was only later that Chumashim were printed with Rashi’s commentary in the same volume.
Published by Abraham ben Garton ben Isaac, it was printed in the Hebrew press of Regio di Calabria, which was open for a very brief period of time.
The sefer is extremely rare with only a few known copies in existence. The Rebbe’s library has two leaves from the book, which were taken from the binding of later works, as detailed in Rabbi Levine’s lecture.
See an image of one of the leaves below, and watch the short lecture for some more information on the historic and priceless item.
VIDEO: Treasures from the Rebbe’s Library – Episode 1
Help the Rebbe’s library continue and expand its vital work by donating here.