Sunday, May 7, 2017

Zolkiew Hebrew and Yiddish Imprints

        These items are available only through direct sale and are not listed on our website ( at this time. Orders can be placed by email at or phone number 415-831-3228.
Zolkiew's old synagogue.
                  Zolkiew, or Zhovkva in Yiddish was the one of the first places in Poland where Hebrew printing was done. In point of fact Lublin and Cracow  began printing 1530 and 1647 respectively  The first book printed in Zolkiew was in 1666, but printing there did not become established until the 1690s.  "In 1693 [Uri] Phoebus opened a printing-house at Zolkiev, and there printed calendars and ritual and Judæo-German works till 1705." JE. Phoebus had come to Poland from Amsterdam where he felt constrained by the competition among Hebrew printers. He returned to Amsterdam, but members of his family continued to print in Zolkiew for several generations.
                 The establishment of printing in Zolkiew in the early period had royal sanction "Due to restrictions imposed at the end of the 17th century by the Council of Four Lands on printers Hebrew books, for nearly 80 years, Zhovkva was the only centre of Jewish printing industry in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. This changed only after the dissolution of the Council of Four Lands in 1764. The Zhovkva Jewish printing house was famous all over the world and the city became the third centre of Jewish printing in the country (after the previously closed printing houses in Lublin and Krakow). It published traditional religious literature, as well as disputes on the nature of the theology by authors submitting their works from different countries. Descendants of Uri Phoebus (with surnames: Madfes, Mann, Letteris, and Meirhoffer) owned the printing house until the end of the 18th century. The house of Uri Phoebus, where the printing press operated, is located at the market square (Vicheva Square 7)." (Site does not list sources, but is much more reliable than Jewish Virtual Library which is riddled with errors on Zolkiew printing.)
                The economic status of Zolkiew suffered under Austrian rule following the first partition of Poland in 1772. "The virtual monopoly that Żółkiew enjoyed with respect to Jewish printing in the course of the 1700s waned in the latter decades of that century. A printing operation appeared in Oleksinets in 1760. Hebrew printers, mainly with small firms, emerged in the 1780s in such places as Luts’k, Nowy Dwór, Lwów, Mezkorov, Szkłów, Poryck, and Grodno in addition to Korets. In the 1790s, Warsaw, Vilna, Dubno, Połonne, Slavuta, and Ostróg also became centers for printing." Ze'ev Gries in Yivo Encyclopedia - Printing and Publishing Before 1800 (This is a very well-sourced article.) Zolkiew remained an active site of publishing at least into the 1860s. 
              Important intellectual figures in Zolkiew in this period include Nachman Krochmal and Zvi Chayes. It was a Mitnagdim center though there was significant Hasidic activity in the areas around it. Though the quality of Hebrew printing is not considered to be as good as that the of the earlier era Zolkiew remained a distinctive Jewish entity and produced a significant body of work. It is lesser known now.

Adret, Solomon ben Abraham & Nahmanides. She'elot u-teshuvot ha-Rashba ha-meyuhasot leha-Ramban. Zolkiew, Defus Gershon ben Ze'ev Volf Segal, 1798. Octavo, broards very crudely recovered with now soiled rough blue cloth, 7, 77 leaves [14, 154 pp.] Hardbound. Good-. Adret also known as Rashba was a highly productive poskin from thirteenth century Barcelona. Text is in Hebrew. (83582)      $150.00

             Ashkenazi, Eliezer Elijah. Ma'ase ha-Shem: derushim .... Zolkiew, Be-Defus Gershon, 1802. Octavo, full leather lacking the backstrip and with slight loss to the boards near the spine, decorative paper endpapers, 104, 59 leaves [208, 118 pp.] Hardbound. Good. Text is in Hebrew. The third edition of this work. The first appeared in 1583/4. The second in 1776/7. This includes an additional section entitled, "Maase Mitsrayim." ""Ma'ase ha-Shem" (The Works of God; Venice, 1583; several other editions), a commentary on the historical portions of the Pentateuch, written for the instruction of his son Elijah, and containing also a complete commentary on the Passover Haggadah, which has frequently been published separately" Jewish Encyclopedia. (83785)     $250.00

Bloch, Samson, ha-Levi. Sh'vile 'olam. Sefer Kolel. Tekunot kol artsot tevel le-mahlekotehen ... Zolkiew, Bey Meyerhoffer, 1822. Duodecimo, black cloth covered boards, xxii, 252 pp., mild water-staining. Hardbound. Good. Text is in Hebrew. This is the volume that deals with Asia. With eulogies/ dedications by J. Landau, J. Eichenbaum, and Aharon Lerner. Lerner's contribution is in poetic form. Bloch was another Haskalah figure who passed through Zolkiew. He was friends with Krochmal. (83580)      $180.00

Chajes, Zvi Hirsch. Darke hora'ah: medaber bo ... be-hitnahagut ha-hakhamim be-hora'ot we-dinim, uve-inyane ha-minhagim, ve-eze teshuvot ha-mityahkasim li-she'elot ha-paratot, 'asher mit'askim ba-hem maskile zemanenu. Zolkiew, Saul Meyerhoffer, 1842. Octavo, green cloth spine with gold lettering, shelfworn marbled paper covers, 3, 25, 13 leaves [vi, 50, 26 pp.] Hardbound. Good. Text is in Hebrew. "An examination of the rules that obtained in Talmudic times in deciding practical religious questions." Jewish Encyclopedia. This is the first printing of this work and the only one to appear in the author's lifetime. Though Chajes was a traditionalist Rabbi he was also one of the fathers of the Scientific study of Jewish texts. (83567)      $150.00

Edil, Yehudah Leyb, ha-Levi. Sefer Afike Yehudah, ve-hu shem ha-kolel el ha-derushim asher be-zot ha-mahberet ... Zulkova [Zolkiew], Bi-defus A.Y.L. Mayerhofer, 1819. Octavo, very roughly worn gray cloth spine roughly worn with a hand-written paper label, decorative paper covered boards with wear to the edges, boards just barely hanging in there, lacking the free front endpaper, 118 leaves (235 pp. with wear to the final two leaves resulting in the loss of a few letters. Hardbound. Fair. Text is in Hebrew. The second printing of the first of two volumes of sermons published by the author. Edil was a student of the Vilna Gaon. He had a talent for homiletics and this collection has been reprinted a number of times since the author's death in 1827. The Jewish Encyclopedia claims that the second volume of Sermons was not published, but this is incorrect. (83557)      $60.00

Edil, Yehudah Leyb, ha-Levi. Sefer Afike Yehudah, ve-hu shem ha-kolel el ha-derushim asher be-zot ha-mahberet ... Zulkova [Zolkiew], Bi-defus A.Y.L. Mayerhofer, 1819. Octavo, soiled brown cloth spine with remnants of a paper label, fraying at the head of the spine, shelfworn and edgeworn paper covered boards, 116 of 118 leaves (235 pp., lacking leaves 115 and 116 Hardbound. Poor. Text is in Hebrew.  (83576)      $60.00

ibn Habib, Moses ben Solomon. Get pashut: ve-hu be'ur al hilkhot gitin ... Zolkiew, bei Saul Meyerhoffer, 1834/5. Quarto, worn brown leather spine with gold stamped and hand-written spine labels, marbled paper covered boards worn along the edges and with some shelfwear, free front endpaper lacking a large chip at the open top corner, 115 leaves [230 pp.] Hardbound. Good. Text is in Hebrew. Commentary on Joseph ben Ephraim Karo's commentary on Tractate Gittin in Shulkhan Arukh. (83579)      $150.00

Isserles, Moses ben Israel. Sefer Mehir yayin: be'ur hadash tov ve-nehmad al Megilat Ester... Zolkiew, Saul Meyerhoffer, 1838. 16mo, brown cloth spine, soiled gray paper covered boards, free front endpaper loose, 26 leaves (52 pp.) Hardbound. Good. Text is in Hebrew. (83564)      $75.00

Kats, Hayim Avraham ben Aryeh Leyb. Seyfer Gdules Yoysef : in dizen liblikhin seyfer vert ... min loshn hakoydesh leloshn Ashkenaz.... [Zolkiew], Mordekhai Rabin Shtayn, 1794/5. Octavo, roughly worn brown leather spine with loss at the ends, soiled patterned paper covered boards roughly worn down with loss at the corners, endpapers soiled with old Hebrew notes, 30 leaves (60 pp.), with some loss at the bottom open corner of the fourteenth leaf, dog-earing, occasional light water-staining. Hardbound. Fair. Text is in Judeo-German. A translation of the Hebrew text "Milhamah be-Shalom." A play featuring the Biblical Joseph. This is the first publication. Printed with the headings in a standard Hebrew type-face of the time and the remained of the text in ivri-taytsh type. (83537) $250.00

[Rashi] Jacob ben Asher. Perush al Ha-Torah: Me-Rabenu Ya'akob ben Kavod Marana ve-Ravna Rabenu Ha-Ra... zl. Perush Hadash ve-Nifla Asher Ha-Y Be-Ketivat Yad Rabenu Ha-Mahber Be-Atsmo Ketav Yashan Mi-Yeme Kedem Ha-Kadmata Karov Le-Hamesh Me'ot Shanah u-Loh ba Adayin Be-Defus Klal. Zolkiew, Bedefus Abraham Yehuda Leib, 1806. Octavo, lacking the back strip, traces of the spine leather on the edges of the board, well worn paper covered boards, endpapers with stray Rabbinic hand marginalia, thumbnail size rebacked spot on the title-page with loss of a few letters (this is the reason for the ellipsis in the title as above), 126 leaves [251 pp.], list of subscribers. Hardbound. Good-. Text is in Hebrew. Rashi commentaries published as edited from a manuscript edition. (83575)      $180.00

Zacuto, Abraham ben Samuel. Sefer Yuhasin. Helek Sheni. Zolkiew, Bi-defus Gershon Madpis, 1799. Duodecimo, leather spine worn at the ends and cracking at the hinges, soiled tan paper covered boards, all edges marbled, 106 leaves [212 pp.], front board nearly loose. Hardbound. Fair. Text is in Hebrew. An important work in the synthesis of Jewish ideas into a historical framework. While his work was not history as we would like to find it in an academic recension, it served as a foundation for the introduction of what we would more familiarly associate with the writing of history into Jewish thought. A nicely printed copy of this late medieval work in a compromised binding. (83574)     $95.00


Hundert, Gershon David, edited by. The YIVO Encyclopedia of Jews in Eastern Europe. In Two Volumes. New Haven, Conn., Prepared for publication by the YIVO Institute for Jewish Studies for Yale University Press, 2008.

Jewish Encyclopedia.

Zolkiew & Mosty Wielki Organization website:, retrieved 5/7/2017.

Shtetl Routes website page on Zhovkva. , retrieved 5/7/2017.

Spector, Shmuel, general editor. Pinkas Hakehillot Polin: Encyclopedia of Jewish Communities, Poland. Volume Two. Jerusalem, Yad Vashem, 1980.

Vinograd, Yeshayahu. Otsar Ha-Sefer Ha-Ivri. Jerusalem, Ha-Makhon La-Bibliografyah Me-Muhshevet, 1994.

Yaari, Abraham. Ha-Defus ha-Ivri be-Ḳushṭa: ... me-reshito ad perots milḥemet ha-olam ha-sheniyah, u-reshimat ha-sefarim she-nidpesu bah. Jerusalem, The Magnes Press, The Hebrew University, 1967. Supplement to Kiryat Sefer, vol. XLII.