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LOT: 021

Yalkut Me’am Loez part one on the book of Bereishit [Ladino] – Constantinople 1748, professionally restored in a magnificent binding

The book Yalkut Me’am Loez part one by Rabbi Yaakov Culi, as originally written in Ladino, signatures and inscriptions on the title page. The entire copy is full of handwritten glosses and comments not in Hebrew, with the author’s introduction in Hebrew and Ladino, restored pages including the title page, several pages are missing, 268 leaves. With the indexes in Ladino, rebound in a magnificent leather binding, professionally restored including worming holes filled in with paper. Various restored blemishes, some with damage to the text. Yalkut Me’am Loez. The beginning of the wonderful series, one work in Ladino by Rabbi Yaakov Culi on the book of Bereishit and half of the book of Shemot until the section of Terumah. Subsequent sections of the Yalkut, following the format of the first sections, were written during the 18th and 19th centuries by various rabbis. (Rabbi Yitzchak Magriso edited and published the Yalkut on the book of Shemot and the books of Vayikra and Bamidbar, apparently based on lists that Rabbi Yaakov Culi left behind, and Rabbi Yitzchak Agruiti wrote the commentary on the book of Devarim). During the nineteenth century, several volumes were published on some of the books of Neviim and the megillot, and in the second half of the twentieth century, the series was finally translated into Hebrew with a significant expansion of the content by Rabbi Shmuel Kravitzer-Yerushalmi. The book became extremely popular amongst Sephardic Jewry who used to read the book together as a family around the shabbat table, and as a bedtime reading book for children. Many consider the book to the magnum opus of Ladino literature in both quantity and quality. The name of the series was chosen in accordance with the widespread custom of authors to hint to their names in the names of their books. The initiator and first author of the book, Rabbi Yaakov Culi originally intended for the book to be for women and children who are not proficient in Hebrew, but speak a foreign language (la’az), inspired by the verse in Psalms “When the people of Israel left Egypt, the house of Jacob from a foreign (me’am loez) nation” that ends with the words “before …Yaacov”. Our sages taught that the words “House of Jacob” hint to the women. The words Me’am Loez hint to the group within the nation that understand and speak a foreign language, and the name Yaacov appears twice in the same verse and the word chuli that also appears at the end of the verse hints to the surname Culi.
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