Sunday, March 27, 2011

Rav Shmuel Ashkenazi, a contemporary Maecenas of the world of seforim.

A few years ago I began fundraising to print seforim of Rabbi Shmuel Ashkenazi. I am happy to announce that finally two volumes were just printed volume one is being sold in stores now and volume two will be released to be sold in stores before Shavos.

In earlier posts I have put up some chapters of these new works. In one post I described Rabbi Shmuel Askenazi as follows: One of the hidden giants of the seforim world both in ultra orthodox and academic circles is a man known as Rabbi Shmuel Askenazi. Professor Zeev Gries also a great expert of the Jewish book and bibliography writes about him:

אני ובני דורי נוכל להעיד על בור סיד שאין מחשב שידמה לו, כר' שמואל אשכנזי גמלאי מפעל הביבליוגרפיה העברית"
)הספר כסוכן תרבות מראשית הדפוס עד לעת החדשה, לימוד ודעת במחשבה יהודית (תשסו) עמ' 257).

This man has authored many books and articles in dozens of journals - both academic and charedi. Besides for authoring so much he has assisted many people in both circles helping in many areas of the Jewish literature. At times he is acknowledge and thanked and other times not. A few years back, a partial bibliography of his writings was printed in a work called Alfa Beta Kadmita de-Shmuel Zera. This book was a start of an attempt to print all of his writings in a multi-volume set. R. Askenazi has been writing and collection information on thousands of topics for close to seventy years. Unfortunately, he did not print much of what he gathered. The main reason for this omission is R. Ashkenzi's "weakness" for incredible levels of perfection.

For personal reasons the project that began a few years back was stopped by R. Askenazi. Two years ago the project was restarted again by others. He and these people have been working daily to prepare the writing for print. To date this project has gotten very far in preparing for print his writings. Two volumes of over five hundred pages were just printed; five more volumes are almost near completion. After that there are many more waiting to be worked on. The only thing holding back the printing of these volumes are funds to print the volumes.

Not everything that he gathered is worth printing and heavy editing is done as with many of the available data bases what he gathered today is not worth much as a quick search on these data bases will find the same thing. However much of what he has gathered is very valuable even today with all kinds of search engines. The topics that these works deal with are virtually everything on some level, sources on expressions, minhaghim, dininm, evolvement of famous stories, bibliography, corrections of authors, encyclopedia style information on thousands of topics culled from thousands of seforim many very rare or unknown. There are also thousands of letters to authors and professor’s containing notes on their works additional sources of their work etc; In addition there are R. Askenazei notes on tefilah, piyut, Chumash, Shas, Zohar, and from other seforim that he marked down on the side.

These newly released volumes contain about two hundred chapters on a wide range of topics including many of which trace famous statements people say over in the name of Chazal. In these chapters he traces them through an incredible wide range of sources showing how it was used and by whom it was used. The tour of sources going through out all ages of history (literally) that one is exposed to in these chapters is breathtaking. This book is also well written and organized making it a pleasure to read. It is a work that almost anyone interested in the Jewish book will find many things to enjoy.

This book is available for purchase by Girsa and other seforim stores in Jerusalem, in Beigleiesein and other stores in the US. It is also available through me. For more information about this work or helping continue this project in any way please e - me at A table of contents of this current work is available upon request to the above mentioned e-mail.

No comments:

Print post

You might also like

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...