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Obj. ID: 37742
Jewish printed books
  Igeret ha-Purim, Metz, 1817

© Gross Family Collection, Photographer: Unknown,

This text was prepared by William Gross:

A work on Purim by R. Israel Krashkash ben Joseph ha-Levi Kashlari. Written in the 14th-century, this medieval poem was originally written in Judeo-Provencal. Iggeret ha-Purim explains and interprets the Purim story based on numerous midrashim, aggadot and Talmudic explanations, describing the miracles performed in the time of Esther and Mordechai. The text is a versified account of Megillat Esther, beginning, “Who is like unto Thee.” The text is comprised of about two hundred and forty stanzas. In its original form Iggeret ha-Purim is one of the few Judeo-Provencal romance medieval texts still extant. The author, R. Israel Crescas ben Joseph ha-Levi de Caylar, was a physician and liturgical poet of Avignon and a member of the Yizhari family. In 1327 he translated into Hebrew the "Regimen Sanitatis" of his contemporary, the Spanish physician Arnold de Villanueva, under the title “Ma’amar be-Hanhagat ha-Beri'ut,” the manuscripts of which are preserved in various libraries. R. Israel Crescas de Caylar belonged to the renowned family originally was from Caylar (Latin, "Castalarium"), a village in the department of Hérault, France. A rather important Jewish community existed at Caylar in the Middle Ages. After the royal edict of Sept. 17, 1394, these Jews went to Provence and to the Comtat-Venaissin; in 1459 and 1487 some of them were at Tarascon, and in 1480 at Avignon. The Caslari family enjoyed a considerable reputation as late as the second half of the sixteenth century.
Towards the end of the 18th century the printing of Hebrew literature in Metz had virtually ceased, and liturgical and educational books necessary for the considerable Jewish community were brought in from abroad. Ephraim Hadamard conceived of a plan to reestablish the printing of Hebrew books in Metz, and in 1813 he started to realize it. He began his career in the printing trade in Metz and then worked for several years in printing ateliers in France, Germany and the Netherlands in order to improve his skills and to study languages. On returning to Metz he bought an old printing workshop and, with some difficulty, obtained permission to start his own printing firm. He succeeded in collecting Hebrew characters from different places, and over the years his atelier flourished, publishing many books in Hebrew, French and German.

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Name/Title
Igeret ha-Purim | Unknown
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Date
1817
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