Amsterdam: Dauid Abenatar Mello / David Abenatar Melo (Fernão Alvares Melo), 5377 . Hardcover. 16mo. 327pp. . Handsomely rebound in modern dark brown leather boards with blind stamped tooling on the covers and spine. Gilt lettering over tan leather labels on the spine. Title page with decorative woodblock borders and motifs. This is the 1617 Spanish-language edition of the complete Jewish High Holiday prayer book (Machzor) based on the original Spanish translation by Abraham Usque, (originally printed in Ferarra, Italy in 1553). This publication contains the Selichot prayers (daily penitential prayers leading up to the high holidays) added to the content of the original edition. Following two Amsterdam printings of the Machzor from 1584, and an edition from 1604, this extremely scarce edition is known to be both the first Jewish prayer book to bear the name of "Amsterdam" on the title page, and the first to contain any Hebrew lettering at all.* Published "A. Primero de siuan, de 5377" (1st of Sivan 5377/ June 4th 1617).
This edition of the Machzor was printed by David Abenatar Melo (Fernão Alvares Melo, 1569 - 1632) for the Bet Jakob synagogue*, part of the then sizable Sephardic Jewish community in Amsterdam. A significant portion of the community would have been ex-Conversos (Jews, who had outwardly converted to Catholicism during the inquisition in Spain, who then immigrated and were able to reestablished their Jewish identity), and thus were unable to read Hebrew, hence the text's publication in Spanish. The text starts with the evening service for Rosh Hashanah, followed by Selichot, the evening service for Yom Kippur, the day service and then the concluding service. All text in Spanish.
Interior in with the title page and the following page repaired with tissue along the gutter. The first 40 pages have been trimmed along the right edge, resulting in a slight loss of text. These pages also have varying degrees of worming at the bottom corners, resulting in some slight loss of text. Binding in fine, interior in very good- condition overall. von- to fine. Item #44262
* Founded circa 1602 by former New Christians (ex-marranos), the Bet Jakob Synagogue in Amsterdam is considered to be the first Jewish congregation in that city.
This edition is extremely scarce with only 1 listing worldwide on OCLC.
*Reference: H.P. Salomon. "Portrait of a New Christian Fernando Alvares Melo (1569-1632)". Paris,1982. pp-152-153.
PALAU, under listing #202415 (1553 edition).