Eli Genauer is a collector and contributor to Footprints.

There is a fellow in my synagogue named Menachem who travels the world as a software consultant. He loves talking to me about my old books and even helps me with inscriptions which are in Polish or Russian.

Menachem was recently in Warsaw and decided he wanted to bring me a book as a present. He found an antiquarian bookstore, and asked (in English) if they had any old Hebrew books. The owner said no, so he asked again, but this time in Polish. A sales person overheard and she thought they might just have one. It took them about 15-20 minutes of looking but they finally found the one Hebrew book in the store. It was down in the basement. What a book it was! It was missing the title page, but it had this colophon at the end of the first section.

As you can see, it is the ספר הלבוש, the portion called לבושׁ התכלת on the first part of אורח חיים. The book also contained לבוש החור on the latter portion, and it included the commentary of אליה זוטא. The book was printed in Prague in 1701 and is the first time אליה זוטא appears.

I was able to access the missing cover page which was scanned from the holdings of the Columbia University library.

I checked some of the earlier editions of the Levush and all contain wonderful printed diagrams especially concerning the laws of ראש חודש and עירובין. This edition did away with the diagrams and left blank spaces in their place.  Someone drew in the missing diagrams in my copy from 1701 but they are lacking some of the detail of the printed drawings contained in the first edition (Prague 1609)

Here is an example from סימן תכ״ז הלכות ראש חודש

1701 edition

1609 edition

There are two ownership marks inside the book.

One is handwritten:

ספר הלבוש הלז שייך למו״ה צבי שרגא וויינדיצקי פה ק’ק מלאווע

“This book, Sefer HaLevush, belongs to Zvi Shraga Vynditzki of Mlawa” (Mława – is a town in north-central Poland, capital of the Mława County, situated in the Masovian Voivodeship.)

The second ownership mark is a stamp:

שמואל דוד יאקובאוויטש

לובלין, שעראקא 16

Szmul Dawid Jakubowicz

Lublin, Szeroka 16 – Book Number 657

Who was Szmul Duwid Jakubowicz?

From the Yad Vashem website:

Szmul Duwid Jakubowicz was born in Biala Podlaska, Poland in 1892 to Chaim and Tzivie. He was a Contador (accountant/bookkeeper) and married to Chawe. Prior to WWII he lived at 16 Szeroka street in Lublin, Poland. During the war he was in Lublin, Poland.

Szmul Duwid was murdered in the Shoah.

This information is based on a Page of Testimony submitted by his daughter. According to her testimony, Shmuel Dovid was killed in Majdanek in 1942.

Shmuel Dovid did not survive the Holocaust. This book that belonged to him that he so lovingly catalogued, ended up in the basement of an antiquarian bookstore in Warsaw. It was found due to the efforts of a man who persisted in trying to find a lost Hebrew book in Poland. Hopefully, bringing its story to light will give a sense of life to Shmuel Dovid and the other millions of lives lost in the Holocaust.

Editor’s note: A week later, Chaim Meiselman, another collector and contributor to Footprints, reached out to let me know that he has a record of the same man in his own collection!  The footprint is here: https://footprints.ctl.columbia.edu/footprint/3630/

Ed. note March 6, 2020: Eli Genauer was able to identify an heir to the book! Dr Samuel Jakubowicz Of São Paulo, Brazil is named after Shmuel Dovid, the owner from whom the book was stolen.