A 1614-17 Prague first edition of a major commentary on the Mishnah by Rabbi Yom Tov Lipmann Heller.

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Part of a March 8 sale held by Kestenbaum (25/20% buyer’s premium), it was browned and stained and also had several leaves restored, but complete copies are of the greatest rarity. It sold at $160,000 (£115,940).

Heller, or ‘Tosfos Yom Tov’ as he became universally known after the work’s publication, had studied in Prague and in 1627 was appointed the city’s chief rabbi.

The first major written redaction of the Jewish oral traditions, the Mishnah is also the first major work of Rabbinic literature. In his 17th century commentary on this ancient work, Heller set out to reconcile contradictions, elucidate obscurities, clarify the correct reading of the text and provide Halachic conclusions.