For the first time in over 250 years the Shu’t Lachmei Todah of Rav Yeshayahu Bassan ZT’L, Av Beis Din of Reggio Emilia, Italy (Rebbe of the Ramchal) was republished. In fact, two brand new editions were published within just a few weeks of each other after it not having been republished for 250 years! (A facsimile edition was published in 1980/1).
In this brief review I will outline and compare both editions.
- The first edition was published by Machon Shaarei Yitzchak. To my knowledge this may be one of the first “standard” seforim that they have published (please let me know if I am wrong) as they have published various Kisvei AriZal until now. This edition is based on the previous edition published in Venice, 1741, and includes some basic footnotes which mainly are sources. There is also a brief introduction, and the index from the original edition is included as well.
- The second edition was published by Ahavat Shalom. This edition also was edited based on the first edition, but also includes 28 additional Tshuvos. These are collected from various manuscripts that were never published before, as well as from other Seforim that published Rav Yeshayahu’s tshuvos (Sefer Shemesh Tzedakah of Rav Shimshon Morporugo of Ancona, Sefer Pachad Yitzchak of Rav Yitzchak Lampornti of Ferrara, and others). Additionally, there is one Tshuva from Rav Yeshayahu’s father, Rav Yisroel Chizkyahu, published from a manuscript (with an anonymous response) and 3 comments from Rav Yeshayahu’s son, Rav Yisroel Binyomin, from his Sefer Pirurei Lechem (which remains in manuscript) that relate to Shu’t Lachmei Todah. Additionally, the Ahavat Shalom edition includes the original index of all the Tshuvos in order, as well as an index for them in the order of the Shulchan Aruch. Also included are the old page numbers to the old edition because many older Seforim cited the Sefer that way. Ahavat Shalom’s edition also includes a 37-page introduction which discusses Rav Yeshayahu’s biography and the Shu’t.
- A general note about the Sefer: It was originally published as part of a volume titled: “Todas Shelamim,” with the first part including various works of Rishonim and titled “Zivchei Todah,” and the second part being Shu’t Lachmei Todah. Interestingly, as alluded to by Rav Shimshon Morpurgo in his Haskama for the Sefer, it was published because Rav Yeshayahu was sick and made a promise to publish some of his Tshuvos (to recover).
For further reading about Rav Yeshayahu and the opposition in Venice to printing his writings see the Ahavat Shalom introduction and http://shaalvim.co.il/torah/maayan-article.asp?id=866