BELAIS [BELAISH], Abraham (1773-1853); WOGUE, Lazare
Livre du puits vivant et voyant, poème, contenant des maximes de morale et de politique fondées sur
la philosophie … renfermant aussi : 1. une ode adressée au Roi, pour le consoler, sur la mort de sa … fille Marie, … 2. une ode au Roi, sur la naissance du comte de Paris … 3. Divers chants à la gloire de L. M. le Roi et la Reine, … Composé en hébreu par Abraham Belaïs, … et traduit en français par Lazare Wogue, …… [Paris?] : [Imprimerie de Wittersheim?], 1839 ; Vienne : Antoine noble de Schmid, 1839 [but 1838]. Quarto, in original presentation binding of limp red cloth with green morocco label to front lettered in gilt “Dédié A M Le Comte de Rambuteau, Préfet du Dép. de la Seine”; pp 1-4, 1-21; edges lightly foxed, else a fine copy.
A collection of odes written by Abraham Belaïs, chief Rabbi of Nice, dedicated to Louis-Philippe I, King of France, and his family. The first group (1-4), which the University of California, Los Angeles, suggests was printed in Paris by Wittersheim, are short poems composed in Hebrew but printed in the French language only; the translations were made by Lazare Wogue, a scholar of the Beth Midrash Hagadol in Metz. The second section (1-21) comprises a lengthy poem in similar vein, Beer Lachai Roi, printed in the original Hebrew and with parallel translations in German, Italian and French. It has a separate title page and a colophon, and was printed in Vienna in 1838; the translation from Hebrew into German was made by Steinschneider.
“Abraham Belais (Belaish; 1773–1853) was treasurer to the bey of Tunis when he had to leave the country following business reverses and settled in Jerusalem. For a time he was rabbi in Algiers, then, moving to Europe, he managed to secure the patronage of persons high in public life. He was appointed by the king of Sardinia rabbi of Nice, against the wishes of the community… In 1840, he went to London where …he was ultimately given a minor communal office and sat occasionally on the bet din. He published a large number of books, apart from his sycophantic odes in honor of European crowned heads and other influential persons.” (Encyclopaedia Judaica. Ed. Michael Berenbaum and Fred Skolnik. Vol. 3. 2nd ed. Detroit: Macmillan Reference USA, 2007. p.277).
Only five copies located in OCLC: University of California, Los Angeles; Bibliothèque nationale de France; The British Library; University College, London; University of Amsterdam.