ABRAHAM BEN BARUCH, of Rothenburg (d. 1298; brother of Meir of Rothenburg [MAHARAM]). Sefer Sinai (halakhic work), with Sussman of Krems' abbreviation of the Kitsur Issur ve-Hetter of Isaac ben Meir of Dueren. MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM
[Ashkenaz], copied by three different scribes for Avigdor ben Eliezer, completed on Friday 5 Av 5151 (= 1391)
On vellum with equalized sides, no distinction between hair and flesh sides, traces of shaving, with numerous natural holes and original stitchings, many leaves have narrower margins where smaller sheets of vellum were used. 235 leaves: 1-278 2810 298 (+ 1 before 1), lacking the final leaf. Modern lead pencil foliation, ending on fol. 145r a later Hebrew hand added running numbers to the columns, later Hebrew numbering of quires in the folds. Dark brown ink. Various Ashkenazic semi-cursive hands, some square script. With numerous older marginal annotations. (Cropped, with loss of catchwords from quire 25 onward, fols. 1-10 with defects and old repairs not affecting text, except fol. 1 cut and torn and inlaid to size in the nineteenth century, fols. 2 and 3 with loss of text in the upper corner of the inner margin, fol. 235 defective with loss of some 40 of the text, otherwise lightly stained and soiled, but generally in very good condition.) Modern blind and gold-tooled dark red morocco binding, two modern paper flyleaves at back and front, one additional older paper flyleaf at the front. With printed approbation (see below) bound at the end of the manuscript (frayed and stained, no loss of text).
The manuscript was copied by three different hands. The first scribe, who copied fols. 1r-37r, col. 2, l. 3, pointed out his name, Hisda, on fols. 11v, 25r, 29v and 33v. The second scribe, Joseph, copied fols. 37r, col. 2, l. 4-198r and pointed out his name in the text several times (fols. 42r, 90r, 112v, 132r, 136v, 186r); on fol. 144v he pointed out both the names Joseph and Simhah, suggesting that his full name may have been Joseph ben Simhah. Asher ben David, the scribe who completed the manuscript and copied fols. 198v-235v, added a colophon on fol. 232r in which he recorded the name of the commissioner of the manuscript, Avigdor ben Eliezer, and the date the copy was completed, Friday, 5 Av 5151 (= 1391). The scribes use slightly different semi-cursive scripts, different decorations of catchwords, different space filling techniques, different numbers of lines per page, different pricking and ruling techniques and different para-textual signs.
Scribe A (fols. 1r-37r, col. 2, l. 3): Measurements of fol. 12v: 350 x 270 mm; text space: 283 x 168 mm; upper margin: 12 mm, lower margin: 65 mm, inner margin: 38 mm, outer margin: 64 mm. 2 columns, column width right-hand column: 70 mm, column width left-hand column: 72 mm. 46 lines; ten lines: 62 mm. Usually single catchwords at the end of quires, in the bottom margin, in the size of the text letter, decorated with a simple penstroke above, written vertically between the double inner marginal lines. Single prickings in inner and outer margins, applied through the rectos of the folded quire; ruling by plummet on rectos and versos. Filling the line is achieved by dilation of letters, or by anticipation of the next word, indicated by a sign above the letters, which were usually not finished ('broken letters'); protruding lines occur only rarely.
Scribe B (fols. 37r, col. 2, l.4-198r): Measurements of fol. 92v: 363 x 276 mm; text space: 287 x 170 mm; upper margin: 28 mm, lower margin: 48 mm, inner margin: 45 mm, outer margin, 61 mm. 2 columns, column width right-hand column: 75 mm, column width left-hand column: 79 mm. 48 lines; ten lines 58 mm. Single catchwords at the end of quires, in the size of the text letter, decorated with simple pen strokes around the word, written horizontally within the inner marginal lines. Single and double prickings, either in the outer margins only or in both inner and outer margins, applied through either the rectos or the versos of the folded quire; ruling by plummet, either simple or more complex, i.e. with additional ruled lines, depending on the nature of the prickings, on rectos and versos. Filling the line is achieved by anticipation of the next word, indicated by a sign following the last letter, 'shin' and 'mem' appear as broken letters; protruding lines occur only rarely.
Scribe C (fols. 198v-235v): Measurements of fol. 204v: 360 x 280 mm; text space: 281 x 168 mm; upper margin: 35 mm, lower margin, 44 mm, inner margin: 43 mm, outer margin, 69 mm. 2 columns, column width right-hand column: 74 mm, column width left-hand column: 76 mm. 49 lines; ten lines: 55 mm. The horizontal single catchwords were cropped, the rather elaborate decoration being the only remaining part of each. Single prickings in inner and outer margins, applied through the rectos of the folded quire; ruling by plummet on rectos and versos. Filling the line is achieved by dilation of letters, or by anticipation of the next word, indicated by a sign following the last letter, and by means of simple graphic fillers; protruding lines occur occasionally.
THIS IS THE ONLY MANUSCRIPT OF THIS UNPUBLISHED WORK KNOWN TO EXIST. The book is divided into 1469 paragraphs (indexed on fols. 1r-10r) and consists of two main parts: fols. 10v-123v include ritual laws (halakhot), mainly extracts and abridgments from works of the Tosafists with some interpolations by the compiler from the teachings of his brother. Most of the material derives from Barukh ben Samuel's Sefer ha-Terumah (fols. 10v-41v), Moses of Coucy's Sefer Mitsvot Gedolot (fols. 41v-85v), and Eleazar ben Judah of Worms' Ma'aseh Rokeach (fols. 85v-123v). No complete copy exists of the last work, Ma'aseh Rokeach, and the lengthy extracts of the book included in this manuscript are far more comprehensive than those found in other sources.
The second half of the manuscript, fols. 123v-232r, includes writings by Meir of Rothenburg (d. 1293), namely, his laws of mourning, Hilkhot Semachot (fols. 123v-144v) and many of his responsa, as well as some responsa by other Tosafists (fols. 144v-232v). This work probably served as a source for compilers of the responsa of R. Meir of Rothenburg in other manuscripts. Many of the previously unedited responsa were published from this manuscript, but much material remains unpublished.
On fols. 232v-235v scribe C added Sussman of Krems' abbreviation of Isaac ben Meir of Dueren's Issur ve-Hetter. The last leaf of this text is missing, the last but one damaged with loss of text. In this manuscript the work is attributed to a certain Azriel, but the text appears to be identical with the abridgement of Sussman of Krems, or, according to MS Oxford Mich. 307, Sussman of Regensburg, neither name appearing in any source. The work has not been published, but exists in at least 10 other manuscripts. The author quotes Meir of Rothenburg (d. 1293) and probably lived in the fourteenth century.
1. This manuscript was first mentioned in print by the eighteenth-century bibliographer J.C. Wolfius, in his Bibliotheca Hebraea 4 (Hamburg 1733) p. 756-7. At that time the manuscript was owned by Jo. G. Abicht, a professor at Wittenberg University. Earlier, apparently, the manuscript was offered for sale to the library of the University of Leipzig and a description of the manuscript was preserved in the library. In his catalogue of the manuscripts in Leipzig library prepared in 1838, F. Delitzsch printed the description on p. 277.
2. About 40 years after Wolfius described the manuscript it was found in the possession of a certain Nahman Amsterdam of Glogau. He published a broadsheet in 1776, which is included in the manuscript, in which he declared that he had purchased the manuscript and intended to publish the responsa of R. Meir. The broadsheet included approbations by R. Zevi Hirsh of Berlin, his son Saul Berlin, and R. Joseph Aaron Horowitz of Shkod. At about the same time the manuscript was owned by Daniel Itzig of Berlin whose stamp is found on fol. 1r (Daniel BR"A). The manuscript eventually was acquired by R. Solomon Hirschell, son of the aforementioned R. Zevi Hirsh.
3. Owners' names mentioned on fol. 1r: Moses ben Avigdor; Eleazar ben Abraham Kats [= Kohen Tsedek], who inherited the manuscript from his father in 1541/2 (fol. 1r); Abraham ben Moses Kohen.
REFERENCES: Neubauer, no. 14, p. 5-7; Hebrew Paleography Project, Hebrew University, Jerusalem, No. C 567; Institute of Microfilmed Hebrew Manuscripts, Jerusalem, F 4685.
Christie's thanks Dr. Simcha Emmanuel of Tel Aviv University for his assistance in the description of this manuscript.