ANAV, Benjamin ben Abraham (Rome; c. 1215-c. 1295). Commentary on the Alfabetin (and various Biblical commentaries and Midrashim). MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM
[Italy, late 13th century]
143 x 100 mm. On vellum with distinguishable hair and flesh sides, arranged according to Gregory. 197 leaves (apparently imperfect at the beginnning, see contents). Modern lead pencil foliation, older foliation in ink partly preserved. Remnants of prickings in outer, lower and upper margins, blind ruling. Light brown ink. Semi-cursive Italian script. Some marginal notes. (Some tears, occasionally affecting text, first few leaves faded, affecting readability, four of last five leaves damaged, affecting the text, damage to last five leaves also affecting text, slightly cropped, with occasional loss of individual letters in the marginal notes.) Modern blind and gold-tooled dark red morocco, three modern paper flyleaves at back and front, remnants of stain on edges.
I. Fols. 1r-47r: Rashi on the Song of Songs and Ecclesiastes, lacking the beginning.
II. Fols. 47r-57v: Joseph Kara on Lamentations. First edition: Naples 1487 (Vinograd, Thesaurus, p. 481, no. 2).
III. Fols. 58r-62v: Commentary on Esther. Edited by A. Berliner, in Otsar Tov 1 (1877/8) p. 26-32. B.D. Walfish, Esther in Medieval Garb (Albany 1993) p. 315-316, lists thirteen manuscripts of this commentary.
IV. Fols. 62v-81v: Midrash Abba Gurion on Esther. First edition by A. Jellinek, Bet Hamidrasch 1 (Leipzig 1853) p. 1-18, re-edited by S. Buber, Sifrei de-Aggadata (Vilna 1887).
V. Fols. 82r-86r: Commentary on Ruth. Based on Rashi's commentary but extended to include material from Midrash Ruth Rabbah. The work exists in many manuscripts, but has not been published. In MS Heidenheim 3 in the Zentralbibliothek in Zrich this text is ascribed to Joseph Kara.
Fol. 86v: originally blank, with later owner's inscription.
Fols. 87r-89v: blank.
VI. Fols. 90r-147v: Jacob ben Samson's commentary on Pirkei Avot. Printed in Machzor Vitry.
VII. Fols. 148r-198v: Benjamin ben Abraham Anav's commentary on the Alfabetin, i.e., the Akdamut or Aramaic piyyutim for Shavuot. The commentary was published from this unique manuscript by M. Schmelzer, in Texts and Studies. Analecta Judaica (Mechkarim u-Mekorot) 1 (1977) p. 167-274.
Fols. 199rv: originally blank with later annotations. Neubauer indicates that (before the modern re-binding?) this leaf appeared at the beginning of the manuscript.
1. Abraham ben Moses acquired the manuscript when he divided an estate with his in-law in November 1392 (5152) (fol. 199v).
2. Isaac of Aqui bought the manuscript from Moses ben Isaac Hakohen through the agency of Jonathan ben Mordecai Mielli in 1606 (5366) (fol. 86v).
REFERENCES: Neubauer, no. 6, p. 2-3; Institute of Microfilmed Hebrew Manuscripts, Jerusalem, F 4675.