HAKOHEN, Isaac ben Abraham (Morocco, 16th-17th century). Sefer Ginnat Bitan (with other mystical texts, including an otherwise unknown commentary on the Haggadah for Passover). MANUSCRIPT ON PAPER
Copied by Joseph ben Benjamin ibn Shabbetai, [North Africa], 5457 (= 1697)
4o (180 x 135 mm). 137 leaves, with various Hebrew and modern lead pencil foliations, the latter largely followed here. Brown ink. North African semi-cursive script. With interesting kabbalistic diagrams and simple abstract decorative designs, in the Haggadah commentary a few in color. (Brittle, dampstained and soiled, edges frayed, a small number of margins strengthened with loss of text.) Modern blind and gold-tooled dark brown morocco, two modern paper flyleaves at back and front.
Fol. 1r: title-page of Ginnat Bitan (Esther 1:6), within elaborate abstract border design.
Fol. 1v: blank.
I. Fols 2r-70r: Sefer Ginnat Bitan by Isaac ben Abraham Hakohen. An introduction to the doctrine of the Sefirot. The author, a pupil of R. Moses ben Maimon Albaz, lived at the end of the sixteenth century and the beginning of the seventeenth. This work is found in a few other manuscripts, but has never been printed. Fol. 58v is blank, and fol. 59r contains an addition to fol. 77r but is otherwise blank.
II. Fols. 70r-73r: additional kabbalistic secrets.
III. Fols. 73r-77r: additional extracts. On f. 73v the scribe-editor quotes Abraham ibn Mocha in the name of Isaac Katsbi, two Moroccan kabbalists.
Fols. 77v-79v: indexes.
Fols. 80rv: blank, except for miscellaneous notes on recto.
IV. Fols. 81r-103v: Extracts on Kabbalah from various sources. Includes a commentary on the ten Sefirot, notes on the Hekhalot etc. On fols. 90r-101v a kabbalistic piyyut by Aaron ben Joseph Yavgi with his commentary, edited in a different redaction in Judah ben Abraham Coriat's Ma'or ve-Shemesh (Leghorn 1839; Vinograd, Thesaurus, p. 398, no. 872). The scribe added some glosses in the text which he found in the writings of Solomon ibn Abraham, who copied them from the writings of Moses ben Abraham, who quotes R. Moses in the name of David Alashkar, and R. Menahem in the name of Joseph ben Solomon [Galili] of Taroudant.
V. Fols. 104r-132v: Kabbalistic commentary on the Passover Haggadah. According to the title-page the commentary is Perach Shushan by R. Moses ben Maimon Albaz. However, M. Hallamish, in Da'at 18 (1987) p. 55-57, asserts that this is not the commentary by that name referred to in another work by Albaz, but a later work in which some of the pupils of Albaz are quoted. Not published. Probably a unique manuscript.
Fol. 133r: blank.
VI. Fols. 133v-137v: Additional extracts on Kabbalah including kabbalistic secrets, notes on the sefirot etc. On fol. 137r in a different hand the popular hymn Bar Yochai by Simeon Lavi.
Fol. 137v: index to the kabbalistic secrets in the commentary on the Haggadah.
Abraham Mendes Belisario in 5496 (= 1736) (fol. 80r).
REFERENCES: Neubauer, no. 121, p. 35; Institute of Microfilmed Hebrew Manuscripts, Jerusalem, F 4787; a short description of this manuscript was published by M. Hallamish in Kiryat Sefer 60 (1985) p. 964.