15 November 2005
MENAHEM AZARIAH da Fano (1548-1620). Yen ha-Rekah (Scented Wine). Northern Italy, .
MANUSCRIPT ON PAPER. Median 4o (218 x 157 mm). Collation: 1-128 (12/6-8 blank). 96 leaves. Italian paper, watermark of a blessing angel within circle, star surmount, countermarked CB (Briquet group 649-672). Ashkenazic cursive script, square for opening words, single column, brown ink, leaf catchwords.
BINDING. Original limp vellum, endpapers from the same stock as the manuscript, (slightly wormed), uncut.
PROVENANCE. This apparently unique manuscript of the text was copied soon after the date of composition and a direct connection with the author is likely. The manufacture and distribution in the 16th century of this type of paper were almost exclusively in Northern Italy (Venice, Vicenza, Ferrara) -- Two busy censors, whose signatures are seen in countless Italian Hebrew manuscripts and printed books, read the text but suppressed not a word: Fra Luigi da Bologna 1600 and Giandomenico Carretto 1615 -- Schocken MS. 12294.
TEXT. Menahem Azariah wrote two abridgements of the mystical classic, Pardes Rimonim (Pomegranate Orchard), by Rabbi Moses Cordevero ('Ramak', 1522-70). He gave them the titles Pelakh ha-Rimmon and Assis Rimmonim. The former is known in several redactions, the final one of which was published in 8o at Venice in 1600. In his preface to Yen ha-Redak, Azariah states that it constitutes the first version of his work published as Pelakh ha-Rimmon. No other witness of this redaction is recorded.
LITERATURE. On the various editions of Menahem Azariah's works on Kabbalah, see Y. Avivi in Sefunot 19 (1989), pp. 347-366. The Schocken manuscript was unknown to Avivi.
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