SAMUEL of Ulm (Germany, mid-15th century). Sefer Minhagim (with many other texts). MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM
The first section copied by [Jacob] son of Seligman Coburg, Treviso (Italy), completed on 12 Tammuz 5213 (= 1453); the second section copied by Isaac ben Mordecai Halevi [Italy, second half 15th century]
256 x 189 mm. 187 leaves. The codex consists of two separate manuscripts bound together. (Cropped, with loss of parts of letters on fol. 82, and of decoration on fol. 106v, ink occasionally faded, old silk repairs on fols. 55, 57, 58, large natural holes in fol. 49, occasionally strips of parchment were cut from the bottom margin, tear in the outer margin of fol. 3 with loss of two letters, other minor defects, generally in fine condition.) Modern blind and gold-tooled brown morocco, blue paste-patterned edges, two modern paper flyleaves at back and front.
Section I: The first manuscript (fols. 1r-61v) was copied by the son of Seligman Coburg in Treviso (Italy). It is probable that the scribe was Jacob, son of Seligman Coburg (cf. J. Freimann's introduction to Sefer Leket Yosher, New York 1959, p. xxix, No. 44). According to colophons on fols. 43r and 51r, he began to copy the manuscript on 4 Sivan 5213 (= 1453) and completed it five weeks later on 12 Tammuz in Treviso.
Measurements of fol. 12v: 256 x 192 mm; text space: 183 x 120 mm; upper margin: 20 mm, lower margin, 53 mm, inner margin: 37 mm, outer margin: 35 mm. 32 lines; ten lines: 56 mm. On vellum with equalized sides, traces of shaving. 63 leaves: 1-78, 86 (+ 1 before 1). Single horizontal catchwords with decoration at the end of all quires. Original prickings in outer margins cropped, plummet ruling applied to rectos and versos of the unfolded sheet. Dark brown ink. Semi-cursive Ashkenazic hand, square headings, numerous red flourishes and initials, some rather elaborate, especially on fols. 2r, 44r, 51r, 53r. Creative layouts, e.g. on fols. 21v-22r. Filling the line is achieved by dilation of letters, by anticipation of the next word, and by graphic fillers, 'shin' is the only broken letter; protruding lines occur occasionally.
Section II: The second part of the codex (fols. 62r-187v) was copied by Isaac ben Mordecai Halevi and also dates to the second half of the 15th century. The scribe also copied MSS Parma, Palatina Cod. Parm. 2421, and Oxford, Bodleian Library, Mich. 78, fols. 143-190.
Measurements of fol. 125r: 256 x 186 mm; text space: 209 x 145 mm; upper margin: 14 mm, lower margin 33 mm, inner margin: 8 mm, outer margin: 23 mm. 41 lines; ten lines: 50 mm. On vellum with distinguishable hair and flesh sides, arranged according to Gregory, traces of shaving. 124 leaves: 1-158 164. Red ink decoration (black on fol. 183v) of catchwords preserved at the bottom of all quires, single horizontal catchwords (at times partly cropped), catchword and decoration entirely preserved on fols. 159v, 167v and 175v. No prickings preserved, plummet ruling applied to rectos and versos of the unfolded sheet. Slightly varying layouts. Filling the line is achieved by dilation of letters and by the inclusion of single horizontal pen strokes of varying length toward the end of line; protruding lines occur but are often prevented by abbreviation of the last word in the line. Dark brown ink. Semi-cursive Ashkenazic hand, square headings, numerous red flourishes and initials
Section I: The first part of the manuscript (fols. 1r-63v) contains:
Fols. 1rv: numerous pen trials, probably by the original scribe, scribbles, a listing of the manuscript's content, and experiments with secret writing in Hebrew (deciphered: Abraham Isaac Jacob). For a more detailed discussion of such ciphers, see: E.G.L. Schrijver, 'The colophon page of the Esslingen Mahzor', in Studia Rosenthaliana 21 (1987) p. 192-195.
I. Fols. 1r-43r: Sefer Minhagim. The Minhagim book (ritual customs), was compiled by Samuel of Ulm according to the teachings of R. Seligman Coburg (the father of the copyist), R. Solomon Spira, R. Barukh and R. Anshchen [= R. Asher ben Isaiah]. All these rabbis lived in Swabia, near Ulm. R. Seligman Coburg emigrated from Germany to Italy in the 1420s, settling near Venice, but he returned to his homeland and eventually settled in Ulm. On fol. 47v, the compiler referred to the current year, 1448/9, on fol. 39v to the year 1449/50, setting the date of the composition. This Minhagim book exists in several versions in more than fifteen manuscripts, but this manuscript, copied in Treviso (northern Italy) in 1453, only four years after it was compiled, is the earliest dated copy and probably the earliest copy extant. None of the versions of this work have been published. For a description of this work and similar compilations, cf. E. Zimmer, in Alei Sefer 14 (1987) p. 59-87.
Fol. 43r: colophon.
II. Fols. 43v-51r: Sefer ha-Yir'ah, ethical treatise by R. Jonah Gerondi's (Spain, c. 1200-1263). First printed in Leiria, 1490 (Vinograd, Thesaurus, p. 412, no. 2), and many times since. The work also exists in many manuscripts.
Fol. 51r: colophon.
III. Fols. 51r-54r: Laws of Shechitah and Bedikah (ritual slaughtering) of R. Jacob Weil (Germany, first half 15th century). First printed together with his responsa in Venice 1549 (Vinograd, Thesaurus, p. 251, no. 379), and many times since. The work also exists in many manuscripts.
IV. Fols. 54r-61r: Minchat Yehudah Sone Nashim or Sefer Tachkemoni, poem disparaging women, by Judah ben Isaac Halevi ibn Shabbetai (Spain, 13th century). First printed in Constantinople 1543 (Vinograd, Thesaurus, p. 606, no. 179), and in Eleazar Ashkenazi's Ta'am Zekenim (Frankfurt 1854).
V. Fols. 61v-62r: Ke'arat Kesef, poem by Joseph Ezobi (Spain, 13th century). First printed in Fano 1504 (Vinograd, Thesaurus, p. 498, no.7), and many times since. The work also exists in many manuscripts.
Fols. 62v-63v: blank with Latin pen trials on fol. 62v and a later Hebrew addition of exegetical content on fol. 63v, in Italian semi-cursive script, by a scribe by the name of Abraham, which is decorated in the fifth line from the bottom of the second column on fol. 61v.
Section II: The second part of the codex (fols. 64r-187v) is a miscellany volume of different short works pertaining to history, ritual law, ethics, Midrash and secular poetry. It contains:
VI. Fols. 64r-80r: Midrash Aseret ha-Dibberot (Midrash on the Ten Commandments with additions and variants from the printed editions), extracts from Sefer ha-Rokeach, and other halakhic and midrashic
material (extracted by Neubauer). First printed: Ferrara 1554 (Vinograd, Thesaurus, p. 531, no. 28) and many times since. The work also exists in many manuscripts.
VII. Fols. 80r-81v: Moses Maimonides' pseudo-biography, published by A. Neubauer, in Israelietische Letterbode 7 (1881) p. 14-17, from this apparently unique manuscript.
VIII. Fols. 81v-90r: Commentary on Moses Maimonides' Moreh Nevukhim, entitled Ruach Chen (ascribed to Samuel ben Judah ibn Tibbon and others). First edition: Venice 1544 (Vinograd, Thesaurus, p. 247, no. 230.
IX. Fols. 90r-95v: Moses Maimonides' Hebrew introduction to his commentary on the Mishnah.
X. Fols. 95v-102r: an anonymous and apparently unique treatise on ethics.
XI. Fols. 102r-106r: letters by Hillel ben Samuel of Verona, published from this manuscript by E. Ashkenazi in Ta'am Zekenim (Frankfurt 1854), Z.H. Edelmann in Chemdah Genuzah (Koenigsberg 1856), and B. Richler, in Kiryat Sefer 62 (1988/9).
XII-XIV. Fols. 106r-140r: the historical treatise Sefer ha-Kabbalah (The Book of Tradition) by one of the earliest of the medieval Jewish historians, Abraham ben David Halevi ibn Daud (c. 1110-1180). First edition: Mantua 1514 (Vinograd, Thesaurus, p. 462, no. 14). The scribe also copied Ibn Daud's histories of the Jewish monarchy of the Second Temple era and of the Roman Empire, as well as excerpts on Jewish history from Isaac Israeli's Yesod Olam. This manuscript was used for variant readings by G. Cohen in preparing his critical edition of Sefer ha-Qabbalah (Philadelphia 1967).
Fol. 140v: Aggadic sayings.
XV. Fols. 141r: Megillat Ta'anit.
XVI. Fols. 141rv: some short midrashim on the Garden of Eden (Masekhet Gan Eden).
XVII. Fols. 141v-144r: Otot ha-Mashiach on eschatology. In this manuscript and in some others the title is Milchamot Melekh ha-Mashiach. With an introduction and epilogue missing in the printed editions. First printed: Constantinople 1519 (Vinograd, Thesaurus, p. 605, no. 107), and several times afterwards, including an annotated edition, not based on manuscripts, by Y. Even-Shemuel, Midreshei Ge'ulah (Tel Aviv 1943) p. 318-323.
XVIII. Fols. 144v-146v: short midrash on Gehinom.
XIX-XX. Fols. 146v-151r: two minor tractates of the Talmud, Masekhet Derekh Erets and Masekhet Kallah.
XXI. Fols. 151r-163r: the chronicle by Solomon ben Samson on the persecutions of the Jews during the First Crusades in 1096, published from this manuscript by A. Neubauer in Hebraeische Berichte ueber die Judenverfolgungen waehrend der Kreuzzeuege (Berlin 1892).
XXII. Fols. 163v-181v: Mishlei Shu'alim, fox fables by Berakhiah ben Natronai (Normandy and England, c. 1200). First edition: Mantua 1557 (Vinograd, Thesaurus, p. 462, no. 44).
XXIII. Fols. 181v-183r: Judah Halevi's Mi Kamokha (for Purim).
XXIV. Fols. 183r-187v: various short midrashim on Moses and the Jews in the wilderness of Sinai.
Asher ben Naphtali Hakohen (fol. 1r).
REFERENCES: Neubauer, no. 28, p. 8-12; Hebrew Paleography Project, Hebrew University, Jerusalem, No. C 568; Institute of Microfilmed Hebrew Manuscripts, Jerusalem, F 4699.