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Type of Item
This document is widely considered the most splendid of the extant manuscripts of the Mishneh Torah, the systematic code of Jewish law produced by the 12th-century Jewish philosopher, theologian, and physician, Moses ben Maimon, better known as Maimonides. The manuscript was made by a copyist from Spain, who commissioned an artist to illustrate the work and left space in the margins for drawings, decorative panels, and illuminations. The artwork was done in Italy, possibly in the workshop of Mateo De Ser Cambio in Perugia, circa 1400. A few ornamental headings ...
The Guide to the Perplexed
This work is an Arabic original of Moreh Nevukhim, Maimonides’ masterful synthesis of Aristotelian philosophy and traditional Jewish belief. Known in English as The Guide to the Perplexed, the work was originally composed in Arabic and translated into Hebrew by Samuel ibn Tibbon in 1204. Moses ben Maimon, better known as Maimonides, was a Jewish theologian, philosopher, and physician. He was born in Cόrdoba, Spain, in 1135. In 1160 he moved with his family to Fez, Morocco, to escape religious persecution, and eventually settled in Cairo, where he became the ...
Commentary on Tractate Avot with an Introduction (Shemona perakim)
This manuscript contains one of Maimonides’ commentaries on the Mishnah, the first major work of Rabbinic Judaism. The commentary is on the tractate Avot (Ethics of the fathers), in which Maimonides expounded on morality and the nature of man’s soul, with an introduction (Shemonah perakim) (Eight chapters). Also included are the thirteen principles of belief or articles of faith, a credo of Judaism formulated by Maimonides, a version of which is still used in most Jewish prayer books. Among the principles affirmed in the credo are the oneness of ...
Collection of Several Works
This manuscript contains a collection of several works by Maimonides, including Igeret teḥiyat ha-metim (Letter on resurrection) (translated by Judah Alharizi) and a collection of various medical writings. The Igeret has an introduction by Joseph ben Joel, of which only the last part is extant. The medical writings, by an anonymous translator, include Sefer ha-katseret (Treatise on asthma), from the original, Maqalah fi al-rabw; Maamar ha-mishgal (Treatise on sexual intercourse), from the original, Fi al-jama; Maamar shemirat ha-beriut (Guide to good health), from the original, Fi tadbir al-sihhah; and Maamar ...
Collection of Various Works by Maimonides
This manuscript contains translations into Hebrew of various works by Maimonides from the original Arabic. Included are: Moreh nevukhim, known in English as The Guide to the Perplexed, Perush ha-milim ha-zarot, and Maamar teḥiyat ha-metim, all translated by Samuel ibn Tibbon; Beur milot ha-higayon, translated by Moses ibn Tibbon; Perush perek helek, a commentary on the Mishnah; the tractate Sanhedrin, in a translation variously attributed to Judah Alharizi and Samuel ibn Tibbon; and the Epistle, or Igeret, to Joseph ibn Jabbar of Baghdad, in an anonymous translation. Ibn Jabbar was ...
Mishnah Commentary in Judeo-Arabic
This manuscript contains commentaries on the Mishnah by Maimonides: on Seder Moed (from the middle of tractate Eruvin), and on Seder Nashim. The manuscript shows hand-written corrections and emendations by Maimonides himself, as well as notes added in the margins by his son, Abraham he-Hasid, and by David ha-Nagid II and others. The headings are written in Sefardi square script. The manuscript was purchased in Damascus in 1908 by the Toledano brothers, who sold it to the noted bibliophile David Solomon Sassoon (Collection no. 72-73) and his descendants. It was ...
This ketubah, a marriage contract in Hebrew between two individuals identified as Shelomò, son of Zare of Carcassona and Bella di Merwanha, is a rare testimony to the Jewish presence in Sardinia, and specifically in Alghero on the northwestern coast of the island. In the second half of the 14th century, Alghero became the center of the Jewish community in Logudoro, a region in central-northern Sardinia. Jews enjoyed special privileges in Sardinia until the Inquisition and their expulsion in 1492, which was decreed by the ruler of Sardinia, Ferdinand II ...
The New Passover Haggadah
The Passover, or Pesach, Haggadah is one of the most important and beloved texts in the Jewish tradition. At the beginning of Passover, Jews the world over gather around tables to read from the Haggadah, a book containing the traditional narrative of the Exodus from Egypt. “Haggadah” means recital or retelling. With its songs and tales and emphasis on the instruction of children, the ancient Passover story is the most commonly illustrated Jewish prayer book. The New Passover Haggadah was created by Israeli artist Asher Kalderon, who in his introduction ...
The Passover, or Pesach, Haggadah is one of the most important and beloved texts in the Jewish tradition. At the beginning of Passover, Jews the world over gather around tables to read from the Haggadah, a book containing the traditional narrative of the Exodus from Egypt. “Haggadah” means recital or retelling. With its songs and tales and emphasis on the instruction of children, the ancient Passover story is the most commonly illustrated Jewish prayer book. The Moriah Haggadah was created by Israeli artist Avner Moriah, who drew his models from ...
The Song of Solomon
This work is a modern artist’s edition of the biblical Song of Songs, traditionally attributed to King Solomon. The Song of Songs has been interpreted in different ways, ranging from literal interpretations that focus on human love between a man and a woman to those that see it as a divine allegory of God’s love for the Jewish people. This edition, by Israeli artist Tamar Messer, emphasizes the connection between the Jewish people and the Land of Israel. The text is in Hebrew and English. The original silk ...
The Haftarah of Jonah
This work is an artist’s edition of the Book of Jonah, one of the twelve later or minor prophets in the Hebrew Bible. In the Jewish tradition, a haftarah is a reading from the prophets, which takes place on the Sabbath, festivals, and holy days. With its emphasis on the theme of repentance, the Book of Jonah has become a traditional part of the synagogue service on the holiest day in the Hebrew calendar, Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. This haftarah was created with original etchings and a ...
This codex is widely considered to be one of the most original of extant medieval mahzorim (Jewish holy day prayer books) from Spain, dating probably from the beginning of the 14th century. Written in Hebrew in Sephardic square characters, it contains two distinct parts that later were bound together. The larger part forms a Haggadah shel Pesach (the text of the order of service used at the beginning of Passover). It includes piyutim (liturgical poems, usually sung or chanted) for Passover and the Aramaic targum (translation) of Exodus, followed by ...
Of the nearly 500 Hebrew manuscripts held by the Bavarian State Library, the one presented here is without doubt the most valuable. It is the only surviving manuscript in the world that contains, with the exception of two missing leaves, the complete text of the Babylonian Talmud including some extra-canonical tracts: Derekh Eretz zuta, Pirkei Azzai, Kallā, Sôferîm, and Gērîm. In addition, the manuscript contains some texts that do not relate directly to the Talmud. Numerous entries of the names of owners make it possible to trace the history of ...
This Haggadah Shel Pesach (Passover Haggadah) contains the Hebrew and Aramaic texts that are read and sung on the first evening and, in many households in the Diaspora, on the second evening of the Passover festival. These texts often are richly illuminated and decorated with miniatures. This manuscript from Tegernsee Abbey, a former Benedictine monastery located on the Tegernsee in Bavaria, contains 23 miniatures. The manuscript also contains a very polemical commentary in Latin from a Christian point of view, written in 1492 by the Dominican Erhardus, who clearly possessed ...