Utopia, armarium codicum bibliophilorum, Ms. Heb. 1
Creative Commons License

Dr. Justine Isserles, chercheure associée, Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes-Saprat (Paris), 2019.

Manuscript title: Anthology of laws on ritual slaughter
Place of origin: Italy
Date of origin: 14th century
Support: Parchment (various qualities) and non-watermarked paper
Extent: ‎132 ff.‎
Format: 95 x 70 mm
Foliation: Foliotation in Arabic numerals in grey pencil, situated in the left corner of the top margin, going from right to left.‎
Collation: Quires : 14 quires of 1 senion, 9 quinions and 4 quaternions.‎ I senion (1r-12v) ; II-V quinions (13r-52v) ; VI quaternion (53r-60v) ; VII-VIII quinions (61r-81v)1; IX quinion (82r-90v)2 ; X quaternion (91r-98v) ; XI quinion (99r-108v) ; XII quaternion (109r-116v) ; XIII quinion (117r-126v) ; XIV quaternion (127r-132v)3
The first quire of the manuscript is made of an insertion of 2 parchment bifolios, one in the center of the quire and the other, at the exterior of the quire, used as guards to protect the paper folios. (technical term in French: Encartage double).‎
It appears that the codex originally had an extra first paper quire, made up of 4 bifolios or 8 folios, since one can count 8 stubs.‎
  • 1 : stub between ff. 72v-73r.
  • ‎2 : stub between ff. 88v-89r.
  • 3 : stub between ff. 131v-132r and 1 bifolio missing at the end, which would make a full quaternion quire.‎
The catchwords are situated in the bottom margin except on folios 108v, 126v, 132v.‎
Double catchwords: ff. 12v, 22v, 52v, 60v, 70v, 81v, 98v.‎
Simple catchwords: ff. 32v, 42v, 90v, 116v.‎
Condition: Manuscript without a binding, whose beginning and end are missing. Although there are a few stubs in the manuscript and the first paper folios are partially folded, ripped, stained and darkened (ff. 1r-8r) and the parchment pages at the end are also darkened, ripped and stained (ff. 130r-132v), the rest of the text is well preserved and legible throughout the manuscript (except for ff. 24v, 25v, 26r/v, 29v-30v, 38v, 45r/v with slightly faded ink and an ink stain on ff. 32v-33r). The manuscript has a yellowish humidity rim around the exterior margins throughout the manuscript.‎
Page layout: ‎1+2+1 columns of text (e.g. 16r, 24v, 30v, 38r, 75v). 10 traced lines for 10 written lines. The ends of lines are respected by elongation, compression and first letters of words found on the next line.‎
Central text surrounded by marginal glosses, situated in the upper, lateral and lower margins of a majority of pages in the manuscript.‎
Hardpoint ruling for the main text (e.g. ff. 54v, 97r) and for the marginal glosses (e.g. ff. 43v, 44r, 52v). Use of lead pencil ruling only on folios 41r, 42r.‎‎
Pricking:‎ Visible on folios 41r and 42r for main text and folios 37r and 38r for glosses.‎
Writing and hands:
  • Non-vocalized, Italian square script for the initial words and titles in medium and large modules and Italian bookhand script for the main text and the glosses in medium and small modules. Most of the manuscript was written in dark brown ink.‎
  • One scribe for the main text and glosses, except for the main text on 84r, which was added by a second scribe (or later hand) and the marginal glosses on folios 129v-131v which were written by a third scribe in a more Italo-Sephardic script in very light brown ink.‎
Decoration:
  • Brown ink decoration for the initial word panels on folios 66r, 72v and particularly on folio 109r, where the initial word and main text have been framed and decorated; the latter being surrounded by a sequence of foliate scrolls interspersed by sheaves of wheat.
  • Certain catchwords are also inserted into stylised crowns (ff. 22v, 52v, 90v, 98v, 116v), a box (f. 70v) or a hybrid looking monster (f. 90v).‎
  • Lastly some of the marginal glosses were written in simple geometrical shapes (ff. 49r, 51r, 52v, 54r, 55r, 58v, 61v, 62r, 63r, 69v, 90v).‎
Additions: Some annotations by later hands in the margins (e.g. f. 70v) and on the blank pages (e.g. f. 97v).‎
Binding: Codex without a binding. Only a remnant of brown darkened leather on the upper and lower part of the spine. The spine consists of two end bands and two double-strapped packed herringbone sewing.‎
Contents:
This very small manuscript (95 x 70 mm), written in Italy sometime during the 14th century (according to palaeographical criteria), can be considered as a manual for studying laws pertaining to ritual slaughter (Sheḥitah) and possible faults in kosher animals rendering them unkosher to eat (Treifah) by Judah ben Benjamin ha-Rofe Anav of Rome (Rivevan, d. after 1280), both laws of which are based on the Talmudic tractate Ḥulin. This work is followed by precepts on ritual slaughter taken from a legal work for the Jewish home, entitled Torat ha-Bayit ha-Arokh by Solomon ben Abraham ben Adret of Barcelona (Rashba, 1235-1310). Both authors and their works will be described below.
Judah ben Benjamin ha-Rofe was a liturgical poet, Talmudic scholar and member of the prestigious and ancient Roman family named Anau (with Italian pronunciation) or Anav, in Hebrew, meaning ‘humble’. According to tradition, the Anavs were descended from one of the aristocratic families of Jerusalem, whom Titus had exiled to Rome after the destruction of the Temple in 70 C.E. It is also the first Jewish family in Rome to be known by a surname. Other variants for this name are Degli Manzi, Del Manzi, Umano, Pietosi and Piatelli. In a colophon of a late 13th century Italian manuscript preserved in Zurich, Zentralbibliothek, Ms. Heidenheim 41, folio 10v, which also encloses a copy of the same work, the name Del Manzi, spelled here in one word, is used as a surname for Judah ben Benjamin ha-Rofe, instead of Anav, as can be observed in the following translation of the colophon: The laws of Sheḥitah are finished, whose author is the Rabbi R. Judah bar Benjamin ha-Rofe Delmanzi, may his soul be in Eden and may his memory be blessed for life in the next world (‎נשלמו הילכות שחיטה‎ ‎שחיבור הרב ר' יהודה ביר' בנמין הרופא דלמנזי‎ ‎נ'ע' וז'ל'ה'ה'‏‎).‎‎
Furthermore, there are branches stemming from the Anav family which bear equally ancient names, such as Min ha-Knesset (also found as De Synagoga or Mi-beit El) and Bozecco or Bozecchi. The latter family with this name is known to have had a synagogue in Rome named after it and where a ruling by the elders of the Jewish community of Rome on a particular case regarding the laws of Treifah took place on the 10th of the month of Iyyar in the year 5040 (equivalent to 11th April 1280 according to the Julian calendar), during Judah ben Benjamin’s lifetime.‎
The ruling considered the consumption of cattle with any sort of adhesion of flesh (‎סרכה‎/sirkhah) on the areas of its lungs forbidden (‎טרפה‎/trefah, litt. meaning ‘torn’, cf. Exodus 22:30: …You must not eat flesh that is torn… and thus not kosher). On the other hand, when there are no adhesions whatsoever on the cattle’s lungs, it is known in Yiddish as Glatt (‎גלאט‎) or in Hebrew as Ḥalaq (‎חלק‎) meaning ‘smooth’ and the animal is permitted and kosher. The written record of this decision discusses a case when some particular types of adhesions are permitted by some authorities but forbidden by the elders of the community of Rome. The ruling in question mentions two of the most respected Sephardic rabbinical authorities of the Middle Ages, Rabbi Solomon ben Abraham Adret (Rashba, 1235-1310), still alive in 1280 and Rabbi Moses ben Maimon, known as Maimonides (Rambam, 1135-1204), written in abbreviated form in the text. The elders of the community of Rome refute Maimonides’ opinion regarding the law found in chapter 11:10 from his Mishneh Torah, where he permits the adhesion (sirkhah) “… from the lobe to the flesh and the bones of the ribs. I, by contrast, am one of those who permit it.” Furthermore, it is interesting to note that Maimonides also refers to communities where this custom is forbidden in the next sentence: “…There are places where the custom is that if a sirkhah is from the lobe to the flesh and the bones of the ribs and the sirkhah is attached to both of them, they forbid it…” Consequently, the Jewish community of Rome is one of the communities which also forbids this practice by stating that they “…declare it trefah no matter in what manner it is stuck, whether it is stuck to its own pocket, even [if it is stuck to] flesh, in any location whatsoever.”
This ruling has been recorded in a marginal gloss of this small 14th century manual, on folios 126r-126v as follows:
Transcription: בחמישי בשבת בעשרה ימים לירחא אייר שנת חמשת אלפים וארבעים ליצירה נתקבצו כל יודעים דת ודין בקהל רומא ונמנו וגמרו בכנסת הבוציקי לנהוג בעניין אונא באומא ואונא באונא כדיברי רבינו שלמה ו'ה'ר'מ'ה' ב'מ'ז'ל' פירוש שלא כסידרן הראשונה עם השלישית אבל הראשונה עם השנייה בכל מקום שדבוקה זו לזו מכשירין ועינוניתא דוורדא נהא בני קהל רומא להטריף בכל עניין שדבוקה בין בכיסה אפילו בשר בין בכל מקום.‏ 1 ‎ Translation: On Thursday, 10th of the month of Iyyar, year 5040 from the Creation1, all those of the community of Rome ‘who have knowledge of law and judgment2’ congregated. They took a vote and resolved, in the Synagogue of Bozecchi, that on the topic of ‘a lobe stuck to the main body of the lung and a lobe stuck to another lobe’ they would conduct themselves according to the words of our Rabbi Solomon3 and of Rabbi Moses ben Maimon, may his memory be blessed: the meaning of [‘it is trefah when the adhesions] are out of order' is: [when] the first [lobe] adheres to the third4. But [if] the first [adheres] to the second, in any location at which they are stuck together, they permit it5. As for the small, rose-like lobe6, the members of the community of Rome declare it trefah no matter in what manner it is stuck, whether it is stuck to its own pocket, even [if it is stuck to] flesh7, in any location whatsoever. 
  • 1: Anno Mundi. Check footnote 7‎
  • 2: Cf. Esther 1:13.
  • 3: Cf. Torat ha-Bayit ha-Arokh, house 2, gate 3.‎
  • 4: Cf. Mishneh Torah, Sefer Kedushah, Hilkhot sheḥitah, chapter 8: 5: … the first lobe became attached to the third, [the animal] is treif…(‎שנסמכה ראשונה לשלישית טריפה‎)‎
  • 5: Cf. ibid., chapter 8: 5: … When one lobe is found clinging to the one next to it, [the animal] is permitted…(‎אוזן שנמצאת דבוקה בחברתה הסמוכה לה מותרת‎)‎
  • 6: Cf. ibid., chapter 8: 1: … The lungs have five lobes. When a person will drape them over his hand with the inner portion of the lung facing his face, there will be three [lobes] on the right and two on the left. In addition, at the right of [the lung], there is a small ear-like attachment. It is not in the row of the lobes. It has a pocket of its own and it is located in the pocket. This [attachment] is called a rose, because that is what it looks like. It is not counted as one of the number of lobes.‎‏ ‏
    ‎‏(וחמש אונות יש לריאה כשיתלה אותה אדם בידו ופני ריאה כנגד פניו, שלש מן הימין, ושתים מן השמאל, ובצד ימין ממנה כמו אזן קטנה ואינה בצד האונות ויש לה כמו כיס בפני עצמה והיא בתוך הכיס, ואוזן זו קטנה היא הנקרא ורדא מפני שהיא דומה לורד ואינה מן המנין, לפיכך אם לא נמצאת הורדא מותרת, שכך היא דרכה יש בהמות תמצא בהם ויש בהמות לא תמצא בהם, ואם נמצאת נקובה אע"פ שהכיס שלה סותם את הנקב הרי זו טרפה)‏‏.‏
  • 7: Cf. ibid., chapter 11: ‎‏9‏‎: Similarly, if there was a strand extending from the lung to the heart, the diaphragm, the protective covering of the heart, or the rose‏ ‏we forbid [the animal]. [This applies] whether the strand came from the body of the lung or whether it came from a lobe and [applies regardless of its size], even if it was a hairsbreadth. Similarly, when the rose is attached to its pocket or a strand extends from it to its pocket, we forbid it. And when a strand extends from lobe to lobe in improper order, we forbid [the animal].‎
    ‏ (וכן אם היה מן הריאה חוט משוך ללב או לטרפש הכבד או לכיס הלב או לורדא, בין שהיה החוט מן האום של ריאה בין שהיה מן האוזן ואפילו היה כחוט השערה אוסרין אותה, וכן ורדא שנמצאת דבוקה בכיסה או חוט יוצא ממנה לכיסה אוסרין אותה, וחוט היוצא מאזן לאזן שלא על הסדר אוסרין אותה).‏
    And chapter 11:10: There are places where the custom is that if a sirkhah (adhesion) is from the lobe to the flesh and the bones of the ribs and the sirkhah is attached to both of them, they forbid it. My father (Maïmonides’ father) and teacher is from those who forbid it. I, by contrast, am one of those who permit it.‎
    (יש מקומות שמנהגן אם מצאו סירכא מן האוזן לבשר ולעצם שבצלעות והסרכא דבוקה בשתיהן אוסרין אותה, ואבא מרי מן האוסרין ואני מן המתירין‏...‏)
[The transcription and translation of this halakhic text was done in collaboration with a colleague, Dr Israel Sandman, from the Department of Hebrew and Jewish Studies, University College, London and for whom I am grateful to for his help].
Conclusively, it appears that the laws on Sheḥitah and Treifah by Judah ben Benjamin ha-Rofe Anav were not only found in Italian slaughter manuals, such as Mss Heidenheim 41 and Private Collection Utopia, Ms Heb.1, which were undoubtedly destined to ritual slaughterers (Shoḥtim) and/or rabbis (who had to know how to verify an animal after it had been ritually slaughtered in some instances), but were also commonly inserted into medieval maḥzorim (prayer rituals containing the liturgy of the festivals of the Jewish year) according to the Roman rite. These laws not only made reference to the customs of the community of Rome but also justified their presence as appended material to the liturgy because of the need to have these laws at hand, for the verification of slaughtered animals before the festivals of the Jewish liturgical year, when eating meat was considered an important part of the meal. For examples of such Italian maḥzorim of liturgical-halakhic type containing these laws, see three 14th manuscripts housed in Parma, Biblioteca Palatina, MSS Parma 3008, Parma 2884 and Parma 350 (see Richler, n°890, 909, 911). Although, these latter manuscripts have not been viewed, it is very probable that the Bozecchi synagogue ruling is present within all the copies of the laws on Sheḥitah and Treifah. This is precisely the case in a fourth and last specimen, where this ruling was recorded on folio 190v in the 2nd volume of a 15th century Italian maḥzor according to the Roman rite, which also encloses the laws on Sheḥitah and Treifah by Judah ben Benjamin ha-Rofe Anav and is preceded on folio 190r, by a quote from Solomon ben Abraham Adret’s Torat ha-Bayit. This maḥzor used to be in the possession of Solomon Halberstam (shelfmarks n° 225-226) and then passed into the collection of Hebrew manuscripts from the Sir Moses Montefiore Endowment, before being sold at auction in 2004 at Sotheby’s in New York (see catalogue, n°174, pp. 233-235).
As for the legal work of Torat ha-Bayit ha-Arukh (Ed. Princeps Venice 1607), it was compiled by Solomon ben Abraham Adret (1235-1310), a Spanish rabbi and one of the foremost Jewish scholars of his time, whose influence and opinions carried weight far beyond the frontiers of Spain. Adret belonged to a well-to-do family of Barcelona, where he lived all his life. He not only left a literary legacy of thousands of responsa, he also composed novellae on 17 tractates of the Talmud as well as commentaries on the aggadot (stories, parables) in the Talmud. Furthermore, he acquired considerable knowledge in the philosophical and scientific literature of his day, even though he headed the movement against the spreading of these subjects to the populace. The legal compendium Torat ha-Bayit ha-Arukh is divided into seven parts and deals with ritual observances, such as ritual slaughter (Sheḥitah), forbidden foods (Treifah), from which some extracts found in our manuscript were taken, as well as laws on Gentile wine (Yayin nessekh) and ritual purity (Niddah). For practical purposes of guidance, Adret wrote the Torat ha-Bayit ha-Katsar (Ed. Princeps Cremona 1566) as an abridgement of the lengthy work by that bears the same name.‎
  • ff. 1r-2v : Lacunary index to the following work.‎
  • ff. 3r-108v : Commentary on the Talmudic tractate Ḥulin relative to the laws of ritual slaughter (Sheḥitah) and possible faults in kosher animals rendering them unkosher to eat (Treifah) by Judah ben Benjamin ha-Rofe Anav of Rome (Rivevan, d. after 1280).
    • (f. 108v) : Colophon to the Commentary on the Talmudic tractate :‎‎
      Transcription:
      נשלמו הילכות
      שחיטה וטריפה
      בארובה וקצרה בעין
      יפה פרים למיכל
      ועליהם
      לתרופה
      Translation :‎ The laws of Shekhitah and Treifah are finished in length and shortness with generosity, oxen to be eaten and on them [is the] remedy.‎
  • ff. 109r-132v Extracts on the laws of Sheḥitah taken from the Torat ha-Bayit ha-Arokh, a halakhic work on laws relative to the Jewish home by Solomon ben Abraham ben Aderet of Barcelona (Rashba, 1235-1310).‎
    • (f. 119v) : Transcription:
      עד כאן דברי הרב ז'ל'‏
      בתורת הבית
      להר' שלמה
      דברזילונא
      Translation :‎ Up to this point words of the Rabbi may his memory be blessed in the Torat ha-Bayit of the Rabbi Solomon of Barcelona.‎
Provenance of the manuscript: The provenance of this small manuscript is unknown, other that it was in the possession of a Protestant Augst family from Pfaffenhofen (Alsace, Lower-Rhine), who owned mills. This family then moved to Woerth (Alsace, Lower-Rhine) at some point in time. According to the present owner, the manuscript was in the possession of the Augst family since the middle of the 19th century.‎ For more information on the Jewish communities of Pfaffenhofen and Woerth see:‎ http://www.alemannia-judaica.de/pfaffenhoffen_synagogue.htm (viewed 1.04.2019) and ‎ http://www.alemannia-judaica.de/woerth_synagogue.htm (viewed 1.04.2019)‎
Acquisition of the manuscript: The manuscript has been in the current owner’s possession since the middle of the 20th century.‎
Bibliography:
  • Adret, Solomon ben Abraham, Torat ha-Bayit ha-Arokh. See work in Hebrew online at: https://www.sefaria.org/Torat_HaBayit_HaAroch?lang=bi (viewed 2.04.2019).
  • Anav, Zedeqiah b. Abraham ha-Rofeh, Shibbole ha-Leqet ha-Shalem, (ed.) S. K. Mirsky, (New York: Sura, 1966). ‎ ‎(The commentary to the tractate Ḥulin on the laws of shekhitah and treifah by Judah ben Benjamin ha-Rofe Anav has been published in the introduction of this work. Alternatively, this commentary can be found on www.Hebrewbooks.org: http://beta.hebrewbooks.org/16230 [viewed 2.04.2019], under the title ‎פירוש ופסוקי ריבב''ן לרבינו יהודה ב''ר בנימין הרופא למשפחת ענוים על מסכת חולין‎). ‎
  • Eli Cashdan, The Babylonian Talmud. Seder Kodashim. Hullin. Translated into English. With Notes, Glossary, and Indices (London: Soncino, 1948).
  • Encyclopedia Judaica (Jerusalem, Keter Publishing House, 1973), vol. 4, s.v. Adret, Solomon ben Abraham pp. 305-308; s.v. Anau pp. 934-936; s.v. Anav, Judah ben Benjamin ha-Rofe pp. 938-939.‎
  • Maimon, Moses b., Mishneh Torah: see a Hebrew and English version on www.Chabad.org: ‎ https://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/971824/jewish/Shechitah.htm
  • B. Richler (ed.), Hebrew Manuscripts in the Vatican Library: Catalogue. Compiled by the staff of the Institute of Microfilmed Hebrew Manuscripts, Jewish National and University Library, Jerusalem; paleographical and codicological descriptions Malachi Beit-Arie in collaboration with Nurit Pasternak (Città del Vaticano: Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, 2008), pp. 207-208 (n°890); pp. 215-216 (n°909); p. 217 (n°911).
  • Sotheby’s Important Hebrew Manuscripts from the Montefiore Endowment (sales catalogue, 27-28 October 2004) (New York: 2004), n°174.