Documents: 80, displayed: 21 - 40

Sub-project: Braginsky collection on e-codices

Start: December 2014

Status: In progress

Financed by: René and Susanne Braginsky Foundation

Description: The collection of Hebrew manuscripts of the Zurich collector René Braginsky is generally considered to be one of the largest private collections of Hebrew manuscripts in the world. It also contains a fair number of fine early printed books. The collection does not only contain codices from before and after the invention of printing, but also several hundred illuminated marriage contracts and Esther scrolls. In 2009, some hundred highlights from the collection were curated into a traveling exhibition, which was shown in Amsterdam, New York, Jerusalem, Zurich, and Berlin. Since 2014 e-codices is making documents of the collection online available. The project is generously supported by the René and Susanne Braginsky Foundation.

All Libraries and Collections

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Zürich, Braginsky Collection, B235
Parchment · 24 ff. · 14.4 x 90 cm · Pressburg, Judah Leib ben Meir of Glogau · 1730
Tefillot Yom Kippur Katan ("Prayers for the Minor Day of Atonement"), with Yiddish translation

The fast day Yom Kippur Katan has its origin in the holiday of Rosh Hodesh, which in biblical times marked the first day in the lunar calendar on which the crescent moon was visible after a new moon. This day, when work originally was not allowed, later, through the compilation of the Talmud, developed into a minor festival. The mystics of Safed in Upper Galilee turned Rosh Hodesh into a fast day and developed a liturgy based on penitential prayers for Yom Kippur ("Day of Atonement"). This gave rise to the name Yom Kippur Katan ("Minor Day of Atonement"). The new custom spread to Italy and finally on to Northern Europe. Similar collections of prayers were particularly popular in the 18th century. In contrast to many others, this exemplar is decorated with an illustrated title page. If Judah Leib ben Meir of Glogau had not identified himself as scribe on this title page, it would probably be assumed to be the work of Aaron Wolf Herlingen of Gewitsch, since the style and the script correspond to his. For the time being, one can only speculate about the connection between Herlingen and the actual scribe Meir. (red)

Online Since: 03/19/2015

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Zürich, Braginsky Collection, B242
Parchment · 164 ff. · 20 x 15.4 cm · Worms, Juspa shammes · [17th century]
Juspa (Jousep), Sefer Likkutei Yosef ("Joseph’s Compilation")

Joseph (Juspa), shammes of Worms (1604-1678), recorded the everyday life, the rites and the customs of the Jewish community in Worms, one of the oldest and most important in all of Europe. This autograph manuscript contains commentaries on the prayer book, on the Birkat Hamason ("Grace after Meals"), on the Haggadah and on the Pirkei Avot ("Sayings of the Fathers") as well as prayer-related customs and autobiographical remarks. The comments on Minhagim ("customs") were incorporated into the printed edition of the Wormser Minhagbuch, but large parts of this manuscript remain unpublished and serve as an important source for the religious history of one of the most significant Jewish communities in Europe. This manuscript belonged to, among others, Rabbi Michael Scheyer; later it was part of the private library of Salman Schocken in Jerusalem. (red)

Online Since: 03/19/2015

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Zürich, Braginsky Collection, B243 Vol. 1
Parchment · 270 ff. · 32.2 x 26.3 · Evora (Portugal), copied and vocalized by Isaac ben Ishai Sason · 1494
Hebrew Bible

At the end of the last volume (Vol. 4) of this Hebrew Bible with Masoretic comments (textual criticism) is the older colophon, which states that Isaac ben Ishai Sason completed it in 1491 in Ocaña, (Spain). At the end of the original first volume, now the second volume (Vol. 2), another colophon states that this part was completed in 1494 in Evora in the Kingdom of Portugal, two years after the expulsion of the Jews from Spanish Castile. Originally this Bible was divided into two parts, presenting an unusual, non-canonical order of the books. In the 19th century, it was divided into four volumes (Vol. 1, Vol. 2, Vol. 3, Vol. 4), received a new binding and was decorated with a purple leather cover and gold embossing. In the 18th century, this Bible was housed in the Convent of the Discalced Carmelites of S. Paolo in Florence; after the convent was sacked by Napoleonic forces, the manuscript was probably in the Vatican Library, but in 1827 already it was sold in England. Before coming to the Braginsky Collection in Zurich, it was part of the collection of Beriah Botfield. (red)

Online Since: 12/17/2015

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Zürich, Braginsky Collection, B243 Vol. 2
Parchment · 182 ff. · 32.2 x 26.3 · Evora (Portugal), copied and vocalized by Isaac ben Ishai Sason · 1494
Hebrew Bible

At the end of the last volume (Vol. 4) of this Hebrew Bible with Masoretic comments (textual criticism) is the older colophon, which states that Isaac ben Ishai Sason completed it in 1491 in Ocaña, (Spain). At the end of the original first volume, now the second volume (Vol. 2), another colophon states that this part was completed in 1494 in Evora in the Kingdom of Portugal, two years after the expulsion of the Jews from Spanish Castile. Originally this Bible was divided into two parts, presenting an unusual, non-canonical order of the books. In the 19th century, it was divided into four volumes (Vol. 1, Vol. 2, Vol. 3, Vol. 4), received a new binding and was decorated with a purple leather cover and gold embossing. In the 18th century, this Bible was housed in the Convent of the Discalced Carmelites of S. Paolo in Florence; after the convent was sacked by Napoleonic forces, the manuscript was probably in the Vatican Library, but in 1827 already it was sold in England. Before coming to the Braginsky Collection in Zurich, it was part of the collection of Beriah Botfield. (red)

Online Since: 12/17/2015

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Zürich, Braginsky Collection, B243 Vol. 3
Parchment · 184 ff. · 32.2 x 26.3 · Ocaña (Spain), copied and vocalized by Isaac ben Ishai Sason · 1491
Hebrew Bible

At the end of the last volume (Vol. 4) of this Hebrew Bible with Masoretic comments (textual criticism) is the older colophon, which states that Isaac ben Ishai Sason completed it in 1491 in Ocaña, (Spain). At the end of the original first volume, now the second volume (Vol. 2), another colophon states that this part was completed in 1494 in Evora in the Kingdom of Portugal, two years after the expulsion of the Jews from Spanish Castile. Originally this Bible was divided into two parts, presenting an unusual, non-canonical order of the books. In the 19th century, it was divided into four volumes (Vol. 1, Vol. 2, Vol. 3, Vol. 4), received a new binding and was decorated with a purple leather cover and gold embossing. In the 18th century, this Bible was housed in the Convent of the Discalced Carmelites of S. Paolo in Florence; after the convent was sacked by Napoleonic forces, the manuscript was probably in the Vatican Library, but in 1827 already it was sold in England. Before coming to the Braginsky Collection in Zurich, it was part of the collection of Beriah Botfield. (red)

Online Since: 12/17/2015

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Zürich, Braginsky Collection, B243 Vol. 4
Parchment · 193 ff. · 32.2 x 26.3 · Ocaña (Spain), copied and vocalized by Isaac ben Ishai Sason · 1491
Hebrew Bible

At the end of the last volume (Vol. 4) of this Hebrew Bible with Masoretic comments (textual criticism) is the older colophon, which states that Isaac ben Ishai Sason completed it in 1491 in Ocaña, (Spain). At the end of the original first volume, now the second volume (Vol. 2), another colophon states that this part was completed in 1494 in Evora in the Kingdom of Portugal, two years after the expulsion of the Jews from Spanish Castile. Originally this Bible was divided into two parts, presenting an unusual, non-canonical order of the books. In the 19th century, it was divided into four volumes (Vol. 1, Vol. 2, Vol. 3, Vol. 4), received a new binding and was decorated with a purple leather cover and gold embossing. In the 18th century, this Bible was housed in the Convent of the Discalced Carmelites of S. Paolo in Florence; after the convent was sacked by Napoleonic forces, the manuscript was probably in the Vatican Library, but in 1827 already it was sold in England. Before coming to the Braginsky Collection in Zurich, it was part of the collection of Beriah Botfield. (red)

Online Since: 12/17/2015

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Zürich, Braginsky Collection, B247
Paper · 70 ff. · 18 x 13 cm · [Germany] · ca. 1670-1671
Evronot ("Rules for Calculation of the Calendar")

This manuscript contains an Evronot ("Rules for Calculation of the Calendar"). Many so-called Sifre evoronot ("Books of calculation") emerged in the 17th and 18th centuries. They can be taken as a reaction to the Gregorian calendar, introduced in 1582. Such manuscripts often depict the biblical Issachar, one of Jacob’s sons, on or near a ladder; as an attribute, he holds an hourglass in his hand. This manuscript has two such miniatures; above the first of which there is also an illustration of a waning and a waxing moon with a human face and stars. The title page depicts an ornamental architectural arch. At the end of the book, there is the familiar motif of Moses seated at a table holding the Tablets of the Law. (red)

Online Since: 03/19/2015

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Zürich, Braginsky Collection, B250
Parchment · 247 ff. · 27 x 19 cm · [Italy] · [late 13th or early 14th century]
Zedekiah ben Abraham, Shibbolei ha-Leket ("Ears of Gleaning"), copied by the scribes Moses and Samuel

The halakhic text Shibbolei ha-Leket ("Ears of Gleaning") by Zedekia ben Abraham Anav of Rom (ca. 1225-1297) contains one of the first attempts of codifying Jewish religious law in Italy and of presenting a systematic overview thereof. The text is divided into 12 sections of a total of 372 paragraphs; its content addresses the rules concerning the order of the prayers and the laws for Shabbat, holidays and feasts, in addition to other halakhic subjects, which are presented from a markedly Ashkenazic perspective. The manuscript is not dated. It was copied by the scribes Moses and Samuel either during the lifetime or shortly after the death of the author and thus is one of the earliest surviving copies of the text. (red)

Online Since: 12/18/2014

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Zürich, Braginsky Collection, B251
Parchment · 81 ff. · 18.7 x 13.7 cm · [Italy] · [14th/15th century]
Abraham Abulafia (1240–after 1291), Hayyei ha-Olam ha-Ba ("Life of the World to Come")

The Spanish kabbalist Abraham Abulafia (1240- after 1291) advocated a concept of Kabbalah that had little or nothing to do with the well-known schools of thought. He considered Kabbalah neither as a form of gnosis nor as a kind of theosophical theory that concentrates on the Sefirot, the emanation of the Divine Being. Instead he attempted to attain a state of prophetic-mystical ecstasy, based on his conviction that the experience of the prophets was an ecstatic experience and that all true mystics were prophets. This work of his was especially popular and circulated under the titles Hayyei ha-Olam ha-Ba ("Life of the World to Come"), Sefer ha-Shem ("Book of the Divine Name") or Sefer ha-Iggulim ("Book of Circles"); in this manuscript, however, it is called Sefer ha-Shem ha-Meforash ("Book of the Ineffable name"). The manuscript presents ten inscriptions in concentric circles in red and black ink, as well as 128 only in black ink. They contain detailed instructions for mystical meditation. While contemplating these circles, one should recite the 72-lettered name of God, which is arrived at by combining the numerical values of the letters in the names of the twelve tribes of Israel, of the Patriarchs, and the nine letters of the words shivtei yisra’el ("the tribes of Irasel"). The reader should "enter" each of the triple black and red circles at the point where an "entrance" is designated by means of a small pen stroke. (red)

Online Since: 12/18/2014

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Zürich, Braginsky Collection, B252
Parchment · 54 ff. · 19 x 13.5 cm · [Northern Italy] · [last third of the 15th century]
Minhagim ("Religious Customs")

The book Minhagim ("Religious Customs") is attributed to Samuel of Ulm, although the authorship is not unequivocally clear. Contentwise the manuscript contains various teachings based on the views of Jacob Moellin (1360-1427). He is regarded as one of the most important spiritual authorities of the Ashkenazic world. The manuscript probably was written in the last third of the 15th century in Northern Italy, since the pen drawings can be placed in the Northern Italian tradition of that period. Several motifs from the manuscript seem to "grow" out of an ornament, such as a head with a bumpy nose and heavy eyelids or a long city wall with round towers, and are considered typical for Joel ben Simeon, the most important representative of this Northern Italian tradition of illustration. (red)

Online Since: 12/18/2014

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Zürich, Braginsky Collection, B253
Parchment · 118 ff. · 13.5 x 9.4 cm · [probably Rhineland] · [around 1400]
Mahzor according to the Ashkenazic Rite (Nussah Ashkenaz)

This obviously much-used manuscript is in good overall condition; it is written in an elegant square and semi-cursive Ashkenazic script. It contains daily prayers and piyyutim for holidays and special occasions. In addition, it contains the entire text of the Haggadah, which at this time already tended to be copied out separately. The manuscript contains interesting evidence of the influence of censorship. During the Middle Ages, the prayer Alenu le-shabbeah was believed to contain an insult to Christianity. As in many other cases, here, too, the controversial passage was omitted by the copyist (f. 19r-v). In the 16th century, the entire manuscript was inspected by Dominico Irosolimitano in Mantua, one of the most active censors of Jewish writings in Italy. However, he did not expurgate a single passage, but merely signed the last page of the manuscript (f. 112v), thus confirming his inspection. (red)

Online Since: 12/18/2014

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Zürich, Braginsky Collection, B257
Parchment · 23 ff. · 9.3 x 7 cm · [Vienna, copied and decorated by Meshullam Zimmel of Polna] · 1719
Perek Shira ("Chapter of Praise") and Kiddush-le-Yom Tow ("Sanctification of the Wine During a Festival")

The anonymous hymn of praise to the Creator Perek schira has been preserved in hundreds of manuscripts. Most of the important 18th-century Hebrew book illustrators illustrated the hymn. This manuscript was written for Hertz ben Leib Darmstadt of Frankfurt am Main and contains pen drawings by Meshulam Zimmel ben Moses from Polna/Bohemia; however, he probably produced this manuscript in Vienna. (red)

Online Since: 12/18/2014

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Zürich, Braginsky Collection, B259
Parchment · 60 ff. · 13.5 x 10 cm · Italy, copied by Leon ben Joshua de Rossi of Cesena · last third of the 15th century
Miscellany for Life Cycle Events

This Miscellany for Life Cycle Events from the last third of the 15th century was probably a wedding gift. It was copied by Leon ben Joshua de Rossi of Cesena. It contains: prayers for circumcision; a formula for a marriage contract from Correggio 1452 (without names); texts for marriage rituals, including a hymn with the acrostic El’azar; a marriage contract, concluded in Parma in 1420 between Judah, son of Elhanan of Ascoli Piceno, and Stella, daughter of Solomon of Mantua; prayers recited at the cemetery with a Grace after Meals for mourners; a ritual for avoiding bad dreams; Ka’arat kesef, an ethical poem by the 13th-century Provençal poet Jehoseph ben Hanan ben Nathan Ezobi; finally, added in a different hand, a personal prayer by Moses Latif for Joab Immanuel Finzi. Immediately following the contract, there is a depiction of a bridal couple (f. 10v). The bride’s headdress, clothing and veil correspond to the contemporary fashion of Ferrara, which confirms that the manuscript is of Italian origin, perhaps even from Ferrara. (red)

Online Since: 12/18/2014

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Zürich, Braginsky Collection, B262
Parchment · 23 ff. · 32 x 20.4 cm · [Central or Northern Europe], copied and decorated by Nathan ben Simson of Mezeritsch · 1730
Passover Haggadah with Yiddish translation of Had Gadya (Nathan ben Simson of Mezeritsch Haggadah)

This Passover Haggadah with a Yiddish translation of the hymn Had Gadya (f. 23r) was copied and illustrated by Nathan ben Simson of Mezeritsch (now Velke Mezirici, Tschechische Republik). It contains, among others, a decorated title page, a cycle depicting ceremonies performed during the Jewish Passover seder, nine text illustrations, and a cycle for the concluding hymn Had Gadya (f. 23r). (red)

Online Since: 12/18/2014

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Zürich, Braginsky Collection, B274
Parchment · 558 ff. · 31 x 23.4 cm · [Ashkenaz] Sierre? · 1288
Sefer Mitzvot Gadol (Large Book of Commandments)

This is the earliest known manuscript of Moses of Coucy's classic legal code and also the earliest dated codex in the Braginsky Collection. The Sefer Mitzvot Gadol (abbreviated the SeMaG) became a major and accepted source of halakhic rulings. It was frequently quoted and abridged; many commentaries were composed on it. The manuscript was copied by Hayyim ben Meir ha-Levi in 1288, possibly in Sierre, (Switzerland). This hypothesis is based on the fact that in the Biblothèque national in Paris there is another manuscript (ms. hébr.370) of the same work, by the same scribe, which is assumed to have been copied in Sierre a few years later than the Braginsky manuscript. More than two centuries after the writing of the manuscript, in 1528, Joseph ben Kalonymos acquired it in Posen (Poland) and completed the few leaves that were missing by that time. (red)

Online Since: 10/13/2016

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Zürich, Braginsky Collection, B282
Paper · 13 ff. · 13.3 x 8.5 cm · Amsterdam · 1752
Kalonymus ben Kalonymus, Massekhet Purim

The Massekhet Purim contained in this manuscript is a Purim parody by the Provençal author and translator Kalonymus ben Kalonymus (Arles 1286- after 1328), who wrote this work in Rome in the early 1320s. The text is about eating, drinking and drunkenness during Purim. The author humorously imitated the text and style of the Talmud. The illustrations include depictions of harlequins, of a street musician and of seven playing cards represented as trompe l’œil, which is rarely found in Hebrew manuscripts. The codex was copied in Amsterdam in 1752, at a time when this work was very popular in the Ashkenazic Jewish community. (red)

Online Since: 12/18/2014

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Zürich, Braginsky Collection, B283
Paper · 11 ff. · 29.2-32.2 x 20-22 cm · Venice · 1553-1555
Documents concerning the condemnation and burning of the Talmud

This collection of eleven documents in Italian concerning the condemnation and burning of the Talmud relate to one of the darkest periods in the history of the Hebrew book. The collection of documents constitute a more or less chronological account of the events and were probably a part of a file that belonged to a Venetian Inquisitor. Reproduced here is a summary (regesta) of six papal briefs from 1518-1537, in which Popes Leo X, Clement VII, and Paul III grant Daniel Bomberg licenses to print Hebrew books in Venice. Other documents include: orders to converted former Jews to inspect Hebrew texts for heretical content, copies of the relevant papal decrees, and reports on the events in Rome and Venice. (red)

Online Since: 03/22/2017

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Zürich, Braginsky Collection, B284
Parchment · 22 ff. · 26.8 x 16.2 cm · Vienna, copied and decorated by Aaron Wolf Herlingen · 1725
Haggadah with Yiddish instructions and translations of concluding songs (Herlingen Haggadah)

This manuscript is a masterpiece of Jewish book art by Aaron Wolf Herlingen, an artist born around 1700 in Gewitsch, Moravia, who worked in Pressburg (now Bratislava), Vienna, and perhaps elsewhere. About 40 manuscripts signed by him are extant today. This manuscript is ornamented with 60 painted illustrations and three word panels with decorated initials. The title page depicts Moses and Aaron on either side of the title. The area below the title shows the Israelites wandering through the desert and manna falling from heaven, alongside Moses, Aaron and their sister Miriam. Such a very unusual depiction of Miriam suggests that this Haggadah was produced for a woman of that name. At the end of the text there are two songs - one in Hebrew, the other in Aramaic - Echad mi-yodea and Had Gadya, with their respective Yiddish translations. (red)

Online Since: 12/18/2014

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Zürich, Braginsky Collection, B285
Parchment · 52 ff. · 30.4 x 19.7 cm · Amsterdam, copied and decorated by Hijman Binger · 1796
Passover Haggadah with commentaries (Hijman Binger Haggadah)

The Hijman Binger Haggadah is a typical example of Hebrew manuscript decoration in Central and Northern Europe at the end of the 18th and the beginning of the 19th centuries. Picture cycles accompany the written content. The illustrations show similarities to later Haggadot by Joseph ben David of Leipnik, such as the Haggadah from 1739 (Braginsky Collection ‬B317) and suggest that a Haggadah by this artist served as Hijman Binger’s model. Another rare feature of this manuscript is a map of the Holy Land, which was added at the very end (f. 52). (red)

Online Since: 03/19/2015

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Zürich, Braginsky Collection, B288
Parchment · 8 ff. · 17 x 10.6 cm · [Nyitra], copied and decorated by Leib Zahr Sofer of Lackenbach · 1816
Seder Tefillot u-Virkhot ha-Mohel (Order of prayers and blessings for the circumciser)

This book of prayers for the Mohel, who performs circumcisions, consists of only a few leaves; according to a note on the title page, it was a gift from Mendel Rosenbaum to his brother-in-law Joseph Elsas of Nitra (now in Slovakia, but formerly in Hungary). The manuscript is signed by Leib Zahr Sofer (scribe); the work of this unknown artist shows a close formal relationship to that of the most important calligrapher and illustrator working in Nitra in the early 19th century, Mordecai ben Josl (alias Marcus Donath). The final page has a calligram with the figure of Moses, holding the Tablets of the Law in one hand and pointing to the Pentateuch with the other hand. (red)

Online Since: 12/18/2014

Documents: 80, displayed: 21 - 40