Zürich, Zentralbibliothek, Ms. Heid. 51
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Dr. Justine Isserles, chercheure associée, Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes-Saprat (Paris), 2019.

Titre du manuscrit: Halakhic and calendrical Miscellany
Origine: Ashkenaz
Périodes:
  • Textual unit 1: mid-15th century‎
  • Textual unit 2: end- 14th to mid-15th century
Support: Watermarked paper.‎ [according to J. Prijs’ printed catalogue, p. 115, the watermarks found in the manuscript are the following: a hunting horn (Briquet n°7771); a crown (Briquet n°4637); an ox head (Briquet n°14929-14930)].
Volume: I + 209 + I‎
Format: 212-215 x 146-150 mm
Numérotation des pages: One older pagination in black ink going from 1 to 88 and two foliotations: one in black ink from 50 to 57 and a second one in grey pencil going from 1 to 213. All three numberings are in Arabic numerals and situated in the top corner of the exterior lateral margin, going from right to left.‎
Composition des cahiers: It is not possible to count them due to the present state of the manuscript, which has been rebound with missing pages and sometimes out of order; backwards (f. 60) or upside-down (ff. 204, 211) (see under content).
‎ Catchwords:‎ ff. 32v, 80v, 105v, 109v, 110v-115r, 129v, 132v, 134v, 137r-138r, 139v-141r.‎
Etat: Heavily damaged manuscript (restored sometime during the 19th century), particularly folio 6, which has been cut and folios 43 to 45, which have been partially damaged. Several folios 46 to 49 are no longer extant and folios are missing between: 18 and 19; 58 and 59; 154 and 155. Numerous humidity stains (e.g. ff. 109-161) and torn, rounded and uneven borders of the pages throughout the manuscript.‎
Mise en page: Presence of 3 types of ruling for some calendrical tables, lists and texts:‎ ‎
Textual unit 1, ff. 1r-20v; ff. 25r-45v: The end of lines is respected by elongation and compression of letters as well as graphic fillers‎
Textual unit 2, ff. 21r-24v; ff. 50r-213v: Generally, the end of lines varies in length into the left lateral margin which is very narrow, since the main portions of text were written without respecting it. Very seldom, a slight compression of the last letters of a word can be observed.‎
Full page layout, often interspersed by tables, rosters and lists. Folios 2r-3r bear marginal glosses surrounding the main text. Folios 21r/v, 57r contain glosses in the outer lateral margin.
Type d'écritures et copistes: Ashkenazi bookhand script for the main text and square script for the initial words. The modules of writing vary from small bookhand (e.g. ff. 1r-45v) and medium (e.g. ff. 109r-152r; 187r-209r) to larger calligraphic, ‘gothic’ type square script for some of the initial words (e.g. ff. 13r-15r), typical of the 15th century. Partial vocalization throughout the manuscript.‎

  • Textual unit 1: ff. 1r-20v; ff. 25r-45v (ff. 46-49 are no longer extant)‎
    Scribe named on folio 35r, line 6: ‎יעקב‎ (Jacob), highlighted by dots in a diagonal line.‎
    Script: Compact and small facture bookhand script for the main text and larger calligraphic square script for the initial words. Dark brown ink.‎
  • Textual unit 2: ff. 21r-24v; ff. 50r-213v
    Scribe named on the following folios: ff. 142v, 196r, 204v: ‎מתתיה בר שמעון‎ ‎דוד‎ (David Mattatiah bar Shimon). The name ‎דוד‎ (David) is highlighted by dots in a diagonal line on folio 95r.
    ‎ Script: Untidy script and layout; wider and less compact script on the page, going from a small module (e.g. ff. 81r-103v) to a medium module (e.g. ff. 109r-152r) of bookhand (main text) and square script (initial words), where the written lines of the page are not always straight and the ink colour varies from dark brown (e.g. ff. 102v-103r) to very light brown (e.g. ff. 22v-23r). This scribe evidently sometimes came back to make later notes on his own work, as the same script can be seen in dark and light brown ink in smaller and larger modules (e.g. ff. 168r, 169r, 169v-179r). Some vernacular words have been vocalized.‎
Décoration:
  • ff. 32v, 80v: simple decoration surrounding the catchwords in brown ink‎
  • f. 210r: two faces drawn in brown ink, within a blank space of the astrological table.‎
Ajouts: Very few later additions in the blank spaces of the pages.‎
  • f. 167v: brown ink, very compact small module bookhand script, partially vocalized. An incantation to be repeated 3 times.
  • f. 171v: brown ink, later hand, lower left margin, calendar text.‎
  • f. 203r: black ink, vertical inscription in a small module bookhand script. A note relative to calendrical material on the page.
Reliure: 19th century black cardboard binding (237 x 166 mm) with a paper sticker on the bottom of the spine (covering an older sticker) with the following shelfmark: Ms Heid. 51. Some pages were bound upside down: ff. 204, 211. On the flyleaf at the end of the volume, Joseph Prijs wrote a Latin note in grey pencil mentioning the missing folios 46-49 and that therefore there are 209 folios, dated January 1943 and signed with the initials Pr.‎
Sommaire:
This 14th and 15th century Askhenazi miscellany is a vademecum for personal use, destined to a scholar and composed mainly of halakhic material on ritual slaughtering, reflecting the decisions of the most influential rabbinical authorities from 13th to 15th century Ashkenaz, as well as a great number of treatises and tables on the Jewish and Christian calendars. In addition, there is a selection of liturgical and mystical commentaries, in addition to excerpts of ethical, Midrashic and Talmudic literature. The margins of the manuscript are filled with small notes and texts, laid out in different directions, on medical recipes and magical incantations for various occasions in Hebrew and in Old West Yiddish. ‎ The second scribe, named David Mattayiah bar Shimon, who copied most of this manuscript (ff. 21r-24v and 50v-213v), was also its owner and clearly copied all these texts for his personal use (see untidy bookhand script and layout) over a period of 50 years, as can been seen by the scores of dates found throughout the manuscript. This scribe must have possessed the first part of the manuscript (ff. 1r-20v and 25r-45v), attributed to another scribe named Jacob, and collated it to his own work, since he picks up writing on folio 21r and until folio 24v with a commentary on the same subject of ritual slaughtering as the first scribe.‎
In an attempt to establish a portrait of David Mattatyiah bar Shimon, one can first of all assert that he was part of the intellectual elite of medieval Ashkenaz. Moreover, he was a pious man with a mystical predisposition, which can be identified from the presence of liturgical and mystical commentaries by two leading early 13th century Ashkenazi rabbis and mystics; namely Eleazar ben Judah of Worms (1176-1238) and his master, Judah ben Samuel he-Ḥasid of Regensburg (1150-1217). Furthermore, from the numerous halakhic texts on ritual slaughtering enclosed in this manuscript, as well as two magical incantations for healing incision wounds, it would be tempting to suggest that he was not only a ritual slaughterer (Shoḥeṭ) by profession, but also perhaps a physician. More evidence on this latter proposition are presence of the following texts: a medical treatise on embryos, some notes on medical-astrology, recipes for fevers and a hygiene and dietary calendar. This supposed ritual slaughterer/ physician also may have had to travel, as can be seen by the inclusion in the manuscript, of two wayfarer’s prayers, one of which involved protective angels and is attributed to Judah ben Samuel he-Ḥasid of Regensburg, as well as magical incantations (segulot) against attacks from a sword and getting beaten with a stick by outlaws.
‎ Lastly and most intriguingly, are the numerous calendar treatises and tables, not only on the Jewish calendar but also on the Christian calendar. After verifying the dates, David Mattayiah bar Shimon must have copied this calendrical material over a period of approximately 50 years (if the dates in the calendars were relevant to his time), spanning from 1398/99 (precise date in manuscript) to 1448 (first date of the latest calendar cycle). It appears that his interest lay, not only in the knowledge of the important days of the Julian calendar, for probable commercial reasons or for writing contracts as a potential moneylender, but more unusually in the scientific functioning the Christian liturgical year, which may have been necessary for him to understand if he had interactions and scientific exchanges with Gentile scholars of computus.‎
  • ff. 1r-3r Miscellaneous: Ethics, halakhah‎
    • (ff. 1r/v) : Fragment of an ethical text.‎
    • (ff. 2r-3r) : Fragmentary text on the Hilkhot Berakhot by Meir ben Barukh of Rothenburg (Maharam, c. 1215-1293), with a marginal commentary composed of passages taken from the Sefer Mordekhai, an authoritative halakhic work by one of the Maharam’s most fervent disciples, Mordekhai ben Hillel ha-Kohen (c. 1250-1298). ‎
  • ff. 3r-8r : Calendrical section
    • (ff. 3r-5v) : Igul de Rav Nakhshon with the list of biblical pericopes and Jewish festivals for simple and intercalated years
    • (ff. 5v-6v) (see below identical calendar on ff. 142v-149v): Solstices and equinoxes for the 264th cycle spanning the years 4988-5016 (= 1238-1256 C.E.): the calendar begins with the date (5)065 (‎סה‎) (= 1305 C.E.) and ends 9 years later with then date (5)073 (‎עג‎) (= 1313 C.E.);
    • (ff. 7r-8r) : Calendar for the years 205 (‎רה‎) (1445 C.E.) to 225 (‎רכה‎) (= 1465 C.E.) ‎
  • f. 8v : blank page.‎
  • ff. 9r-19r Miscellaneous: Ethics, halakhah, Torah readings, blessings, extracts from the Talmud, prayer
    • (ff. 9r-10v) : Passages from the Sefer Hasidim. This ethical and moralistic work called The Book of the Pietists was anonymously written but attributed to Judah ben Samuel He-Ḥasid of Regensburg (c. 1150-1217). (This portion of text in Heid. 51 is mentioned in Marcus, p. 92. Another fragment of this work is also preserved at the Zentralbibliothek, Zurich and mentioned in this book, p. 96, without a shelfmark). The shelfmark of this fragment is D74 and was described and digitized on the Books Within Books: Hebrew Manuscript Fragments in European Libraries (BWB) database. See www.hebrewmanuscript.com (free registration).‎
    • (ff. 10v-13r) Responsa (Teshuvot) by Meir ben Barukh of Rothenburg (Maharam, c. 1215-1293).
    • (ff. 13r-15v) : List of biblical pericopes (parashyiot) for all Five Books of Moses, which are read together or separately, depending on if the year in question is simple or intercalated.
    • (ff. 15v-16r) : Series of blessings for various occasions.
    • (ff. 16v-17r) : Extract of a medical treatise on the description of the embryo (‎יצירת הוולד‎).‎
    • (ff. 17r-18r) : Aggadic passages from the Talmud.‎
    • (ff. 18r/v) : Small rhymed prayer recited when one is at table. (beginning near the top of the page. See transcription of this text in Prijs, 2018, p. 348), followed by small paragraphs relative to medical-astrology and ending with small paragraphs on various customs.‎ Missing folios between ff. 18 and 19.‎
    • (f. 19r) : Excerpt of a liturgical commentary on the second day of Rosh ha-Shanah.‎
  • ff. 19v-56v Halakhic section
    • (ff. 19v-20v) : Lacunary text (at the end between folios 20 and 21) on the laws of verification (‎בדיקות‎) of the animal with regard to ritual slaughter by Jacob Weill, a German rabbi and Talmudist of the 1st half of the 15th century (died before 1456). The only works still preserved by him are his Sheelot u-Teshuvot (ed. Prin. Venice, 1549), which include the laws on ritual slaughter and verification of the animal (Sheḥitot u-bediqot/ ‎שחיטות ובדיקות‎), partially copied here only with the text on Bediqot.
    • (ff. 21r-24v) : Portions of laws on Sheḥitah (ff. 21r-24r) and Bediqah (ff. 24r/v) taken from the Sefer Mitsvot Gadol (Semag) by Moses ben Jacob of Coucy (1st half 13th c.) a very popular halakhic compendium completed in 1247 influenced by MaimonidesMishneh Torah and contemporary rabbinical literature from Franco-Germany, and organized according to Maimonides’ listing of 613 commandments, with 248 positive ones and 365 negative ones. ‎
    • (ff. 25r-56v) : Halakhic commentary from Franco-German halakhic compendiums and references to several Franco-German rabbinical authorities. The sources for Issur ve-Heiter and Shabbat are mainly taken from the Sefer ha-Terumah by Barukh ben Isaac of Worms (active c. 1200); with inserted commentaries from the Avi ha-Ezri, which refers to Eliezer ben Joel ha-Levi de Bonn (ca. 1140-1225) author of the halakhic compendium Sefer ha-Raviah, as well as the Sefer ha-Mitsvot probably referring to the Sefer Mitsvot Gadol (Semag) by Moses ben Jacob of Coucy (1st half 13th c.). There are also several additions on the laws of Sheḥitah for Meir ben Barukh of Rothenburg (c. 1215-1293), with the mention of by the acronym Maharam in the text.‎
      • (ff. 25r-37v) and 42r-45v (ff. 43-45 are very damaged): Forbidden and permissible laws (Issur ve-Heiter, including laws on Sheḥitah, Terefah, Yayin Nessekh, Niddah, Ḥallah). (See explicit f. 39v: ‎סליק איסור והיתר אבי העזרי וספר התרומה וספר המצות‎).
      • These laws are followed by ff. 37v-39v: Laws on the Sabbath (Shabbat)
      • (ff.39v-41v) : Permissible and forbidden laws relative to Pessaḥ (Issur ve-Heiter Pessaḥ) (‎אתחיל איסור והיתר של פסח‎) and Ḥol ha-Moed Pessaḥ
      • (ff. 42r-45v) : laws on Issur ve-Heiter.
      • (ff. 50r-56v) Laws on Circumcision (Hilkhot Milah) The sources here are principally taken from the Maḥzor Vitry (Hurwitz, vol. 2, pp. 616-630) but with some additional commentaries. This work is a liturgical-halakhic compendium and one of the most imported sources for medieval Franco-German Jewry, compiled in the 11th century by a disciple of Solomon ben Isaac (Rashi, 1040-1105), named Simḥah ben Samuel of Vitry (died c. 1105). Although the original work is lost, there are several extant manuscripts from Northern France and Ashkenaz, dated between the mid-12th c. and the late 14th century (see Stern and Isserles, 2015, p. 201, n. 2).‎
  • ff. 56v-61v Calendars, liturgical commentary and astrological material
    • (f. 56v) : List of biblical periscopes (parashyiot) read during 7 normal years (‎פשותות‎) and 7 intercalated years (‎מעוברת‎) for the year 1438 (‎קצח‎) to 1441 (‎רא‎).‎
    • (ff- 57r-v) : Calendar for finding out the Golden number (incipit in margin: ‎זה הלוח נקרא לוח הזהב‎); the days and hours at which the equinoxes and solstices (‎תקופות‎) fall, with the indication of all intercalated years identified in the calendar as ‎בשי'‏‎, which stands for ‎‏ בששיטר‏‎ (bissitr) or ‘bissextile’ in Judeo-French (on this word, which is also found elsewhere in Ms Heidenheim 51 (ff. 164v; 184v), see Isserles, 2019, p. 951). The calendar is displayed in a format of 7 columns of Hebrew letters (which have a numerical value) for the 7 days of the week (i.e. the 1st day of the week according to Jewish tradition is Sunday = ‎א‎/1; Tuesday = ‎ב‎/‎‏2‏‎). The golden number is a feature borrowed from Christian liturgical calendars, which has been Judaized and is a number assigned to each year in sequence; used to indicate the dates of all the calendric new moons for each year in a 19-year Metonic cycle.‎
    • (f. 57v) : contains the rest of the commentary on the aforementioned calendar as well as an added note by the same scribe, written in another direction on the page. It consists of a segulah in Old West Yiddish to be recited by wayfarers.‎
    • (ff. 58r-60r) and folio 60v: Liturgical commentary on the Shema Israel prayer. (folios are missing between folios 58 and 59). Moreover, folio 60r/v was bound backwards, since the liturgical commentary is found on folio 60v and ends on folio 60r.‎
    • (f. 60r) : Beginning of the introduction to the Sefer Mitsvot Gadol (Semag) by Moses ben Jacob of Coucy (1st half 13th c.) (lacunary).‎
    • (ff. 61r/v) : Calendar table displaying a perpetual 19-year cycle indicating the main feasts (Easter/Qezaḥ/‎קצח ‏‎ and Pentecost/Pondeqote/‎פונדקוטא‎) and fasts (Septuagesima Sunday/‎אללויא‎ and Lent/Careisme/‎כרישמא‎) of the Lenten and Paschal cycle. The word ‎אללויא ‏‎ for Septuagesima Sunday is short for ha-naḥat ͗elilui͗ (‎הנחת אללויא‎), literally meaning the ‘the rest of the idol’ and possibly refers to the wandering and fasting of Jesus during 40 days in the desert. This name is found again in a treatise comparing Jewish and Julian calendars and feasts, during a 19-year cycle later on in the manuscript, ff. 161v163v (see Nothaft and Isserles, p. 16-17 and note 36, published image of f. 61r).
      ‎ Next to this table to the left is a lacunary astronomical text which ends abruptly on folio 61v.‎
  • ff. 62r-76r : Laws on ritual slaughtering (Hilkhot Tereifot, Sheḥitot, Bediqot)‎
    • (ff. 62r-66r) : Dinei Bediqot
    • (ff. 66r/v) : Hilkhot Tereifot
    • (ff. 66v-71v) : Hilkhot Sheḥitot ve-bediqot , taken from the Sefer Mitsvot Gadol by Moses ben Jacob of Coucy.‎
    • (ff. 71v-74v) : Hilkhot Sheḥitah from the Sefer Mitsvot Qatan (Semaq), a halakhic compendium, which also includes ethical and aggadic material, written c. 1276-1277 by Isaac ben Joseph of Corbeil (d. 1280), one of the great codifiers and French tosafists of the 13th century. The work is also called « Sheva Ammudei ha-Golah » or the « Seven Pillars of the Exile », due to its division into seven sections, corresponding to the seven days a week, encouraging its daily study. This work is an abridged version of the Sefer Mitsvot Gadol. These laws are accompanied by the commentaries of Peretz ben Elijah of Corbeil (d. 1295), who wrote glosses on the Semaq. Some of these glosses, like the one on folio 72r, is not found in the published editions of the work (Cremona, 1556-1561; Cracow, 1596). ‎
    • (ff. 75r/v) : Hilkhot Sheḥitot ve-bediqot attributed to an author with a possibly misspelled name (‎יצחק מקופיט‎, see title). The laws are numbered in alphabetical/numerical acrostics. f. 75v: undeciphered paragraph in Old west Yiddish in the bottom margin.‎
    • (f. 76r) : fragmentary text and commentary on Hilkhot Sheḥitot.‎
  • ff. 76v-80v : Miscellaneous: Calendars, liturgical poetry, magical incantations (segulot)‎
    • (f. 76v) : Calendar table with the year types for normal and intercalated years, spanning from the 272nd cycle (5150-5168 = 1390-1408 C.E.) to the 279th cycle (5283-5301 =1523-1541). This table is accompanied by a commentary.‎
    • (f. 77r) : List of recipes and illnesses in Old West Yiddish (36 out of a total of 80).‎
    • (f. 77v) : Upside-down text: Teḥinah (Davidson n° 1752) liturgical supplication by Solomon Ibn Gabirol (11th c.), Andalusian poet and philosopher.‎
    • (f. 78r) right column: list of words containing the letter ‎ש‎ and left column: Moladot for the year (5)190 (‎קץ‎) = 1430 C.E. (part of the text has been scratched out and is partially erased).‎
    • (f. 78v) : Two Segulot in Old West Yiddish destined to protect from harm by outlaws. The first, against attacks from a sword (‎זה השבע' טובה לחרב‎) and the second, an incantation against a beating form a stick (Stiel/‎שטהל‎) (‎אין בשוויירא דין שטהל [.]רך‎).
    • (f. 79r) : List of Tequfot (equinoxes and solstices) for the years (5)270 (‎רע‎) to (5)298 (‎רצח‎), equivalent to 1510-1538 C.E. (The list of years in not in chronological order).‎
    • (ff. 79v-80r) : List of Tequfot and random calendrical notes.‎
    • (f. 80v) : calendar text and a Segulah for protection during travel and below it a magical formula to ward off street thieves, attributed to Jacob Halevi.‎
  • ff. 81r-103v Miscellaneous: Philosophical and liturgical poetry, liturgical commentary, mystical and halakhic commentaries
    • (ff. 81r-84v) : Poem entitled Keter Malkhut (Davidson n°‎כ ‏‎581) by Solomon Ibn Gabirol (11th c.), is a philosophical treatise in poetical form. ‎
    • (ff. 84v-92v) : Extracts from the Peirush ha-Tefilah by Eleazar ben Judah ben Kalonymos of Worms (1176-1238). Mystical commentary dealing with the Gematria on the weekdays, Sabbaths and New Year liturgy. On folio 90r the is a mention of him under the following identification: ‎‏...אלעזר בן רבינו משולם הגדול...‏‎. Eleazar ben Meshullam ha-Gadol. Meshullam ben Kalonymos ha-Gadol (Rome, active 976 C.E) was an ancestor of Eleazar ben Judah ben Kalonymos of Worms. See mention on folio 88v (line 12 from the bottom) of a commentary by a person named Samuel Cavaillon (‎שמואל קוולין‎)‎‏ ‏‎(See Gross, pp. 538-539).‎
    • (ff. 92v-99r) : Two chapters 1 (‎שער הפירוש‎) and 7 (‎שער הקדוש‎) from the Sefer Ba’alei ha-Nefesh (called Sefer Baal ha-Nefesh in the manuscript) by the Provençal Talmudic and Cabbalistic authority, Avraham ben David (Rabad, 1125-1198). Most of his works are lost, but the Sefer Ba’alei ha-Nefesh is a halakhic treatise on the laws pertaining to ritual impurity regarding women. (ed. Prin. Venice, 1602).‎
    • (ff. 99v-101r) : Piyyut Ein Keloheinu by Isaac ha-Naqdan.
    • (ff. 101r-102r) : Teḥinah (Davidson n° 6104), a liturgical supplication by Judah ben Solomon Al-Ḥarizi (c. 1165-1225), Spanish poet and translator.‎
    • (ff. 102r-103v) : Laws on ritual impurity regarding women (Hilkhot niddah) Mention of the Sefer ha-Mitsvot (ha-Gadol) by Moses ben Jacob of Coucy (1st half 13th c., f. 102v, lines 15 and 19 from bottom. Moreover, the name of the work is misspelled as ‎ספר המקצועות‎) and of the Sefer ha-Terumah by Barukh ben Isaac of Worms (active c. 1200, f. 103v, line 4 from the top).‎
  • ff. 103v-108v : Miscellaneous: Calendars and halakhic texts
    • (f. 103v) : Small paragraph relative to the time when Pessaḥ falls, followed by an homiletical explanation on the sofit letters of the Hebrew alphabet.‎
    • (f. 104r) : Sequence of the Tequfot-times , listed for a period of four years, was established by the French Tosafist Joseph ben Isaac Bekhor Shor of Orleans (mid-twelfth century). The list covers the years (5)137 (‎קלז‎) (=1377 C.E.) this date is written over an older one of (5)109 (‎קט‎) =1349 C.E. which had been barred out because it was erroneous. The list ends with the date (5)140 (‎קמ‎)‎‏ ‏‎= 1380 C.E.
      incipit:‎ ‎ ‎אלו ד' תקופות אשר יסד ה'ר'ר' יוסף בכור שור ז'ל' והם הולכו' על דרך חגות הנוצי'‏ So far, seven lists have been discovered in 14th- and 15th-century Hebrew manuscripts from Franco-Germany and Southern France, where the timings of the Tequfot are accompanied by Christian feasts or saint day, according to the geographical area in which they were celebrated. (see Nothaft and Isserles, p. 19 and note 42 for the list of manuscripts; ibid., p. 20 and note 45. See also lower down, a second Tequfot list on folio 152v. Moreover, Joseph Prijs also mentions that there is another such list in a Hebrew manuscript from Vienna, Ms 34, dated 1257 C.E., see Prjis, 2018, p. 111, n°26 and Gross, p. 35).
      ‎ There are some partially erased notes at the bottom of the page with the years (5)194 (‎קצד‎) = 1434 C.E. (sideways note) and (5)1‎‏9‏‎7 (‎קצז‎) = 1437 C.E.‎
    • (f. 104v) : Piyyut of Eḥad Iaḥid Meyuḥad (Davidson, n° ‎א‎ 2410) on the unity of G. by Avigdor Qara (died 1439), a German rabbi, kabbalist and poet. The poem has been copied here Hebrew and translated in Old West Yiddish, verse by verse. Only the first five verses out of ten have been copied here (see the edition of this text in Prijs, 2018, p. 348). This poem was published in Amsterdam, in 1722, after meal blessings of the Birkat ha-Mazon.
      ‎ Sideways on folio 104v is the list of the 12 Zodiac signs in vocalized Old west Yiddish (theses names have been edited in Isserles, 2019, p. 953). ‎
    • (ff. 105r-108r) : Hilkhot Bediqot taken from the Sefer Or Zarua by Isaac ben Moses of Vienna (Isaac Or Zarua, c.1180-1250 or 1200-1270), which is a vast halakhic compendium, reflecting the influence of the many masters under whom he studied during his peregrinations in Franco-Germany (e.g. Avraham ben Azriel of Bohemia, Judah ben Samuel he-Ḥasid of Regensburg, Eliezer ben Joel Halevi of Bonn, Judah ben Isaac Sir Leon of Paris, Samson of Coucy; see also Kanarfogel, pp. 509-510). This work was only published in Zhitomir for the first time in 1862, around 600 years later after its completion. Below are are three small additional notes on the Hilkhot Bediqot.‎
    • (f. 108r) : At the bottom of this folio is a small explicative paragraph on the Molad (new moon) and Qevyyiot (year types) according to intercalated (Me’uberet) or normal (Peshutah) years.‎
    • (f. 108v) : Calendar stating the day when Molad Tishri (Rosh ha-Shanah) will fall in intercalated (Me’uberet) or normal (Peshutah) years during 14-year period.‎
  • ff. 109r-142v : Aggadic and mystical commentary on the gematria of biblical and liturgical texts.‎ colophon on f. 142v by the second scribe and owner of the manuscript: David Mattatiah bar Shimon ‎ Transcription :‎ תם ונשלם לכל אשר ברא בעולם יום א' פרשה [...]‏ ‏[...] ליו' השלישי צ'ט' לפט' לאלף שישי‏ Translation :‎ Finished and completed all that He has created in the world on Sunday (of the week of) Parshah […] ‎ On Thursday 99 according to the small count of the sixth millennium.‎ ‎(date: (5)099 is equivalent to 1339 C.E.)‎
  • ff. 142v-172r : Miscellaneous: Calendars, moralistic text and prognostication, magical incantations (segulot) and songs
    • (ff. 142v-149v) : Title for the calendar beginning on folio 143r indicating the biblical pericopes (parashiyyot) and Jewish festivals, for intercalated (Me’uberet) and normal (Peshutah) years. The title mentions that it is called ‘cycle’ or Igul de Rav Nakhshon and that it is attributed to Rav Naḥshon Gaon of Sura during the years 871-879 C.E. (see also Vidro, esp. pp. 95-96, and note 1). (see identical calendar above on ff. 3r-5v).‎
    • (ff. 150r-152r) : List of Torah readings for the festivals and fasts of the Jewish year, ending on f. 152r with the Torah readings for the Four Parashyyiot (Shabbat Sheqalim, Shabbat Zakhor, Shabbat Para, Shabbat ha-Ḥodesh).‎
    • (f. 152v) : Sequence of the Tequfot-times (solstices and equinoxes), listed for a period of four years, where their timings are accompanied by Christian feasts or saint day. This list was established by the French Tosafist Joseph ben Isaac Bekhor Shor of Orleans (mid-twelfth century) and covers the years 200 (‎ר‎) = 1440 C.E. to 208 (‎רח‎) = 1448 C.E. (Prijs misread the latter date at 205 (‎רה‎) = 1554 C.E.)‎ (see Nothaft and Isserles, p. 19 and note 42; p. 20 and notes 45; saint names in these lists, see ibid., p. 21, note 50. See also above for a description of another similar Tequfot list on folio 104r).‎
    • (ff. 153r-159r) (f. 158r was barred out): Julian calendar for the 12 months of the year, displayed in 7 columns for the days of the week, on 12 pages (1 month per page) with the names of saints, fixed and mobile feasts of the Christian liturgical year in Old West Yiddish. Julian calendars displayed in twelve months have been described in Stern, pp. 246-247 and this calendar in particular on pp. 248-249. See also Nothaft and Isserles, pp. 30-31. Several saint names of this calendar have been mentioned in Nothaft and Isserles, pp. 30 and 31 and Isserles, 2019, pp. 945 and 947. ‎
      Moreover, this calendar mentions the months names (with their number of days according to the Julian calendar) and signs of the zodiac for every month, copied out in Hebrew and Old West Yiddish (top margins, see also Isserles, 2019, p. 941). The entering of the sun in the zodiac sign is also indicated within each month in question. There are also 24 Egyptian days (2 per month) found throughout the calendar. These days were inauspicious for bloodletting, taking medicinal draughts and even eaten certain foods (see list of these days in Isserles, 2017, p. 9 and mention of the variants of their identification in Nothaft and Isserles, p. 24, note 64). Lastly a hygiene and dietary calendar is located in the bottom margins of folios 153r-159r (this calendar has been described, edited and compared with other similar ones in Isserles, 2014, pp. 277, 299-304).
      ‎ There are dates with dots in a circle, situated in the top margin of folios 153r/v, 154r/v and 155r. They are not indicated in a chronological order and are written in a darker ink, but probably by the same hand.‎
      • (ff. 153r-154v) : 159 (‎קנט‎) = 1399 C.E. and f. 154r: 158 (‎קנח‎) = 1398 C.E.‎‏ ‏‎(Prijs omitted the number 50 (‎נ‎) in his dates; see catalogue, 2018, p. 112)‎
    • (f. 159v) : Two medical recipes , the second of which is against fevers and includes names of roots in Old West Yiddish. Below is the blessing recited after drinking wine (see edition of this text in Prijs, 2018, p. 349). Sideways on the same folio is a note on a persecution of the Jews of Breisach (‎בריזכא‎) on the Rhine, which took place on the second day of the week of Parshat Ki Tetse (Dt. 21:10-25:19, 49th weekly Torah portion, read sometime in August or September) in the year 140 (‎קם‎) = 1380 C.E. or 160 (‎קס‎) = 1400 C.E.‎
    • (f. 160r) : Calendar indicating the number of weeks between Christmas (Weinakhten/‎ווינכטן‎)‎‏ ‏‎(see other mention of this feast in Isserles, 2019, p. 945) and Shrove Tuesday/ Mardi Gras (Fasnakht/‎ושנכט‎), which is the beginning of the liturgical season of Lent. The calendar represents a perpetual 19-year cycle, indicating the intercalated years (Ibbur). The dates indicated in the calendar are 158 (‎קנח‎) = 1398 C.E.‎‏ ‏‎ and 159 (‎קנט‎) = 1399 C.E. (again Prijs omitted the number 50 (‎נ‎) in his dates; see catalogue, 2018, p. 112).‎
    • (f. 160v) : Songs for the ceremony of Havdalah on Motsaei Shabbat (‎‏[.]עשו הבדלות למוצאי שבת‏‎)‎
      • Song 1 : ‎חודש הששי‎ (Davidson n° 60)‎
      • Song 2 : ‎אגיל ואשמח‎ (Davidson n°437)‎
      • Song 3 : ‎יד ושם‎ (Davidson n°287)‎
    • (ff. 161r-164v) : Treatise with tables on the comparison between the Jewish and Christian calendars during a period of 19 years, explaining the timing of Jewish and Christian feasts and fasts which are named in the treatise, including Moladot (f. 161r, see table on Moladot according to the Jewish and Julian calendars, with the heading words ‎שלנו‎/‘ours’ and ‎שלהם‎/‘theirs’) and intercalated years according to the Julian calendar (called bissextile years) and Jewish calendar. (This treatise is mentioned in Nothaft and Isserles, p. 18, note 36). In the bottom margin of folio 164v, bottom margin, a slightly lop-sided sentence contains technical calendrical terms that have been explained (see Isserles, 2019, pp. 951-952).‎
    • (ff. 165r-167v) : : Excerpt of a midrashic text (unidentified) (beginning is lacunary).
    • (f. 167v) : At the end of the text, are two magical formulas, one of which is in another hand and has to be repeated 3 times. Below are the Moladot for 13 months of the intercalated (with 2 months of Adar) year 168 (‎קסח‎) =1408 C.E.
    • (ff. 168r/v) : List giving the day and hour on which the Tequfot fall during a 28-year cycle, beginning in the year 162 (‎קסב‎) = 1402 C.E.‎
    • (f. 169r) : Judaized Golden number calendar (incipit in margin: ‎זה הלוח נקרא לוח הזהב‎), in order to know on what months of the years the solstices and equinoxes fall (for a similar calendar see above on f. 57r/v).‎
    • (ff. 169v-170r) : Calendar table to know when the Jewish festivals fall during the year according to the Hebrew calendar, according to the year types (qevvyiot).
    • (f. 170v) : Two small treatises on the calculation of the Moladot (‎עגול אחד לידע המולדות‎) and the calculation for the Tequfot during the months of the year (‎לידע בכמה בחדש יפלו התקופות‎).‎
    • (f. 171r) : Two tables for knowing when the Tequfot fall during a 19-year and a 28-year cycle.‎
    • (f. 171v) : Various incantations (segulot), one of which is for nesting eggs‏ ‏‎(‎ביצה המקוננות‎).
    • (f. 172r) : Song relative to the Crusades in Ashkenaz and northern France (?). Presence of the name ‎שמאל‎ in acrostics. Below are the names of the months in Hebrew and in Old West Yiddish which are named after agricultural phenomena rather than the Roman names. These names are also found in the upper margins of the Julian calendar on folios 153r-159r (see Isserles, 2019, p. 940-941). There are also the names of the zodiac signs in Hebrew. In the left column is a list of Moladot for the years 172 (‎קעב‎) = 1412 C.E. to 176 (‎קעו‎) = 1416 C.E.‎
  • ff. 173r-213r : Miscellaneous : Calendars, liturgy, mystical texts, prognoses, medical and magical recipes and incantations
    • (f. 173r) : Small list of the Tequfot; explanation on the kapparot done on the eve of Yom Kippur; Psalm 30 and blessing for the Eiruv, followed by a Teshuvah by Rabbeinu Tam (Jacob ben Meir, 1100-1171) on imprecations if an employer withholds the salary of his employee.‎
    • (f. 173v) : Calendar table on the Tequfot
    • (f. 174r) : Beginning of an unfinished calendar text followed by a wayfarer’s prayer, the second of which is some sort of addendum to attributed to Judah ben Samuel He-Ḥasid of Regensburg (c. 1150-1217). (See an almost identical text in Oxford, Bodleian Library, Ms Mich. 569, f. 77r, bottom margin).‎
    • (ff. 174v-179r) : Calendar tables spanning from the 266th cycle (‎רסו‎) (5’036-5’054 = 1276-1294) to the 278th cycle (‎ערח‎) (5’264-5’282 = 1504-1522).‎
    • (ff. 179v-183v) : Tequfot lists and calendar identifying the festivals during intercalated and normal years. At the bottom of folio 183v are the Tequfot and their qualities (hot, cold, dry, wet).‎
    • (f. 184r) : Prognosis calendar on popular dictums for the months of the year (see Isserles, 2017, p. 25). Two other such calendars are attributed to Judah ben Samuel He-Ḥasid of Regensburg (c. 1150- 1217) and to Jacob ben Meir (Rabbeinu Tam, 1100-1171); ending with a text on rain prognosis, on how to make it rain with pumpkin seeds.‎
    • (f. 184v) : Calendrical material and table on the Julian year, relative to bissextile years (see Isserles, 2019, p. 951).‎
    • (ff. 185r/v) : Brontologion : weather prognosis divination text called Din Re’amim (‎דין רעמים‎) also called Sefer Re’amim or ‘Book of Thunder’ which pertains to the prediction of future events on the base of meteorological events, such as thunder, for every month of the year. The oldest Aramaic attestations of this ancient anonymous divination text were discovered in Qumran (see Discoveries in the Judean Desert, p. 269), but the genre of Brontologia is known to originate from Mesopotamia during the neo-Assyrian period (612-609 B.C.E.) (see Hunger, p. 166). There are many variants of the Sefer Re’amim found in various medieval Ashkenazi manuscripts and editions preserved today, such as in Solomon Buber’s edition of the Sefer ha-Orah, compiled by the School of Rashi (see Buber, p. 158 §124) or in Oxford, Bodleian Library, Ms Mich. 659, f. 97r, see Leicht, pp. 112-113 and Oxford, Bodleian Library, Ms Opp 59 (Neubauer cat. n° 1100), f. 282v, see Leicht, p. 111).‎
    • (f. 185v) : Table for counting the interval between Christmas (Nitel, ‎ניתל‎) and Quadragesima Sunday, the first Sunday of Lent, here called ͑inui (‎יענוי‎/meaning affliction). (On these words, above, folio 61r). ‎
    • (f. 186r/v) : Various calendar lists and a recipe against fevers (sideways text, f. 186r).‎
    • (ff. 187r-196r) : Commentary about the calendrical postponement rules (Deḥyyiot) in the Jewish calendar, explaining why Passover can never fall on a Friday. The scribe attributes this text to Saadia Gaon (882/892-942).‎
    • (f. 196v) : Calendar lists on the solstices and equinoxes and a list with the Jewish months of the year and their assigned zodiac signs.‎
    • (f. 197r/v) : Lists of Moladot, and a recipe to heal incision-type wounds (sideways)‎
    • (f. 198r/v) : Two magical incantations in Old West Yiddish (called Belashon Ahskenaz here). The first for healing incision-type wounds and the second is undeciphered. There is also a prayer when one is at a cemetery.‎
    • (ff. 199r-202r) : Calendar lists and tables with commentaries. Some of these folios contains other material, often written sideways: f. 200v (sideways and vocalized) an Old West Yiddish magical incantation
    • (ff. 202r-203v) : Extract of the liturgical commentary, Peirush ha-Tefilah by Eleazar ben Judah ben Kalonymos of Worms (1176-1238) on Pessaḥ
    • (ff. 204r-209v) : Calendar lists and tables, with commentaries Folio 204r/v was bound upside-down.‎
    • (f. 209v) : text ending with a date (5) 178 (‎ק'מ'ח'ל'‏‎) = 1418 C. E.‎
    • (f. 210r) : Astrological table for a period of 19 years.‎
    • (f. 210v) : Calendrical text
    • (ff. 211r-212v) : A selection of songs for Motsaei Shabbat f. 211r/v: bound upside-down.‎
      • (f. 211v) : blank page
      • (f. 212r) : ‎המבדיל בין קודש לחול‎ (Davidson n° 741) and ‎אזי מים שטפוני‎ by Eliezer (acrostics) (Davidson n° 2204).‎
    • (ff. 212v-213r) : ‎עורי לקראתי יפה‎ song in Hebrew with vocalized Judeo-French translation. The acrostics found in the Hebrew verses stand for ‎משה ידיד חזק ק‎ (Moshe Yedid ḥazaq).‎
    • (f. 213r) : Eight syllabic Poem in 5 paragraphs by Menahem ben Jacob (Davidson n° 2142), on the commemoration of the siege of Worms in 1201 (see Zunz, p. 296, n.21), where according to Eleazar ben Judah of Worms (1176-1238), who was an eyewitness, the Jews were allowed to bear arms on the Sabbath (See Biale, p.73). At the bottom of this page is a list of Moladot.‎
  • f. 213v : Blessing of the New Moon (Birkat ha-Levanah)
Origine du manuscrit: The second scribe David Mattatiah bar Shimon was also the owner of the manuscript (see also colophon on folio 142v and text below where the name is also present):‎
  • f. 196r: Transcription:‎ שלי זה העיבור דוד מתתיה בר שמעון [נ[בתי יג] תנבע ‏‎?‎‏]‏
    Translation:‎ This is my intercalation David Mattatiah bar Shimon.‎
  • f. 204v (top margin of page): note on the previous owner by another hand.‎ Transcription:‎ זה הספר של דוד מתתיה בר שמעון זצ'ל
    Translation:‎ This book belongs to David Mattatiah bar Shimon may his memory be blessed.‎
Provenance du manuscrit:
  • According to the author of the first catalogue of manuscript of the Heidenheim collection, written in 1921, Avraham Schechter indicated on page 52 of his catalogue, that there was another owner’s note, no longer extant, somewhere near folio 50 (there are indeed several badly damaged folios and other missing ones preceding folio 50) with the following text: ‎ Transcription:‎ יוכבד בת הר'ר אהרון רופ' הלוי זצ'ל
    Translation:‎ Yocheved daughter of the Rabbi Aharon doctor Halevi may his memory be blessed.‎
  • This manuscript was part of the collection of Moritz Heidenheim (1824-1898), a German Jewish scholar from Worms, who converted to Anglicanism. After several years studying in London, Heidenheim came to Zurich in 1864 and became an Anglican chaplain, where stayed until his death in 1898. ‎
Acquisition du manuscrit: In 1899, the collection of 211 Hebrew manuscripts (189 paper and 22 parchment manuscripts) and 2587 printed books entered the Zentralbibliothek in Zurich. This collection encompasses a wide variety of subjects, including biblical, exegetical, halakhic, liturgical, grammatical, lexicographical, cabbalistic, astronomical and apologetical literature, and conveys above all, Moritz Heidenheim’s scholarly and scientific interests as a 19th century bibliophile (O. Franz-Klauser, 2006, pp.116, 241, 246).
Manuscript catalogues:
  • J. Prijs, Die hebraïschen Handschriften der Zentralbibliothek Zürich. Im Auftrag der Verwaltung der Zentralbibliothek beschrieben von Joseph Prijs (7 vols.), vol. 3, Nr. 73, pp. 123-142
  • A. Schechter, Die hebraïschen Manuscripte der Zentralbibliothek zu Zürich (Abt. Heidenheim) von Abraham Schechter. Abgeschlossen am 15. September 1921, (Hebrew), pp. 47-52
Printed catalogues and secondary literature:‎
  • D. Biale, Power and Powerlessness in Jewish History (New York: Schocken Books, 1986).‎
  • C. M. Briquet, Les filigranes. Dictionnaire historique des marques du papier dès leur apparition vers 1282 jusqu’en 1600. A Facsimile of the 1907 Edition with Supplementary Material Contributed by a Number of Scholars, Allan Stevenson (ed.) (Amsterdam: The Paper Publications Society, 1968), vol. 4. ‎
  • Buber S. (éd.), Sefer ha-Orah (Lemberg (Lvov): 1905).‎
  • I. Davidson, Thesaurus of Mediaeval Hebrew Poetry (New York: 1924-1933), 4 vols.‎
  • Discoveries in the Judean Desert, XXXVI, Qumran Cave 4, XXVI, P., Alexander, M., Broshi, E., Chazon, et al., (eds) (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2007).‎
  • Encyclopedia Judaica (Jerusalem, Keter Publishing House, 1973), vol. 9, pp. 25-27, s.v.  « Isaac ben Moses of Vienna »; vol. 9, pp. 21-23, s.v. « Issac ben Joseph of Corbeil »; vol. 13, pp. 284-285, s.v. « Perez ben Elijah of Corbeil ».
  • K. Fudeman, Vernacular Voices: Language and Identity in Medieval French Jewish Communities, Philadelphia: University of Philadelphia Press, 2010) (esp. pp. 128-132).
  • H. Gross, Gallia Judaïca : Dictionnaire géographique de la France d’après les sources rabbiniques, (Paris-Louvain : Peeters, 2011) (18971 and 19692).‎
  • H., Hunger, Astrological Reports to Assyrian Kings (Helsinki: Helsinki University Press,1992), p. 166, s.v. « thunders».‎
  • S. Hurwitz, (ed.), Maḥzor Vitry le-Rabenu Simḥah (Hebrew) (Nuremberg: Bulka, 19232), vol. 2.‎
  • J. Isserles, “L’usage du vernaculaire et du latin au sein de textes calendaires, astrologiques et astronomiques dans les manuscrits hébreux d’Europe médiévale”, in Fleur de Clergie. Mélanges en l’honneur de Jean-Yves Tilliette, Olivier Collet, Yasmina Foehr-Janssens and Jean-Claude Mühlethaler (eds.) (Geneva: Droz, 2019), pp. 933-959. ‎
  • J. Isserles, “Bloodletting and Medical Astrology in Hebrew Manuscripts from Medieval Western Europe”, Sudhoffs Archiv: Zeitschrift für Wissenschaftsgeschichte, vol. 101, 1 (2017), pp. 2-41.‎
  • J. Isserles, “Some Hygiene and Dietary Calendars in Hebrew Manuscripts from Medieval Ashkenaz”, in Time, Astronomy and Calendars in the Jewish Tradition, Charles Burnett and Sacha Stern (eds.) (Leiden: Brill, 2014), pp. 273-326.‎
  • E. Kanarfogel, The Intellectual History and Rabbinic Culture of Medieval Ashkenaz (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 2013).‎
  • R. Leicht, Astrologumena Judaica, Untersuchungen zur Geschichte der Astrologische Literatur der Juden (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2006).
  • P. Nothaft and J. Isserles, « Calendars beyond Borders: Exchange of Calendrical Knowledge Between Jews and Christians in Medieval Western Europe (12th-15th c.) », Medieval Encounters, 20 (2014), pp. 1-37.‎
  • I. Marcus, Sefer Hasidim and the Ashkenazic Book in Medieval Europe (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2018).
  • J. Prijs, Die hebräischen Handschriften in der Schweiz: Katalog der hebräischen Handschriften in den Schweizer öffentlichen Bibliotheken … redigiert auf Grund der Beschreibungen von Joseph Prijs (Basel, Benei Beraq: Sefer Verlag, 2018), pp. 103-115 (Nr. 127).‎
  • S. Stern and J. Isserles, “The Astrological and Calendar Section of the Earliest Mahzor Vitry Manuscript (MS ex- Sassoon 535)”, Aleph: Historical Studies in Science and Judaism, 15.2, 2015, pp. 199-318.
  • S. Stern, “Christian Calendars in Hebrew Medieval Manuscripts,” Medieval Encounters 22 (2016), pp. 236-265.‎
  • N. Vidro, “The Origins of the 247-year calendar cycle table”, Aleph: Historical Studies in Science and Judaism 17.1 (2017) pp. 95-137.‎
  • L. Zunz, Literaturgeschichte des Synagogalen Poesie (Berlin: Louis Gerschel Verlagsbuchandlung, 1865).‎