St. Gallen, Kantonsbibliothek, Vadianische Sammlung, VadSlg Ms. 326
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Dr. Justine Isserles, chercheure associée, Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes-Saprat (Paris), 2019.

Titolo del codice: Maḥzor according to the Roman rite
Luogo di origine: Italy
Datazione: 14th century ‎
Segnatura precedente: C 75
Supporto materiale: Vellum of medium quality. Hair and flesh sides distinguishable.
Dimensioni: IV + 134 + IV
Formato: 123-125 x 90-95 mm
Numerazione delle pagine: Foliation in Arabic numerals from 1 to 134 in grey pencil, going from right to left, located in the top corner of each recto.‎
Composizione dei fascicoli: Quires: 14 quires of a majority of quinions. 1 quire missing between quires I and II (see under content).‎
I quinion (1r-10v); II quaternion (11r-18v) ; III quinion (19r-28v) ; IV quinion (29r-38v) : V quinion (39r-48v) ; VI senion (49r-60v) ; VII quaternion (61r-68v) ; VIII folio (69r) ; IX quinion (70r-79v) ; X quinion (80r-89v) ; XI quinion (90r-99v) ; XII quinion (100r-109v) ; XIII quinion (110r-119v) ; XIV (120r-129v) ; 5 folios glued together (130r-134v).‎ Catchwords:‎ Last word of quire VI (‎שמים‎) was repeated as the first word of next quire (VII).‎
Condizione: Well preserved manuscript. Humidity stains, especially around the borders of the whole manuscript and particularly at the end on folios 129-134; humidity and other stains on the pages (ff. 38v, 39r, 48r, 79r, 119v-120r, 124v, 129v-130r); ripped or cut pages (e.g. ff. 133, 134); worm holes (f. 133); cropped lateral margins cutting off some marginal notes (e.g. ff. 52v, 107v, 109v, 132v); erased ink from a stain (ff. 93v-94r). Small hole (f. 126).‎
Disposizione della pagina: Brown pencil ruling.‎‎ 1 + 1 columns of text. 20 traced lines for 19 written lines. The end of lines is respected by letter elongation and compression as well as graphic fillers and sometimes the presence of a letter or two at the end of the line which is the first letter of the next word on the next line. Folio 10r: end of line written vertically due to lack of space.‎‎ Full page layout. Inner and outer indentations.‎
Tipo di scrittura e mani: Corrections and forgotten text placed in the margins.‎ This manuscript was written by two scribes. Therefore, there are two textual units:‎

  • Textual unit 1:‎ ff. 1r-69v: square Italo-Sephardic script written in 3 modules: large module for the initial words, medium module for the main text and tiny module for the titles and main text.‎ The text has been vocalized by a punctuator except on folio 68r.‎ Scribe identified on folio 66r as ‎חיים‎ (Haïm).‎ Spelling mistake, with the use in the middle of the word of a final ‘pé’ (‎ף‎) instead of the same letter used at the beginning or end of words (‎פ‎) on folio 35v, line 1: ‎מוסףין‎.‎
  • Textual unit 2:‎ ff. 70r-133v: square Italian script written in 3 modules: large module for the initial words and letters, medium module for the main text and tiny module for the titles and main text.‎ The text has been vocalized by a punctuator except on folios: 70v-80r; 103v-116v; 117v-126r (partial); 128v (partial)-133v.‎ Scribe identified on folio 109v as ‎חיים‎ (Haïm).‎ Although both scribes coincidentally have the same name, their scripts are not‏ ‏identical
  • Rubricated initial words at the beginning of the manuscript between folios 1r and 17r.
  • Blue ink: ff. 1r, 3r, 5r, 10r, 17r.‎
  • Red ink: ff. 3r, 17r.‎
  • f. 10r: small human head profile drawn in blue ink next to the initial word.‎
  • Dots coming out of letters in the liturgical poems which are in alphabetical order e.g. ff. 97r-99r.‎
  • Folios 133v-134v: Tiny module square and bookhand 15th century Italian script in a light brown ink starting with the title:
    ‎ שלשה השלום לפסח שבועות וסוכות
    The text is a liturgical poem (piyyut) (see Davidson n. 873), which is lacunary here.‎
  • Folios 8r/v, 13r: erased and /or scratched out words (probably by censor, see under owner’s notes).‎
  • Folio 10r: added text in the last 2 lines of the page.‎
  • Folio 24v: scratched out text and corrected text written over by a late hand. ‎
  • Folio 51r, line 7: scratched out word.
  • Cardboard 18th or 19th century binding (130 x 96 mm), covered in a marbled paper wrapper. The spine contains two paper stickers. The top one bears the number 326 written in grey pencil and the bottom one is framed with red scrolls, containing the number 326, printed in black ink.‎
  • Pastedown at the beginning of the volume: Bibliotecae Pub. S. Gallensis Reupub. Perpetuae in Remp. observantiae pignus offert Ludovicus Bourguet Nemansensis. Neocomi D. 27 7bris 1709.
This small maḥzor according to the Roman rite was written in Italy during the 14th century. It contains a first section with abridged prayers for the festivals of the Jewish liturgical year (Pessah, Shavuot, Rosh ha-Shanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot, Shemini Atseret) and a second section, enclosing many liturgical poems (piyyutim) accompanying the prayers. This prayer ritual was not only written for personal use, due to its size, but may have also been destined for a woman, since the word ‎יודעת‎, found in the vidui (or confession, read several times in the prayers during the fast of Yom Kippur), ends with the feminine suffix ‎ת‎ (see folio 31r, line 3, situated in the manuscript at the end of the Yom Kippur afternoon prayers).‎
Although Jewish women are exempt from time-bound commandments, a few accounts from the Middle Ages relate their piety and role in prayer. The picture reflected by the various sources which have come down to us, is that women did make efforts to observe the Commandment of prayer and found a way to express themselves, often overcoming the obstacle of Hebrew literacy, by either learning the liturgy by heart, learning to read some selected passages of the liturgy in Hebrew or by being permitted to read the prayers in their vernacular tongue (S. Goldin, 2011, p. 173; A. Grossman, 2004, p. 182). Moreover, in order to participate in the prayers, women were allotted a special section in the synagogue building, segregated from the men, where narrow apertures would allow them to hear the prayers recited by the male quorum or to see the Torah being lifted certain moments of the liturgy (M. Porsche, 2004). These prayers were often undertaken by a designated educated woman, familiar with the customs and laws, who would conduct the prayer services, serving as a cantor for the women in attendance (A. Grossman, p. 181; S. Goldin, pp. 176-177).
‎ Consequently and in all probability, this small maḥzor was produced for a learned and pious woman patron in 14th century Italy. Albeit not of great material wealth, since the manuscript is not illuminated (besides some rubrication of initial words), her erudition can be confirmed by the presence of abridged versions of the prayers for the Jewish liturgical year, as well as numerous piyyutim recited during those prayers. This maḥzor may have then served as written support for a religious woman, for whom it was significant to have a feminine suffix added on the word ‘to know’ (‎יודעת‎) in her vidui recitation on the Day of Atonement and perhaps, for whom it was important to recite the prayers for other women of her community, such as Urania, a Jewish woman who died in Worms in 1275 and on whose grave is written “who sang piyyutim for the women with a musical voice” (S. Goldin, pp. 177-178; A. Grossman, p. 181).
  • ‎Lacunary in the beginning and at the end of the volume‎ (see below)
  • 1. ff. 1r-69v : Prayers according to the Roman rite for Pessah, Shavuot, Rosh ha-Shanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot, Shemini Atseret
    • (ff.1r-2v) : Amidah for Mussaf of Pessah.‎
    • (ff. 3r-7r) : Morning, afternoon and evening Amidah prayer for Shavuot (‎ענין שבועות‎).
    • (ff. 7r-10v) : Prayers for Rosh ha-Shanah (‎עינין ראש השנה‎)‎
      Missing text (probably 1 quire): the end of the Rosh ha-Shanah prayers and the beginning of Yom Kippur prayers are missing.‎
    • (ff. 11r-31r) : Yom Kippur prayers‎
    • (ff. 31r-36r) : Sukkot prayers (‎ענין חג סוכות‎)‎
    • (ff. 36r-40v) : Shemini Atseret prayers (‎ענין שמיני עצרת‎)‎
    • (ff. 41r-69v) :‎ Hoshanot (lacunary at the end, f. 69v)
      • (f. 60r) : Piyyut ‎אם כח אנוש‎ (Davidson n. 5366, unpublished)‎
      • (f. 61r) : Piyyut ‎אזלת בכיתא בכל מדינתא‎ (Davidson n. 2310)
      • (f. 61v) : Piyyut ‎אדרינוס מלכא מהדר‎ (Davidson n. 1220)‎
  • 2. ff. 70r-134v : Liturgical poems (Piyyutim) accompanying the liturgy‎
    • (ff. 70r/v) : Reshut le-Nishmat le-Yom Tov shel Pessah
    • (ff. 70v-71r) : Reshut le-nishmat de-Shavuot
    • (ff. 71r-72r) : Reshut le-nishmat shel Rosh ha-Shanah
    • (f. 72r) : Reshut le-nishmat le-Yom ha-Kippurim and Reshut akhar le-Yom ha-Kippurim
    • (ff. 72v-73v) : Reshut le nishmat le-Yom Tov shel Sukkot
    • (ff. 73v-74r) : Reshut le-nishmat le-shalosh regalim le-ha-Rav Avraham Even Ezra
    • (ff. 75r-77v) : Reshut aḥar le-qaddish
    • (ff. 78r-79v) : Reshut to be recited when the Sefer Torah is taken to be read on festivals (‎רשות נהנו לומר כשיוצאו ספר תורה בימים טובים‎)‎
    • (ff. 79v-80r) : Piyyut ‎מלכי עד מתי תראה (Davidson n. 1739)
    • (ff. 80r-82r) : Yotser le-Shabbat Bereshit
    • (ff. 82r-85v) : Yotser le-Shabbat ve-Rosh Ḥodesh
    • (ff. 86r-87r) : Yotser de-Sheqalim
    • (ff. 87r-88r) : Yotser de-Zakhor
    • (ff. 88r-89r) : Yotser Parah
    • (ff. 89r-90r) : Yotser de-ha-Ḥodesh
    • (ff. 90r-91r) : Yotser le-Shabbat ha-Gadol de-Pessah
    • (ff. 91r-93v) : Reshut le-Shabbat ha-Gadol de-Pessah
    • (ff. 93v-96v) : Yotserot shel Pessah
    • (ff. 97r-105v) : Yotser aḥar Pessah
    • (ff. 105v-107v) : Yotser de-Vayosha
    • (ff. 107v-108v) : Yotser le-yom shemini
    • (ff. 108v-110v) : Yotser le-shabbat she-lifnei Shavuot
    • (ff. 110v-113r) : Yotser le-yom rishon shel Shavuot
    • (ff. 113r-114v) : Yotser le-Shabbat de-Eikhah
    • (ff. 115r-116v) : Yotser le-Shabbat Naḥamu
    • (ff. 116v-117v) : Yotser le-Shabbat she-lifnei Rosh ha-Shanah
    • (ff. 117v-120v) : Yotser le-Shabbat le-yom rishon shel Rosh ha-Shanah
    • (ff. 120v-121v) : Yotser le-Shabbat le-yom sheni shel Rosh ha-Shanah
    • (ff. 121v-122v) : Yotser le-Shabbat Teshuvah
    • (ff. 122v-124r) : Yotser le-yom rishon shel Sukkot
    • (f. 124r) :‎ Yotser le-yom sheni shel Sukkot
    • (ff. 124v-125r) : Yotser le-Shabbat ve-khol ha-Moed
    • (ff. 125v-126r) : Yotser le yom rishon de-Shemini Atseret
    • (ff. 126r-128v) : Yotser ve-Zot ha-Berakhah
    • (ff. 128v-133v) : Mi-kamokha le-Shabbat she-lifnei Purim
Provenienza del manoscritto: This manuscript was once owned by Louis Bourguet (1678-1742), a French Huguenot polymath established in Neuchâtel. Folio 1: bottom margin: Bourguet standing for Louis Bourguet.‎ Known for his works on geology and archaeology, Bourguet was also Professor of mathematics and philosophy at the University of Neuchâtel. This manuscript was donated to the Vadiana Library in St Gallen in 1709. Beforehand, nothing is known of its exact ownership, other than it was signed in Latin characters - Domenico Irosolomitano - on the last folio by Domenico Ierosolomitano, a Jewish apostate and censor who expurgated more than 20’000 Hebrew books and manuscripts in Italy between 1595 and 1621. The erased and scratched out words/passages on folios 8r/v and 13r of VadSlg Ms 326 may have been authored by him. According to Gila Prebor (Prebor, 2010-2011, p. 477), Ierosolomitano signed his name uniquely in Latin characters between the years 1595 and 1605, which could help pinpoint the time when this maḥzor arrived in the latter’s hands. It is also admitted that during these two given dates, Ierosolomitano was working in Mantua, Ferrara and Milan (Prebor, pp. 477-478), which could therefore potentially coincide with the location in which Louis Bourguet would have acquired the manuscript (taking into consideration that it would have remained in the same city after having been censored) almost a century later, during one of his numerous trips to Italy between 1701 and 1711 (see E. and E. Haag, pp. 484-486). ‎
Acquisizione del manoscritto: Lastly, it is noteworthy to add that Louis Bourguet, who had learned Hebrew during one of his trips to Italy, not only bestowed this manuscript to the Vadiana Library in 1709, but also donated three more of his manuscripts to the library of the Académie de Genève (now the Bibliothèque de Genève): an Italian 17th century Esther scroll donated in 1704 (Ms. heb. 5) and two legal contracts in 1707: a marriage contract from Verona, dated 1630 (Ms. heb. 16) and a divorce contract from Verona, dated 1667 (Ms. heb. 13).
Folios 1r and 134v: Oval black stamp with the name Vadian Biblioth. (Vadiana Bibliothek, St Gallen).‎
Manuscript catalogues:
  • Catalogus Triplex Codd. Manuscr. In Biblioth. Vad. Opera Ant Mertz E.S. Min. 1740. (Anton Merz 1700-1775, St Gallen, priest and school director), p. 17 [Hebraïsches gebetsbüchli E. 45].
  • Lokal-Verzeichnis der Handschriftl. Werke auf der Vadian. Bibliothek in St Gallen (verfasst a. 1829 von Carl Wegelin, ergänzt von J.J. Bernet V.D.M. Miteinzeln Altersbestimmungen der Pgm Hss.-Bishergebrauchter Mss. Catalog); p. 14 [Haften A, E. 45. Hebraïsches Gebetsbüchlein].
Printed catalogues and secondary literature:
  • T. H. Adelman, “The Educational and Literary Activities of Jewish Women in Italy During the Renaissance and the Counter Reformation”, in The Shlomo Simonsohn Jubilee Volume, A. Oppenheimer, et al. (eds.) (Tel Aviv: Tel Aviv University Press, 1993), pp. 9-23.‎
  • T. H. Adelman, “Italian Jewish Women at Prayer”, in Judaism in Practice: From the Middle Ages Through the Early Modern Period, L. Fine (ed.) (Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press, 2001), pp. 52-60.‎
  • T. H. Adelman, “Religious Practice among Italian Jewish Women”, in Judaism in Practice: From the Middle Ages Through the Early Modern Period, L. Fine (ed.) (Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press, 2001), pp. 203-209.
  • P. Antonietti, “ Louis-Bourguet ”, in Dictionnaire historique de la Suisse (DHS), url :‎ (version of 19.06.2015).‎
  • I. Davidson, Thesaurus of Mediaeval Hebrew Poetry (New York: 1924-1933), 4 vols.‎
  • R. Gamper, Joachim Vadian 183/84-1551, Humanist, Arzt, Reformator, Politiker. Mit Beiträgen von Rezia Krauer und Clemens Müller (Zurich: Chronos Verlag, 2017), 4 vols.‎
  • S. Goldin, Jewish Women in Europe in the Middle Ages. A Quiet Revolution (Manchester and New York: Manchester University Press, 2011), esp. pp. 173-178.
  • A. Grossman, Pious and Rebellious. Jewish Women in Medieval Europe (Waltham (MA): Brandeis University Press: 2004), esp. pp. 175-177, 181, 182, 192.
  • E. and E. Haag (les frères Haag), La France protestante ou vies des protestants français qui se sont fait un nom dans l’histoire, depuis les premiers temps de la réformation jusqu’à la reconnaissance du principe de la liberté des cultes par l’Assemblée nationale, vol. 2 (Geneva : Joël Cherbuliez, 1847), pp. 484-486.
  • J. Isserles, Catalogue des manuscrits hébreux de la Bibliothèque de Genève, notices et commentaires (Genève : 2016). Published online: (viewed 14.02.2019) (see Annexe III, as well as the following described manuscripts heb. 5, heb. 13 and heb.16).‎ (forthcoming publication, Geneva: Éditions Droz, 2020).
  • S. D. Luzzatto, “Mavo L'Machzor K'Minhag Bnei Roma” (Livorno: 1857).‎
  • Mahzor ke-Minhag Roma. Facsimile Edition with a Companion Volume on the Roman Rite edited by Mordechai Angelo Piatelli (Jerusalem: The Magnes Press, 2012).
  • W. A. M. Popper, The Censorship of Hebrew Books, New York (The Knickerbocker Press), 1899, pp. 139-140.‎
  • M. Porsche, “Speyer: The Medieval Synagogue”, in The Jews of Europe in the Middle Ages, Tenth to Fifteenth Centuries, C. Cluse (ed.) (Turnhout: Brepols, 2004), pp. 421-434.‎
  • G. Prebor, “Domenico Yerushalmi: His Life, Writings and Works as a Censor”, Materia Giudaica, XV-XVI (2010-2011), pp. 467-481.‎
  • 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. 332-333 (Nr. 324).‎
  • Verzeichnis der Manuscripte und Incunabeln in St Gallen (St Gallen: Druck der Zollikofer’schen Offizin, 1864), p. 90 (n° 326): [Altes hebr. Gebetbüchlein, 1709 der Stadtbibl. geschenkt von L. Bourguet aus Nismes in Como].