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Colenda Digital Repository
[Berit Avraham] ... [etc.],; circa 1800-1810.
- [Berit Avraham] ... [etc.], circa 1800-1810.
- This is a multi-part manuscript consisting of a number of works, with many of them specifically narrative-aligned, mystical, and some of them being somewhat controversial. The first work is a prayer for the success of Napoleon Bonaparte; it begins (while the first folio is clearly missing) with a prayer for Napoleon's success in battle, and so that he should sit on the throne of France and Italy; f. 3v-4r; possibly, this is coming on the heels of a decree by Napoleon in approximately 1808 for synagogues to recite prayers on his behalf. Following this is the work Berit Avraham, authored by [Gedaliah? manuscript damaged on writing] b. Avraham, who 'at 28 years old converted to Judaism from Christianity, and authored the text so God will grant him forgiveness and destroy the enemies of Israel' (translation of f. 7r); it is a variant of the recensioned texts among the "Toledot Yeshu" manuscripts, including the birth narrative of Jesus being from an illegitimate union, a presentation of Jesus as a scholar and sorcerer ("ṿekishe-hayah Yeshu ben h. shanim halikho le-bet midrash ve-yatsa ḥarif 'ad me'od ... ve-lamad kol ḥakhmot she-ba'olam uve-milekhet kesafim [i.e. keshafim] hitsliaḥ me'od..."; 'and when Jesus was five years old, he entered the house of study, and returned very sharpwitted ... and he studied all wisdoms in the world, and [specifically] the wisdom of sorcery', f. 9r); that Jesus stole the Ineffeble Name of God ('ve-hayah shem ha-meforash yoda'a kemo she-hem yod'im', "and [Jesus] knew the Ineffable Name as they (i.e. the Elders of Egypt) knew it...", f. 9v); finishing with a prayer by the author for vengeance against the enemies of Israel and enemies of His (i.e. God's) name, such as Jesus and his disciples ('kemo Kriśṭuś Yeshu ṿe-Yoḥanan ṿe-Luḳ̣i (?) ṿe-Avi (?) ṿe-Mati ve-Eliaḳi ṿe-Paluś ṿe-Netser ṿe-Neoi (?) ṿe-Todos; f. 33r), after which a sacrifice will be brought, i.e. the Temple will be rebuilt. The third work is a narrative about the messianic figure Shabtai Tsevi (b. Smyrna 1626 - d. Istanbul 1676), including the vision received by Nathan of Gaza (b. Jerusalem 1643 - d. Skopje 1680) confirming Shabtai's messianism. The fourth work is a narrative of a dream recounted by Ḥizḳiah da Silṿa (b. Livorno 1659 - d. Jerusalem 1698), called after his chief work Peri Ḥadash; the recounting moves through a vision of him with members of a cohort of six rabbis, all named, being punished by "three or four men, wearing black [robes], darker than night" ('Anashim melubashim sheḥorim ḥashukhim yoter min ha-laylah'; f. 43r) mentioning the punishing of members of his cohort for their treatment (possibly a case of excommunication) of Mosheh Ḥabib, who desired heavenly retribution; the vision continues with six men (possibly the cohort mentioned) blocking Ḥizḳiah da Silṿa from the afterlife, which he saw behind them (manuscript has a depiction of the formation); the narrative finishes by telling about Ḥizḳiah da Silṿa reaching "close to levels of prophecy" ('ṿe-ḳarov le-nevu'ah hayah'; f. 45r.) and dying a short time after. The fifth work is a story about a lapsed Jew, Shemu'el ibn 'Azariah, who converts to Islam and tries to prove allegiance to Mohammed through his reading the Torah, only to return to Judaism after a dream. The sixth work is a short hagiography about Shelomoh ben Yehudah Ibn Gabirol (b. Malaga appx. 1022 - d. Valencia appx. 1070?), incorrectly recording that he lived in Zaragoza ('Rabi Shelomoh ben Gabirol hayah be-'ir Saragosah'; f. 53r). The seventh work is a commentary on the visions of Rabah bar Bar Ḥanah (active 3rd century in Persia and Palestine) recorded in Talmud Bavli Bava Batra 73a-74b; this text is an explanation of the Aramaic terms found in the Talmud as well as a key for the numerous allegories in the Talmudic text. The eighth and final work is the Igeret megaleh 'amuḳot attributed to Maimonides; according to Yitsḥaḳ Shelat (see: Igrot ha-Rambam, ed. Sheilat, Jerusalem, Mosad ha-Rav Ḳuḳ, 1986. vol. 2, page 695-6) this letter supposes Maimonides praises the Kabbalistic wisdom and relinquishes study of philosophy; Shelat concludes that the letter is a complete forgery.
- Acquired for the Penn Libraries with assistance from the Rosengarten Family Fund.; Kestenbaum auction April 7, 2016 Lot 137.
- 66 leaves : paper; 166 x 111 (135 x 80) mm bound to 175 x 120 mm.
- (OCoLC)1088505328; (OCoLC)on1088505328; (PU)6949549-penndb-Voyager
- 880-10; Toledot Yeshu.; http://hdl.library.upenn.edu/1017.12/366323
- Codices.; Miscellanies.; Manuscripts, Hebrew; 19th century.
- Personal Name:
- Napoleon; Shabbethai Tzevi,; Nathan,; Hezekiah ben David da Silva,; Shemu'el ibn 'Azariah.; Rabbah bar Bar Ḥana,; Maimonides, Moses,
- Call Number:
- CAJS Rar Ms 482
- Rosengarten Family Fund.