Lot 3
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Zedah la-Derekh (Provisions for the Road) [Compiler: Joseph ben Azriel, Scribe: Yehiel. Zurich: ca. 1426]

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  • printed book
2 volumes (9 1/8 x 6 ¾ in.; 232 x 172 mm). written in black ink on vellum in Ashkenazic Hebrew script, catchwords, original foliation in Hebrew in ink, modern foliation in pencil; marginalia.  Vol. I: [3] 152 leaves,  collation: 1-198; rubrication (in red ink) on ff. [i]v, 1r; diagram of the Temple, in red, green and brown ink, f.[ii]r. Institutional inkstamps (Montefiore) on ff. [ii]v, , 1r, 66r, 105r, 125r, 135v, and 152v. Leaves guarded throughout, moderate staining, spotting and discoloration, chiefly marginal; dampstain affecting outer portion of 15 lines of text, f. 107r. Vol. II: [1] 130 leaves, Institutional inkstamps (Montefiore) on ff. [i]r, 130v; some sections rubricated (primarily in red, though in at least one instance, in blue, ink); kabbalistic diagram of sefirot on fol. 121r. Modern half green morocco over cloth; titles gilt on black leather lettering-piece on spine. 


N.N. Coronel of Jerusalem; Solomon Halberstam (purchased from Coronel and so noted in Halberstam’'s annotated copy of Kohelet Shlomo (shelf nos. 48, 49).  Montefiore Collection (with stamps of Yeshivat Ohel Moshe ve-Yehudit-Judith Lady Montefiore College), among the 412 volumes acquired from Halberstam in 1892 by Moses Gaster); Purchased by the present owner: Important Hebrew Manuscripts from the Montefiore Endowment, Sotheby's NY, October 27, 2004. lot 120.


Hartwig Hirschfeld, Catalogue of the Hebrew MSS. of the Montefiore Library and of the Hebrew Manuscripts in the Jews' College, London, 1904 (mss. nos. 129, 130); Y. Ta-Shema, Minhag Ashkenaz ha-Kadmon, pp. 213-214, refers to Montefiore ms. 129 as a collective work of very great interest.  He also published excerpts from it in Moriah, 2, (1970), pp. 60-64.

Catalogue Note

The title of this work, Zedah la-Derekh, is an allusion to the biblical text (Genesis 42:25) describing the actions taken by Joseph in supplying his brothers with "provisions for the journey." These two volumes comprise an important exemplar of a veritable traveling encyclopedia which likely served to provide an itinerant Jewish physician with an entire library, rendered in a compact format suitable for travel.

The fascinating Hebrew inscription on the verso of the first leaf explains the need for such a comprehensive volume:

Since the art of medicine and other occupations require that a man pursue them, and such a man [may find himself] in a place without Torah, therefore, I collected together the seven branches of wisdom into a single sheaf. I gathered and assembled in this book, that which a man requires for the success of his soul and body, when traveling and upon returning home... and his conduct in this world will accrue to his merit in the world to come, until the wise man will find a sufficient measure in all things. And I named it Zedah la-Derekh [Provision for the Road], and it is a sufficient provision for reaching the eternal world and for reaching benefit and honor in this world and one should read in it all one's life and will find favor in the eyes of man and God.

Following this inscription is a poem in which the name Yosef is decoratively marked, probably indicating the author and compiler. Additionally, on folio 59v the acrostic of the text yields: Yehosef ben Azriel. The word Yehiel, probably the name of the scribe, is indicated on fols. 36r, 94v and 98r. 

Contents, Volume 1:

Fol. [ii]r: Delicate design of the plan of the Jerusalem Temple and its vessels,  contemporary with the manuscript.

Fol. [iii]r: Table of contents, written in an old Ashkenazic hand and listing an astonishing seventy-eight works contained in the two volumes.

Fols. 1v-5v: Sefer ha-Yirah by Jonah Gerondi.  See B. Richler in Alei Sefer, 8 (1980), pp. 51-59.

Fols. 5v-8r: Keter Malkhut by Solomon ibn Gabirol.

Fols. 8r-8v: Ikkarei ha-Emunah le-R. Joseph Gikatilla, actually by Meir Aldabi. See I. Grunwald, Tarbiz, 36 (1967) pp. 85-89 (he was not familiar with this manuscript) and D. S. Loewinger, ib., pp. 205-206 (who did make use of it).

Fols. 11v-72r: Siddur for the entire year according to the German rite.  In addition to the standard prayers, this part contains many liturgical poems by various authors as well as commentaries on the prayers and laws concerning prayer and other rituals.  Among the authors of the poems are the Provencal scholars Isaac Seniri, Shealtiel Garcian, Zerahiah baal ha-Maor.  It is noteworthy that in this Ashkenazic compilation, the works of these Provencal liturgical poets were included so liberally.  On the poems of Isaac Seniri, see Benjamin Bar-Tikva, Liturgical Poems of Rabbi Yitzhak Hasniri, 1996, p. 82, 215 (in Hebrew).  On fol. 20r, kaddish le-naar is mentioned. This designation, instead of the later kaddish de-rabbanan, is found in medieval French prayerbooks.

Fols. 72r-149r: Mordecai Katan by Samuel Schlettstadt.  It is an interesting coincidence that E. E. Urbach called the Mordecai ha-Katan a "Zedah la-Derekh," a small compendium that is fit to be carried when one travels (Baale ha-Tosafot, p. 559, note *26).  Naphtali Wieder, in The Formation of Jewish Liturgy in the East and the West, 1998, p. 270 (in Hebrew), refers to this manuscript in connection with the rare reading in the grace after meals: barukh masbia reevim (fol. 121r).

Contents, Volume 2

Fols. 1r-16v: Collection of 98 responsa with an index at the beginning. Includes, among others, responsa by Solomon ben Abraham (fols. 1r-11r), Eliezer ben Joel ha-Levi (fols. 11r-14v) and a responsum by the 10th century Spanish rabbi Moses ben Hanokh (fol. 14v).

Fols. 17r-19v: Extracts on the laws of festivals from the anonymous book Amarcal with glosses in the margins. This text, with the glosses was published from this manuscript by N.N. Coronel in Hamishah Kuntresim (Vienna 1864), fols. 21a-27a. The first page of this text, missing in this manuscript, is found in  Budapest, Kaufmann ms. 76.

Fols. 19v-24v: An abridgement of Isaac ben Meir Düren's Sha'arei Dura. Coronel regarded these laws as part of the book Amarcal and included it in his publication on pp. 27b-35b.

Fols. 24v-25r: Laws of forbidden wines (yein nesekh). Similar but not identical to the laws of yein nesekhin the Amarcal, published from another manuscript by J. Freimann in the Festschrift  ... David Hoffmann's  (Berlin, 1914), Hebrew sect., pp. 12-23.

Fols. 25v-26v: Laws of shehitah. The author quotes the customs of Vienna and quotes several early authorities.

Fols. 26v-28v: The historical part of Isaac ben Joseph Israeli's astronomical work Yesod Olam (part 4, chapter 18).

Fol. 29r-v: Part of Seder Tana'im ve-Amora'im.  See K. Kahana's edition (Frankfurt, 1935), pp. 11-33.

Fols. 30r-42v: A collection of 117 responsa, a few by Solomon ibn Adret and  Rashi but mostly, beginning on fol. 19v,  by Asher ben Jehiel. An identical collection is found in Montefiore ms. no. 100, fols. 6v-41v (Lot 93).

Fols. 43r-44r: Epistle by Asher ben Gershom (Provence, thirteenth century) defending Moses ben Maimon's Guide of the Perplexed from its detractors. Attributed in the manuscript to Abraham, the son of Moses ben Maimon.  See Montefiore ms. no. 100, fols. 1v-3v (Lot 93).

Fols. 45r-46v: Glosses by Perez ben Elijah on Isaac of Corbeil's Sefer Mizvot Katan (§§ 184-185).

Fols. 47r-55r: Forms of deeds and ordinances of communities in Ashkenaz. Includes, inter alia, a copy of a form for a deed dated 1426 in Zurich (fol. 49), the ordinances (takanot) of Rabbenu Tam (fol. 54r) and Rabbenu Gershom (fol. 54v), and the ethical will of Judah he-Hasid (fols. 54v-55r).  Finkelstein published Rabbenu Tam's ordinances using this manuscript and other sources in his Jewish Self-Government, pp. 168-170, and those of Rabbenu Gershom on p. 111.

Fols. 55v-57v: David ben Hodaya ha-Nasi's letter of excommunication against the persecuters of Samuel Schlettstadt of Strasbourg.  Published from this manuscript by N.N. Coronel in Hamishah Kuntresim(Vienna 1864), fols. 110-112. See E. Reiner, in Shalem, 4 (1984), pp. 49-62.

Fols.  57v-58r: Rabbenu Tam's ordinances (takanot) against informers and ordinances by Perez ben Elijah.

Fol. 58: Verses on philosophy.

Fols. 58v-63r: Tozaot Hayyim, ethical poems by Moses ben Nethanel Nathan, published in Menahem di Lonzano's Shetei Yadot (Venice 1618), fols. 143b-148b.

Fols. 63v-65r:  Commentary on the thirteen hermeneutical rules of R. Ishmael.

Fols. 65v-80r: Sefer Tashbez by Samson ben Zaddok. Decisions and responsa based on the teachings of Meir of Rothenburg. The first printed editon was published at Cremona in 1556.

Fols. 80v-105v: Anonymous treatises and extracts on Hebrew grammar, preceded by a piece on the differences between the customs in the Land of Israel and Babylon, with variations from the editions (fol. 81r). On fol. 88r a poem on the accents by Rabbenu Tam, edited from this manuscript by Halberstam inJeschurun, 5 (1865), pp. 123-133.

Fols. 106r-114r: Philosophical rules, citing Aristotle, Saadiah Gaon, Isaac Israeli and Maimonides.

Fols. 114v-119r: Part two of Samuel ibn Motot's kabbalistic treatise Meshovev Netivot (not printed).

Fols. 119r-121r: Extracts on kabbalah, including a diagram of the ten sefirot (fol. 121r).

Fols. 122r-126v: Ez Hayyim, a halakhic work by Hayyim Eliezer Isaac Or Zarua,  published from this manuscript by N.N Coronel in Hamishah Kuntresim (Vienna, 1864), fols. 96a-97a.

Fols. 126v-130v: Shearim, civil laws and laws of oaths in rhyme.  Attributed to Hai Gaon by Solomon Halberstam, who published the text from this manuscript in Jeschurun, 6 (1868), pp. 150-191.  In Parma, Biblioteca Palatina Cod. Parm. 2295, the text is attributed to Saadiah Gaon.

A portion of the manuscript (fols. 175-218 according to the old Hebrew foliation) is absent in this volume and is now found in Budapest, Academy of Sciences, Kaufmann ms. 76, acquired by Kaufmann in 1887.