The present lot is a beautifully written, pocket-size copy of Seder tikkun hatsot
, the liturgy, made up of chapters and verses from Psalms and Lamentations, as well as kinot
(dirges), recited at midnight to mourn the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem and pray for its rebuilding. This ritual originated in the Middle Ages among a select group of pious Jews but gained considerable popularity with the spread of Lurianic Kabbalah and, according to Elliott Horowitz (1989), the introduction of coffee in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. In Italy, to which coffee only arrived in the mid-seventeenth century, the ritual was relatively slow in overtaking the earlier practice of reciting similar texts before daybreak (as part of so-called Shomerim la-Boker societies). By the middle of the eighteenth century, however, it had, in some Italian cities, considerably displaced or outstripped the predawn ritual. The present work, copied in 1795, reflects the growing popularity of Tikkun hatsot
in this period.
Joseph Abraham Giron (f. 1r)
Elijah Moses Meystre (f. 1r)
Elliott Horowitz, “Coffee, Coffeehouses, and the Nocturnal Rituals of Early Modern Jewry,” AJS Review 14,1 (Spring 1989): 17-46.