(Valuations), the fifth tractate in the order Kodoshim
, explores, in nine chapters, the biblical law that applies when a person voluntarily donates his or her value, or that of land he or she owns, for the Temple’s maintenance (the half-shekel tax of Shekalim
, by contrast, was collected to finance the sacrifices only). This erekh
does not represent the true market value of a person or parcel of land; instead, it is standardized by the Torah (see Lev. 27) and ignores individual circumstances. Interestingly, a large subunit of the treatise is devoted to the number of singers who produced the sacral music of the Levites in Temple times. In addition, the idea of the power of speech, which emerges here as an important theme given that arakhin
commitments are effected verbally, generates discussions of the severity of leshon ha-ra
(libel) and the obligation to rebuke one’s fellow.
Note: Despite the pronouncements on the title page, neither Maimonides’ commentary to the Mishnah nor the rulings of Rabbi Asher ben Jehiel (Rosh; ca. 1250-1327) are included herein.
Joseph (f. [1r])
Solomon ben Isaac, from Rabbi Nehemiah (f. 2r)
Abraham ha-Levi (f. 2r)
A.M. Habermann, Ha-madpis daniyyel bombirgi u-reshimat sifrei beit defuso (Safed: The Museum of Printing Art, 1978), 63 (no. 124).
Vinograd, Venice 130