109 leaves (11¼ x 8 in.; 285 x 203 mm) lacking only the final blank. collation: (*)2,1-176, 185=109 leaves; (mis)paginated in later pencil: (2), 1-59, 70-117. Title page and following 2 ff. remargined with partial loss of title text, holed, tape repairs; f. 1.1 bound in reverse. Stained. Worming, mostly at gutter, only affecting text in final two quires. Final leaf strengthened at foot. Half velvet, marbled paper boards, upper detached, lower starting, quite worn, spine defective.
Vinograd, Fano 12; Mehlman 954; Haberman, Soncino 19
the first hebrew book to be printed with a title page
Sefer ha-Roke'ah is a halakhic work which includes minhagim (customs) as well as a considerable amount of ethical material. The author, Eleazer ben Judah of Worms, (c.1165–c.1238) was a member of the renowned Kalonymid family, and the most prominent disciple and student of Judah he-Hasid, the leader of the pietist movement known as Hasidei Ashkenaz. Eleazer ben Judah of Worms was the last major figure of this social and ideological circle which developed in the Jewish communities along the Rhine during the 12th and 13th centuries. Eleazar's main contribution to the ethical literature of Hasidei Ashkenaz is contained in the first two chapters of Roke'ah. In the first, he discusses the central values of the pietists (love and fear of God, prayer, humility, etc.). In the second, he describes in detail the ways of repentance. Although following the tradition of other halakhic works by the tosafists of northern France and Germany, Sefer ha-Roke'ah was designed to educate the layperson rather than the scholar. Accordingly, the author eschews lengthy exegetical discourses, preferring to deliver the halakhah in a forthright manner, though still referencing Talmudic sources. Unlike other halakhic works written by the tosafists, Eleazar also includes minhagim in his work.
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