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Ik September, 1898, 1 acquired some MSS. from a little Yeshiba at 
Bounar Bashi, near Smyrna. One of these, which I will call MS. 
Smyrna, was a neatly written 4to MS. containing a collection of 
Responsaof thetwelfth, thirteenth, and fourteenth centuries. The book 
was evidently at one time considerably larger, but in the seventeenth 
or eighteenth century it was already a fragment and had lost no less 
than 269 responsa, for, in a comparatively modern hand, a preface 
and index are added and the n"lB> renumbered, so that No. 1 is what 
used to be 271 and so on. 

The following is a copy of the collector's preface : — 

Tna >jran ne>N orruN iynx nta 'n tin tun notn frntxh nxn 
rrbvn w by rajjn win «|n jen | vrbw nra vsb rnpn '•a noN 
I ^icann naea xrc njni nixyiDS "ujnon pyo | wn u^iy Nin 
ujeo nmuon '•xn nwin | ^jna va n»N msa nan inhc swb 
wb* 1 lipoma na new 'i ann oa b iun Den i»e> NnpJi | wdi 
i:yoe> ioe> e»Nn new nr won jn | ohn Ninu | "oip •oa!' mm 

i>aN DWnN Ml D-JIB'NI ^"l D'pDffin "1BD3 31T13 WtO N^> 1T11N 

t/Nirri N'aenn '-inyn >J3 ye» m» nnN nw nuio inai Yino 
'n 3in Nin qn djojd sh D^jjni d^bh D»n -itos mm De»s3 
jon D"n nw nhe> ioe> Dnpea mu "ie>N n'ni>r nNii>n new 
3ina new i>"r o»w «»:i aim pa '3n o^run nmNon D^3-in 
{>"r ne»e> p 3in pni d^u n3e>vn nanse e>na 'wan^ ibp '*D3 
mm i»e> nnontai> N3i nw nnj> ina in waa rae» cjioc p n\n 
mpa i»e> u r"jn anno vwwo nuien o'^ WDNn coata rm -ie>Na 
nuie'n ta" 11 vinxo dj d^juu de> ih nwu NDuni> n3ie>nn spD3 
nirco cn^o onnN D»»ni e>"3nni> nuie'n nspi S>"t Nao"nne 
wivi wa iin ba D^naoNi ran nnNi ran nnN nnna» dmid-o 

WV3T Ce'N OTWD n^NI D^» niDe> D\x!>D tfnNVD "\WtQ Qprnj?^ 

p&i nu3 ejnsi» Dpf^y "vuj?ni nmoiu jn»e6 nmi noan b yjr 

1 asan ecu? wann 'on j"yi. 


n tnipn pi 11 ]ynb amyo om jnw rwi mim 'i pi>y norm n^ 
mrco irw ow ^w dw d^dd onaii p a-ipi> yv t6i ?|y" t6 
wnr c^apem sin pn -on t6 >a troys tidehj hsibti irx 
^"iniD p d"d ^n '•anno ieko d^hkh jhn* ^ ypin -imra 
nxi^n tnpjn '•aspo d"ihd narran 3in^ -vainc 'a '^d r"n 

• 1T3TD l"3E> 'd p"anm 

Pages i to 1 1 are occupied by Preface and Index. 

Pages 13 to 94 contain 124 Responsa by a disciple of the N 3EH, 
R. Solomon ben Aderet (died before 1320). The author constantly 
quotes him as his master and final authority. Some of these Responsa 
are quite interesting. There is one on the efficacy of prayers for the 
dead. Another as to a poor Jew who was imprisoned for debt TV33 
13tJn in custody of the tax collector on a Sabbath, although the 
community had a charter under the king's sign manual that no 
Jew should be detained on Sabbaths and festivals for a money claim, 
but the charter was mislaid on the Friday and did not turn up till 
Sabbath. Another as to "]Oi p (Gentile wine). 

Pages 95 to 129 contain "nineteen" (really eighteen) Responsa, stated 
in a gloss to be by R. Moses iTJvn , who was a contemporary of the 
}"nm TW"V 13 31, i.e. R. Isaac ben Shesheth, of Valencia and 
Algiers, who died about 1395, and R. Nissim Gerondi', of Barcelona, 
who died about 1374. This Rabbi is evidently the same man as the 
Moses Vi^TI of Tortosa, referred to by Weiss in his VKnVT) in TH 
(v. 166 and 186). He does not seem to be the author of the 124 
legal decisions with which the collection commences. 

Rabbi Israel Levi, of Paris, has drawn my attention to the fact that 
in 1873 a work of this Rabbi Moses Chaliva was published at Jerusa- 
lem, entitled: DTIDQ ?)) ffmbn D"in» Win. This contains an 
approbation by R. Abraham Ashkenazi, the then Haham Bashi of 
Jerusalem. He gives a reference by that number to 133 of my collec- 
tion, from which it would seem that at that date this very MS. or 
a copy from it was in his hands ('"n). How it afterwards found its 
way back to a little Yeshiba in a village near Smyrna is a mystery. 
Mr. Luncz has been good enough to send me the book from Jerusa- 
lem. The title-page adds another spelling to the orthographical puzzle 
of the author's name, but the edition tells us something new about 
him. The Haham Bashi in his HD3Dn quotes a eulogistic reference 
to R. Moses as the equal of the ribash in the n"lS5> of the 7 'anno , 

1 Vide Schechter, Studies in Judaism, p. 162, as to R. Nissim's opposition 
to the mysticism and cabbalistic tendencies of Nachmanides. 


i. e. R. Joseph ibn Leb ben David, who died at Salonica or Constantinople 
in 1579 1 . He also refers to the N"TT1 (Azulai) as knowing the n"lE> 
of R. Moses. Azulai seems to be tbe only person who mentions 
a MS. of the works entitled: }3K OWnn mpin '0 nsunn ntn 
fWtnn, as well as other Responsa, all of which occur in my MS., 
so that it seems justifiable to assume that Azulai also had my MS. in 
his hands, and that perhaps it belonged to him. 

Weiss has pointed out how Graetz 2 and Steinschneider * confound 
R. Moses with the ribash. His family name is probably ilNVPl 
as given in the preface to MS. Smyrna. "Chaliva" is a name still 
extant among the Portuguese Jews. In fact, one of the Dayanim of 
the Portuguese Synagogue in London who died about a dozen years 
ago was named Chaliva. M. Levi suggested that the Leyden MS. 
might contain some of the Responses in MS. Smyrna. As usual, his 
expectations were more than verified. 

I had an opportunity of consulting the Leyden MS. this summer, 
and following is a synopsis of the lY W in the Leyden and Smyrna 
codices. The names are those of the towns where the Responses were 
written. The numbers marked with an asterisk are those expressly 
ascribed in the MS. to be by R. Moses ; S = Smyrna, L = Leyden. 

S I25 = L20 Monzon. 

S i26=L2i. 

Sl27 = L22*. 

Si28=L23 (Trina). 

S I29=L 10 and L 27 Alcanis. 

S I30=L24 Majorca. 

S 131, beginning Ity ruri3 = L 25, beginning ~\"i Mnn 3rD "11JJ. 

S 132=^26*. 

S I33 = L n* Paris. 

S 134= Li* Calatayub in Arragon (vide Steinschneider, J. Q. L' , 
XI, 605). 


S I36=L3 Barcelona. 

S I37=L4* Cervera, between Barcelona and Lerida. Cap Cerbere 
is the last French station on the railway to G-erona and Barcelona. 
It gave his name to the famous Spanish Admiral of 1 898. 

S 138=^5* Fraga. With greeting to 1313D "our colleague" 
R. Shealtiel. 


S i4o=L 7 Saragossa. 

S 141. 

1 Vide Steinschneider, 5948. * VIII, 33. 

3 Leyden Catalogue, Warner, 50, p. 223. 


Si43=Li2* Gerona. 
S 144=^13. 
Si4S = Li5. 
S 146 ncnop. 
S 147. 

S I48=L 17* rUlBW = Solsona. 

Thus in the Leyden MS. 17 of the eighteen (not nineteen) Responses 
appear, and eight of these are there ascribed to R. Moses Chaliva. 
S 1 4 1 answers a question as to the Levirate asked by R. Abraham ?K wR . 
L23 adds another Catalonian town, Trina, to the Smyrna list of 
names. Five of the eight remaining Responses by contemporary 
Rabbis, including the ribash. are represented in the Leyden MS., 
where three of them are ascribed obviously in error to R. Moses. 
The Leyden MS. adds on pages 33 to 59 Responses by other French 
Rabbis, including the Paris Chief Rabbi R. Jochanan b. R. Matathias 
and his brother R. Joseph. This last has the honour of a full page in 
Neubauer's Ecrivains Juifs Franfau (p. 41 1). He was at one time the 
owner of the famous Talmud Codex, now at Munich, but probably 
written at Paris. 

These Responsa are interesting both in matter and in form. In 
matter because they deal with communal and personal affairs in 
France and Spain about the time of the expulsion of the Jews from 
England. And in form because they are modelled upon those of the 
N3KH. Nearly every letter is addressed from a different place, and 
the author, being very peripatetic, supplies us with quite an itinerary. 
The first is headed fWID, probably not from Venaissin, but Moncon 
or Monzon in Catalonia. 

Of them all, that written in Paris about its Chief Rabbi R. Jochanan 
ben R. Mattathias ("John Matthews," p. no), has been already 
referred to. The incident of the attack on his Rabbinate made by an 
ordained usurper from Vienna is well known to history, and the 
N3KH's responsum on the subject has been published. That of 
R. Moses is being edited in the Revue des Etudes Juives. The 
Rabbi says that he is eighty years old, that in his youth he was 
trained at Barcelona in the College of the N"3Bn, the author of the 
JV3n min . That he knew the Rabbi's son and Rabbenu Peretz and 
Rabbenu Nissim, the latter two of whom yielded to his opinion when 
they were in difference. That he had lived at Tortosa in penury for 
thirty-five years without aspiring to a Rabbinate. 


Another responsum casts a lurid light on the troubles of the times. 
Reuben borrowed a book from Simeon, but when asked to return it 
pleaded that it had been burnt when the Gentiles raided the Jewish 
quarter and despoiled it. This accounts for the comparatively small 
number of Hebrew MSS. of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries 
still extant. It was the epoch of the Guerre des Pastoureaux, when 
France was nearly as anti-Semitic as in 1899. 

The responsum numbered 139, corresponds with no. 176 of the 
t/'yvi n /A lB\ It mentions 2?«chisdai Crescas, R. Chisdai Chaninai, 
R. Shealtiel Gracian, and R. David Shoeib of Ragusa. 

The nineteen end with the following note : — 

.toe* f\ncb& pi m tiv b vsb ntn> w nuiwn o'^n a"? 

Then follow interesting Rabbinic decisions about a Jewish heiress 
of Gerona, to which an English cause cdlebre of the last century, the 
case of Goldsmid v. Bromer 1 in 1798, might well be compared. The 
young Girondist after becoming engaged to a young man, lost her 
parents and brothers, and sisters and succeeded to an immense sum 
of money. Her K>W, a third party or sort of trustee on her behalf to 
see that the betrothal was duly consummated by marriage, thought 
her too good a match for her fiancS, and got his own son to marry 
her clandestinely. Whence trouble and much contention and strife, 
and the calling into counsel of all the leading Rabbis of the day. 
Among the authorities consulted were R. Samuel ben Solomon 
Schalom (Sir Morel of London?), Don Astruc Crescas 2 , R. Meir ben 
Levi Abulafia, and R. Isaac Bonafoux, the son-in-law of the &"y~\ 
who signs himself iwnW P C1SJ13 pV'K. 

On page 147 there is a letter addressed to the flBHOp ?Hp about 
the " Chalitza " of the wives (!) of " En mose Bonastruc " by R. Chisdai 
Crescas 8 . 

On the next page there is a response headed : — pTft? n31B»7lt: , 
"|"J Vpvnp pnne>K jn tbwn, by R Isaac ben Samuel ben Schealtiel. 

From pages 151 to 165 we have eighteen abbreviated responsa 
(-Il¥p3) by the N"aen R. Jom Tob ben Abraham of Hispala in 
Arragon (fol. 1342). 

Next follows a correspondence between R. Solomon ben Simon ben 
Zemach, i. e. Solomon Duran 4 , and R. Nathan Nagar of Constantine. 

1 1 Hagg. Cos. Rep., 324. 

2 Vide Steinschneider, 757, 758, and cp. Renan and Neubauer's Ecrirains 
Jui/s Franqais, 548. 

3 This is probably the grandfather or great-grandfather of the Chisdai 
Crescas (fol. 1410), referred to by Steinschneider, 841. 

4 Steinschneider, 2306. Among my Genizah fragments I possess an 
original Hebrew letter addressed to his father, Simon Duran, dated 1439. 

L a 


This is the HXvD or rhetorical epistle in Chaldaic, printed with 
letters of Prophiat Duran at Constantinople in 1577, and reprinted 
by Geiger in 1844 '. 

From pages 170 to 172 we have six anonymous DVtUtPtt JT"1C from 
German Rabbis, including one as to a striking clock. 

Five responses of R. Isaac Corcosa occupy the next two pages. 

On page 175 follow some important, but brief n '1C, copied or 
abbreviated from the "HDJ? 2 , a work partly printed in 1608 at Venice, 
compiled by R. Isaac ben Abba Mari, a Rabbi of Marseilles in the 
twelfth century. They consist of responses on the subject of i^P 
(possession) by Paltoi Gaon, Samuel ben Hofni, Hai Gaon, Meshullam 
ben Kalonymos, the RIF, Nissim Gaon, Joseph ibn Megas, R. Moses 
ben Chanoch, Saadia Gaon, and one from R. Samuel N331B "11ND to 
R. Isaac DJ1S1DD 3 , i. e. of Siponto, near Naples. 

The remainder of MS. Smyrna is occupied by the following 
works : — 

A. D^HH JTlpin D 4 , pp. 183-274 being 236 Dinim on legal pro- 
cedure in a Jewish Ecclesiastical Tribunal, from which courts martial 
at Rennes and elsewhere might with advantage take lessons on 
evidence. The author is the eitba, i. e. R. Jom Tob ben Abraham, 
who lived in Ashbili in Spain in 1342. He says that the work is due 
to what he learnt from his master R. Solomon ben Aderet. 

B. pDJJD Wl by the kaabad. The author is R. Abraham ben 
David, junior, a Provencal Rabbi, who died in 1 1 98 r> . 

C. p. 279. HWin ps by the raaban, 75 Dinim by R. Eliezer ben 
Nathan of Mainz, also a worthy of the twelfth century 6 . 

D. p. 290. Eesponsa of R. Meir of Rothenburg 7 , being 36 Dinim, 
described as follows: b"\ E)"in mrun DJJ pBTin 1SDD TlBp^ pH 

vin^no inn "vr&rb h"x pianino -vno Y'nn ym& nuien Dm . 

E. p. 298. The differences in Minhag between the Palestinian and 
Babylonian Jews. This has been printed. 

F. pp. 301-316 is a fragment of the rtBUnn ntn s , an abbreviation 

He is therein described as the head of the Community of Algiers (-wute), 
where he died in 1444, aged 83. 

1 Steinsehneider, 2117. s Steinschneider, 1066. 

3 This must be the Rabbi called in the o'Vran dt R. Isaac ben 
Melchizedek midoto, who flourished in the middle of the twelfth 
century, vide Steinschneider, 1137. 

4 Benjacob, 199, apparently implies that this work was printed at Vienna 
in 1864 in a compilation called o'DmMy neon. 

s Steinschneider, 676, cp. Benjacob, 109. 6 Benjacob, 4. 

T Vide Jewish Chronicle, May 5, 1899, p. 21. 

* Benjacob, 199 and 188, and Cat. Bod., op. 601. 


of some of the Responses of the famous K> 'N"l, R. Asher ben Jechiel. 
who died in 1327. This last is written in a different hand to that of 
the rest of MS. Smyrna, and the end is wanting. The author is 
R. Moses ben Moses KT'PKTU **1 ? of Brussels. From Benjacob, it 
would seem that Azulai published some of these in his PNC? D^n, at 
Leghorn in 1792. 

The compilation is of value not only for its own sake, the authors, 
especially the other Rabbi Moses, being each in the Haham Bashi's 
hyperbolical language, a son of Anak, but because it throws a side- 
light on the practical methods of the Jews of the Middle Ages. They 
were then, as we are still, great sticklers for authority. Case Law, as 
embodied in Rabbinical Responsa, was their infallible, if contradic- 
tory, guide 1 . The Responsa had to be abbreviated, collected, collated. 
Our MS. from Bounar Bashi is in many respects typical. As the 
Talmud was the digest of Jewish law in post biblical times, so would 
such compilations as this have constituted a Corpus Juris in the 
Middle Ages. But the growth and development of such a Digest was 
stopped by the persecutions and expulsions which, beginning in 
England in 1290, spread to Prance and Germany, and thence to Spain 
and Portugal in the succeeding centuries. There was neither time 
nor space for such bulky compilations. Fugitive Jews could not 
carry huge volumes with them. They preferred portable property 
and gold and jewels which they could easily convert into money 
anywhere. The Church and its censors provided fire and faggot for 
the odd volumes that threatened to survive. Dogmatic theology in 
the form of a Tur or a Shulchan Aruch had to take the place of the 
reasoned argument of literary Rabbis. The Code replaced the Digest. 
It is a survival, not necessarily of the fittest, but of the least bulky. 

Happily not every Mastodon and Ichthyosaurus has perished out 
of Jewry. The publication of the " novels " (D'tWri) of R. Moses 
Chaliva in 1873 is evidence to the contrary. And even R. Joseph 
Caro, author of the Shulchan Aruch, himself was not satisfied with 
his short compendium of the Jewish religion. His own responsa are 
neither few nor short. In the very cupboard at dusty old-world 
Bounar Bashi, where our MS. came to light, I found a bulky volume 
of Caro's n"lK>. His ?3T1 np3N is but a specimen of these, and, if 
some there be who find fault with the Shulchan Aruch, they may expose 
themselves to the publication of a longer and weightier law, promul- 
gated not only by his authority but supported by his arguments. 
This is the age of revivals. 

E. N. Adlek. 

1 Abrahams, Jewish Life in the Middle Ages, 431.