Friday, May 13, 2005

New small crossword

This morning I bought the brand new edition of Tashbetz Katan. Tashbetz is a collection of the legal decisions and practices of R Meir b Baruch of Rothenburg, collected by his disciple, Shimshon b Zadok (the epiphet Katan, "minor", is to distinguish this work from the responsa of R Shimon b Zemah Duran, the important 15th century North African decisor).

The book was very popular throughout the Middle Ages, which resulted in its presence in more than 100 manuscripts. It has also been printed many times, and differents editions in both print and manuscript include glosses. The most famous glossator of the Tashbetz, who wrote important glosses on the Semak as well, was R Peretz ben Elijah of Corbeil. All of this conspires to make the editing of such a work quite difficult.

This new edition does not encompass all extant manuscripts. It is based principally on a manuscript which the editor believes was used by R Joseph Karo. But it includes comparisons to some other manuscripts, and references to the other printed editions. In addition, the first printing of the book, Cremona 1556, is reproduced at the end of this edition (pages 43v-45r were photocopied here out of order).

This edition was produced by R Shmuel Schneuersohn (there's something liberating about saying Rabbi Shneerson, isn't there?). He is a man getting on in years, but his energy is amazing. I have often seen him running around Jerusalem while his walking stick tries to keep up. I'm very glad that he has managed to complete this task, which he worked on for more than a decade.


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