Monday, April 24, 2006

Liora Elias

Just yesterday I heard from my father the sad news, that Liora Elias-Bar Levav passed away. She had been sick with leukemia for years. Her MA was devoted to a copy of the Mekhilta de-Rabi Yishmael whose pages are scattered throughout the Genizah. Her doctorate was meant to deal with Mekhilta de-Rabi Shim'on bar Yohai, Masekhta de-Nezikin. I heard from friends about a lecture she gave several months ago, where she made the brave claim that the Mekhilta de-Rashbi is difficult to understand because it was badly edited (and not simply because our text is defficient).
Last time I saw Liora, she was walking in the San Simon park with her daughter, with a hat and leaning on a cane.

In other news, the Schocken Institute has published a couple of new titles. The time I spent working on one of them is a period of my life I regret.

The new batch of digitized rare books at the JNUL includes the first printing of the Sefer Mitsvot Gadol. One of those books that Moses Marx studied, which may or may not have been printed in Rome in or around 1480.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Just in time

Just published, the Drashah le-Pesah (Sermon for Passover, Oratio ad Pascam) of R Eleazar Rokeah of Worms arrived this afternoon. Looks good!

Update: Lots here, of course. For now, just a couple of things. One - the Rokeah says matter-of-factly that Kitniyot are not eaten on Pesah because they contain wheat. Simcha speculates that this is because of crop-rotation.

The introduction discusses the other halakhic works of the Rokeah, especially his Maase Rokeah. Somewhere there I noticed the comment that "today, young men wear rings as jewelry".

The footnotes overflow with information about manuscripts, unpublished medieval works and interesting parallels.