Monday, September 24, 2012

An interesting assortment of hand-picked chosen cities in an 18th century shul tool

Here's an interesting page from this calendar tool, printed in Leiden in 1756, for use in calculating the molad for kiddush ha-chodesh. What I find particularly interesting are the chosen cities, from Alexandria in Egypt to London to Lima, Peru to Siam to Paris. Warsaw and Stockholm are there, but not Vilna. Also of note is that the designation Yavan "Greece" is used instead of Russia (or Rusland).








































Here is the title page, which gives the author as Raphael Halevi Hanover. From the stamps you can also see that while it ended up in the YIVO Library (and made it to New York, where it was scanned by hebrewbooks.org) but prior owners included the Library of the Great Synagogue of Vilna, S. J. Fuenn - it is inscribed as a gift from his father-in-law Mordechai Nathansohn - and another stamp which is hard to read, but I think may plausibly read Daniel Jaffeh, who is otherwise known as Daniel Itzig, famous 18th century Court Jew and patron of Jewish learning; he founded the Berlin beit hamidrash frequented by the Pri Megadim, Isaac Satanow, and others. But of course I can only read "Daniel," the fact that the Latin initials are "D. J." and that it looks like the Hebrew surname is three letters, which may be yud-heh-feh.

18 comments:

  1. Steg (dos iz nit der šteg)7:01 PM, September 24, 2012

    Interesting how "Hodu Mizrahhit" includes both India (Goa) and China (Pekin[g]). Is Shotland normal Yiddish for Scotland?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Well, it's normal German.

    http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schottland

    and Dutch

    http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schotland

    In Sefer Habris by Reb Pinchas Eli of Vilna he writes - if memory serves - "Sotland" with a samekh. IIRC. I once spent time trying to see if it made sense that this was because of his Litvish schibilant pronunciation problem rather than a typo, quirk or attempt to transliterate from the English/ Scots.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Also interesting that Lima, "West Indies" is the only city in the Americas to be mentioned.

    ReplyDelete
  4. My father remembered "yevonish" as a term that his Hungarian parents used as an equivalent of "non-Jewish eastern European." According to an article by Michael Wex, "yovn" was a Yiddish term for a soldier, especially a Russian soldier. Wex explains:

    "Yovn comes from yavan, Hebrew for Greece or a Greek, a word with no military associations in the original. It came to mean soldier in Yiddish because it sounds very much like Ivan; a yovn is basically a Czarist G.I. Joe. Ale yevonim hobn eyn ponim, says the proverb; 'all soldiers look alike'--you've seen one of them rape and pillage, you've seen all of them rape and pillage. Yevonish, the adjective, can mean the Russian language, while yevonisheh toyreh, 'Ivanian Torah,' is filthy language, especially in Russian."

    ReplyDelete
  5. S., in modern Dutch the "ch" is always pronounced "kh", so it sounds like "Skhotland." I certainly don't know how it was pronounced in the 1750s.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Did not realize that. I thought /gg/ was /kh/. In all likelihood it was pronounced like /kh/ in the 18th century as well.

    ReplyDelete
  7. To me the three letter below the doniel read ברא with dots on top to create roshei teivos. What was D.J. fathers name? As a chabadnick I've grown up with the saying ווי א יון אין סוכה I always thought that it relates to the Russian greek orthodox church...

    ReplyDelete
  8. A look at a Dutch Jewish website reveals how the "sh" sound is generally dealt with in that language: "Kosjer," "Sjabbat," "Sjoel." But regardless of how the Dutch pronounce "Schotland," the author's "Shotlandia" is probably based on the Yiddish name for the country, "Shotland," which is of course phonetically the same as the German.

    Mendel, it did occur to me that "yovn" might contain an allusion to the Greek Orthodox church. Otherwise, why wouldn't they have just left it as "Ivan"?

    ReplyDelete
  9. Interesting that Candia (Chania in Crete) rates a mention.

    ReplyDelete
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