Monday, November 26, 2012

The Mishnaic rabbis and women in a beautiful Italian siddur from 1469

Leor Jacobi said in the name of Avi Shmidman that there is a really great Italian siddur from 1469 digitized here. Some great illustrations:

To begin with, we are treated to portraits of Rabbi Eliezer and Rabbi Akiva:





Then there is one of Rabban Gamliel and a nice-looking woman eating (or holding) matzah:





Then there is a woman holding what I guess is a spice box for havdalah, unless it's a candle without flames that I can see:



Then there is a woman counting the omar:



Finally, here is a woman reciting viduy on Kippur:


25 comments:

  1. And this is why we have no Italian Jews today!
    j/k

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    Replies
    1. No, we have no Italian Jews today because they were killed out in the Holocaust.

      Okay?

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  2. Not only is the woman counting the Omer, she is pointing to the blessing. Can we imply that this Hagada's author holds that women should be reciting blessings on Sefirat Ha'omer? Do the Italians hold like Rabbenu Tam in this matter? I don't know.

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  3. Difficult to know. For example, I can't say for sure if it is trying to portray the woman saying viduy, in which case it seems to me that we have an interesting posture to analyze, or maybe it is only trying to portray a woman looking contrite, but not necessarily saying viduy.

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  4. 1. So nice of you to quote two of my dear friends.

    2. I spent basically all of last year looking at MSS like that, but for obscure piyyutim and textual variants, not for awesome pics. :-(

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  5. Any reason all the Rabbis, read "ribi" with a chirick vowel?

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    Replies
    1. Yes, that is the original pointing. That, or with a sheva. But basically all earlier sources, including Ashkenazim, pointed with a chirik or sheva until the 18th century, when the patach makes its appearance. One can even see many siddurim and machzorim from eastern Europe printed with a chirik until well into the 19th century. However, eventually the patach displaced it among virtually all Ashkenazim to the point where people take care to say "rah-bee." I discussed some of the issues in this post. You can also find other occasions where I discussed it here.

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    2. In lerning, almost all (traditional) Ashkenazzim still say "rebbi" or "rebbe". And indeed, if I recall correctly, it's vocalized with a segol in MS Kaufmann. But, as you say, we've been through this many times before, and (unlike the Great Salt Lake), this is not the place.

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    3. Haha. I am not sure if it is a segol that we say or if it is an exaggerated sheva.

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    4. Steg (dos iz nit der šteg)7:19 PM, November 27, 2012

      I understand the segol to be an exaggerated ḥiriḳ, like in midrash»medresh.

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    5. Don't know what you mean by "exaggerated". Richard Steiner says that the form with segol, rɛbbi, is actually older than the form with chirek, ribbi.

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  6. Moshe Moshel, this is common in Sephardic Siddurim to this day. If you see במה מדליקין or pirkei avot in a Sephardic siddur, you will find this vowelization. I suppose the Italians use a similar vowelization.

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  7. I'm surprised no one yet has pointed out the low neck lines.

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  8. Shadal calatoged this siddur, as he is the first one mentioned in the select bibliography at the link at the top of the post. However, I didn't find that Shadal discussed it in מחזור נבי רומא.

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  9. Well, Baruch, if I had gotten online a bit earlier, I would have pointed out those necklines. But I'm not sure what I would've said! I can add: What about those noses?!

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  10. כדאי לציין שלפי הקולופון הסידור נכתב עבור אשה:
    "כתבתי זאת התפלה לר' מנחם .... ולבתו הנכבדת והמשכלת הבתולה הנעימה..."
    וזו כנראה הסיבה לאיורי הנשים

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  11. I'm impressed that so many of the prayers/brachos are portrayed with an illustration of a woman saying them (Omer, Vidui). Was this siddur kept in the house?

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  12. I notice that the nusach of sfiras haomer shown is "Hayom Laomer Yom Echad"

    Was that the nusach, anyone have any additional knowledge of such a minhag?

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  13. Gives new meaning to the term "Women's Siddur".


    :-X

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  14. As אלי writes above, the siddur was written for a woman. I wonder if the last picture shows her reading from it?

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  15. Wait a minute, a woman counting the Omer? Much ink has been spilled about this issue. Here is evidence of what the minhag appeared to be in Italy in 1469.

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  16. If Eli is correct, that the colophon indicates the siddur was written for a woman, would suggest noting that in the post itself. It changes the complexion of the siddur entirely. (If you will, it goes from being an early feminist model, to merely another example, albeit very interesting, of literature for women.)

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