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Liturgical poems for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur

Northern Spain, 15th century

Manuscript on parchment illuminated in gold. Sewn folios. Pages ruled with drypoint needle perforations. Ink, parchment, gilt and violet and red ink decorations on filigreed panels. Leather-bound card cover, 10.7 x 16.3 x 7.5 cm

Gift of the descendants of Simon ben Tsemah Duran

Oeuvre clé : Poèmes liturgiques, piyyoutim

Poèmes liturgiques (piyyoutim) pour Rosh ha-Shanah et Yom Kippour, nord de l’Espagne, XVe siècle

This manuscript was copied in the Iberian Peninsula in the early 15th century. It comprises liturgical poems in the Catalan tradition read during the Jewish new year holidays of Rosh Hashanah and the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) and fragments of a mystical treatise by the Andalusian poet and philosopher Solomon Ibn Gabirol (1020-circa 1058), later integrated into the liturgy of all Sephardic communities. It was commissioned by Simon ben Tsemah Duran, known as Rashbats (Palma de Mallorca, 1361 – Algiers, 1444). Born into a prestigious family of Provençal origin, he became head of the rabbinic tribunal in Algiers in 1408 after fleeing the anti-Jewish riots in the Balearic Islands in the summer of 1391. His presence in Algiers marked the beginning of the Spanish influence in Algerian Judaism, whose origins date back to Roman times.

Until its donation to the mahJ in 2002, this manuscript remained in the possession of the rabbi’s descendants for over five hundred years, handed down from generation to generation.

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