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This manuscript contains the entire text of the Pentateuch and the haftarot (weekly readings from the Prophets). The manuscript contains six illuminated initials in a box at the beginning of each book of the Pentateuch and at the beginning of the haftarot. The semicursive Sephardic Hebrew script and other codicological features of the manuscript indicate a Sephardic origin and dating to the second half of the 15th century. It is probable that the Pentateuch of the Braginsky collection is the work of an artist active in the Lisbon school, known for the production of 30 manuscripts which are characterized by the decoration largely without figures: frames with filigree initials, floral and abstract pen decoration ink, multicolored dots and flowers. (red)

Parchment 43 ff. 10.6 x 7.6 cm Amsterdam, Baruch ben Schemaria 1795

The “count of the Omer” in Judaism is a blessing which counts the 49 days between the second Pesach evening and the festival of Shavuot. In the manuscript these days, with the respective figures, are inscribed in 49 shamrocks. To c. 18r depicts the Menora with the text of Psalm 67. The Lithuanian copyist Baruch ben Shemaria, from Brest-Litovsk, made the codex in 1795 in Amsterdam for Aaron ben Abraham Prinz, of Alkmaar in the Netherlands, as mentioned in the title page . The drawing on c. 1r, executed with calligrams, depicts Samson in the guise of an atlas, according to the rabbinic tradition that wants him to be endowed with superhuman strength. (red)

Paper 280 ff. 21.5 x 15.5 cm Hebron, Salomo ha-Adani before 1611

Shelomo bar Joshua ha-Adani (1567-1625) was a Jewish scholar who was primarily concerned with the study of the Mishnah (the first great written transposition of the oral Torah). According to tradition, this study took three decades of his life. He transcribed his thoughts and notes alongside and around a complete printed copy of the Mishnah. Because his annotations had become so dense that he himself could no longer decipher them, a patron allowed him to collect his comments in a clearer work. The result of this work are his comments on the Mishnah. Of the six orders in which the Mishnah is divided we have here the comments to the first order, the Zeraim (“Seeds”), where blessings, prayers and agricultural laws are thematized. In the Library of The Jewish Theological Seminary of New York a similar commentary on the sixth order – that of the Tohorot (“Purifications”) – dated to 1611 is preserved in the MS Rab 33 manuscript, which suggests that our manuscript must be dated before. (red)

Parchment 20 ff. 11.5 x 8 cm Hamburg, Uri Feivesch ben Isaak Segal 1750

The code contains prayers to be recited on the occasion of the circumcision ceremony. This ceremony is depicted on c. 10r, while it takes place inside a synagogue where the prophet Elijah, who announces the coming of the Messiah, is considered present. To c. 18r illustrates the rite of blessing the wine. The illustrations are the work of Uri Feivesch ben Isaak Segal, an important representative of the Hamburg-Altona school of miniaturism of the eighteenth century who, besides this, produced at least five other manuscripts. The title page shows the owner’s name, Joseph ben Samuel, and an unidentified coat of arms with the Order of the Elephant, one of the most prestigious Danish orders of chivalry. (red)

Paper 223 ff. 20.6 x 15 cm Ungarisch Brod (Moravia) between 1673 and 1683

In addition to the daily prayers, the manuscript also contains kabbalistic and kavanot (mystical intentions) commentaries. In the kabbalistic school of Safed (Upper Galilee), the mystical aspect of prayer as the “vehicle of the mystical ascent of the soul towards God” is of great importance.