Anav, Jehiel ben Jekuthiel ben Benjamin Ha-Rofe

Updated About content Print Article Share Article
views updated


ANAV, JEHIEL BEN JEKUTHIEL BEN BENJAMIN HA-ROFE (second half of 13th century), author, copyist, and paytan; a member of the Anau family of Rome. Little is known of his life. He was the author of a significant work, first published at Constantinople (1512) under the title of Beit Middot and later in a different version at Cremona (1556) under the title of Ma'alot ha-Middot, on which subsequent editions were based. The book, dealing with 24 "steps" with ethical conduct, is based on talmudic, midrashic, and other sources. It begins and ends with a poem. The work enjoyed great popularity (nearly 40 manuscripts are extant). It was often reissued and was translated into Ladino. Entire chapters of it were included by Jacob *Emden in his Migdal Oz (1748). In 1968 the work was republished from a manuscript written in 1287 by the author. Jehiel also wrote Hilkhot Sheḥitah on the laws of ritual slaughter (in manuscript).

Some manuscripts which Jehiel copied have been preserved. The number of errors which they contain is not at all surprising in view of the great speed at which he worked. The only complete extant manuscript of the Jerusalem Talmud, now in the Leiden Library, from which the 1523–24 Venice edition was published, was copied by him in 1289. He completed the orders of Nashim and Nezikin in a month and 12 days. This manuscript has proved of great importance for research into the text of the Jerusalem Talmud. It contains his own notes and emendations, as do other manuscripts which he copied (in some instances he inserted various annotations into the text itself). His share, if any, in Tanya Rabbati (Mantua, 1514) has not been convincingly demonstrated, and there are divergent views on this score. There are also differences of opinion concerning the similarity between large sections of this work and the Shibbolei ha-Leket, written by his relative Zedekiah b. Abraham *Anav. There are two principal views on this subject. S.H. Kook maintains that Tanya Rabbati is the first edition of Shibbolei ha-Leket, which Jehiel copied and into which he inserted his own notes and incorporated passages from a later edition of the Shibbolei ha-Leket as known today. S.K. Mirsky regards Jehiel as the author of Tanya Rabbati and attributes the similarities in the two works to the fact that both Jehiel and Zedekiah received the teachings of Jehiel's uncle, Judah b. Benjamin Anav. In addition to the poems mentioned above, Jehiel wrote another at the end of the Jerusalem Talmud manuscript and a kinah on the destruction of a synagogue and of 21 Torah scrolls in a fire that broke out in Trastevere, Rome, in 1268 (Kobez al Jad, 4 pt. 2 (1888), 26, 29 ff.). Other piyyutim are ascribed to him (see Davidson, Oẓar, 4 (1933), 409).


Guedemann, Gesch Erz, 2 (1884), 196–201, 327–8; S. Buber (ed.), Shibbolei ha-Leket ha-Shalem (1886), 24–31 (introd.); Vogelstein-Rieger, 1 (1896), 393 ff.; Frankel, Mevo, 141b–143a; Epstein, in: Tarbiz, 5 (1933/34), 257–72; 6 (1934/35), 38–55; S. Lieberman, Ha-Yerushalmi ki-Feshuto (1934), 15 ff. (introd.); idem, in: Sefer ha-Yovel… H. Albeck (1963), 283–305; S.H. Kook, Iyyunim u-Meḥkarim, 2 (1963), 268–73; S.K. Mirsky (ed.), Shibbolei ha-Leket ha-Shalem (1966), 40–49 (introd.).

[Shlomoh Zalman Havlin]