Anav, Zedekiah ben Abraham

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ANAV, ZEDEKIAH BEN ABRAHAM (13th century), Italian talmudist; author of the compendium, Shibbolei ha-Leket ("The Gleaned Ears"), which can perhaps be considered the first attempt in Italy at the codification of Jewish law. Although Zedekiah's exact dates are unknown, he was alive at the time of the burning of the Talmud in Paris, which he describes as having taken place in 1244 (Shibbolei ha-Leket, 263), although most historians place the event in 1242. At the time he wrote, Zedekiah lived in Rome, as is obvious from the many references to "the custom here in Rome." He received some of his education in Germany, where he was a pupil of Jacob of Wuerzburg. He also may have studied for a time with *Meir b. Baruch of Rothenburg.

The Shibbolei ha-Leket is a major halakhic compendium on the liturgy (with copious explanations of individual prayers, and a complete commentary on the Passover Haggadah and the laws regarding the Sabbath, holidays, and fasts). The work is extant in several manuscripts, with only minor variant readings. A comprehensive edition, containing sections on the laws of circumcision, tefillin, mourning, and ritually unclean food as found in the various manuscripts (but lacking in source references and notes), was first published by S. Buber in 1886. The first volume of a new critical edition by S. Mirsky, based on a 1260 manuscript in the Sassoon collection, appeared in 1966. A second work by Zedekiah, mistakenly thought by some to be a continuation of the first, is the Sefer Issur ve-Hetter ("Book of Prohibitions and Permissions"). Only 136 of its 173 chapters were published in a mimeographed edition from a deficient manuscript (Segullah, Jerusalem). This work deals with the dietary laws and with the laws of oaths, marriage and divorce, menstruating women, judges and witnesses, commerce (including partnership, loans, and usury), and inheritance.

Zedekiah's method is to state a particular case (or problem) and to cite the authorities, both ancient and contemporary, who have dealt with it. He then proceeds to discuss their points of view and, when required, refers to the talmudic source, often quoting novel interpretations. Only rarely does he give his own explanations and hardly ever does he render a decision. The two works are of great importance both in themselves and as sources of earlier material. Zedekiah quotes with equal facility from both the Occidental and the Oriental schools, citing more than 230 authorities by name in addition to references to the geonim and to anonymous sources. He cites in particular the decisions of *Isaiah b. Mali di Trani and the responsa of Avigdor b. Elijah.

The Shibbolei ha-Leket is arranged in 13 arugot ("rows"), i.e., sections, and 372 shibbolim ("ears"), i.e., chapters. Sefer Issur ve-Hetter is arranged straightforwardly in 173 chapters divided into several sections, some of which are introduced by poems usually bearing the author's name in acrostic as does the whole work. A shortened version of the Shibbolei ha-Leket was first printed in Venice in 1546 and achieved great popularity. There were at least two other abbreviated versions of the work, which was also plagiarized under the name of Tanya Rabbati (see *Anav, Jehiel b. Jekuthiel).

According to Ḥayyim Joseph David Azulai, Zedekiah also wrote notes to Isaiah di Trani's commentary to the Pentateuch. *Immanuel of Rome puts Zedekiah and his three sons among the prominent scholars and saints whom he meets in Paradise (canto 28, ed. D. Jarden, 2, 1957) and also addresses a dirge to him (canto 24) mourning the death of two of his sons within a month.


Schorr, in: Zion, 1 (1840/41), 93–98, 110–5; Guedemann, Gesch Erz, 2 (1884), 192–4; S. Buber (ed.), Shibbolei ha-Leket ha-Shalem (1886), introduction; S.K. Mirsky (ed.), Shibbolei ha-Leket ha-Shalem (1966), introduction; Vogelstein-Rieger, 1 (1896), 273, 382–6, 438; Gross, in: zhb, 13 (1909), 87 ff.; Michael, Or, no. 1169; Waxman, Literature, 2 (1960), 130–2.

[Raphael Posner]

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Anav, Zedekiah ben Abraham

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