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Halakhot Keẓuvot


HALAKHOT KEẒUVOT (Heb. הֲלָכוֹת קְצוּבוֹת), a collection of halakhot belonging to the geonic era, attributed to *Yehudai Gaon. Halakhot Keẓuvot contains halakhot pertaining to the mishnaic order Mo'ed and also laws of divorce, wine of gentiles, mourning, tefillin, ẓiẓit, mezuzah, terefot, and a special chapter entitled Shimmush Bet Din dealing with legislation coming within the jurisdiction of the bet din, such as matrimonial and civil laws. The work, written for the most part in fluent simple Hebrew, does not give the sources of the halakhah and confines itself to laws of practical application. It is clear now that the Halakhot Keẓuvot is not by Yehudai. Some suppose the book to have been written in Ereẓ Israel, but in the opinion of M. Margalioth, it was composed in southern Italy during the second half of the ninth century, shortly before 863. The author draws on the one hand on Halakhot Pesukot (as he did not have in his possession the *Halakhot Gedolot), and on the other on a Palestinian halakhic work similar to Sefer ha-Ma'asim. Many of the customs cited in the work are contrary to those of the geonim but conform with those prevailing in Italy, and the redemption money of a firstborn (see *Pidyon ha-Ben) is given in Italian currency. Likewise, many of its linguistic forms are found only in the works of Italian scholars and the book was known and accepted in Italy for centuries, Italian scholars making extensive use of it. Differences in traditional halakhot are attributable to special traditions existing in the place of composition.

Although the book was hardly recognized in Babylonia, the geonim paying no attention to it and ignoring it as asource in their decisions, in the European countries it came to be regarded as authoritative. Among those making use of it are *Gershom b. Judah, *Hananel, Judah al-Bargeloni, and Melchizedek of Siponto, and whole sections from it are quoted in works emanating from the school of Rashi, e.g., Sefer ha-Pardes, Sefer ha-Oraḥ, Siddur Rashi, Maḥzor Vitry, Ma'aseh ha-Ge'onim, and others. The chief importance of the book is historical, since it is the first halakhic work composed in Europe, and reflects the customs, methods of study, and style of the Jews of southern Italy, the first Torah center in the West. Halakhot Keẓuvot was first published by C.M. Horowitz in the collection Beit Nekhot ha-Halakhot (Toratan shel Rishonim, 1881).


V. Aptowitzer, Meḥkarim be-Sifrut ha-Ge'onim (1941), 27, 84, 91–95; M. Margalioth (ed.), Halakhot Keḥuvot (1942), 1–60; Hartom, in: ks, 19 (1942/43), 84–86; Hildesheimer, in: Sinai, 13 (1944), 271–87; 14 (1944), 21–32, 82–94; H. Tchernowitz, Toledot ha-Posekim, 1 (1946), 112–6; idem, in: Melilah, 2 (1946), 238–42; Assaf, Ge'onim, 170.

[Mordecai Margaliot]

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