Issur Ve-Hetter

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ISSUR VE-HETTER , a term designating the totality of halakhic rulings with regard to forbidden foods and related topics. From the second half of the 12th century, however, it came to be used for a specific literary genre dealing with this subject, and from that time books wholly devoted to this topic were produced in great numbers (the Issur ve-Hetter of Rashi is not to be included among them, since it belongs to a completely different category; see *Rashi).

The creation of this type of literature is connected with the spread of Jewish settlement in Germany. This gave rise to the development of different customs in various spheres of life, including to no small degree topics of issur ve-hetter. There is indeed no doubt that issur ve-hetter literature should be regarded as a branch of the more comprehensive literary genre known as *minhagim literature. Research into the issur ve-hetter literature is complicated. The authors of many of the books are anonymous or have been erroneously identified; in addition, many glosses and notes were added to the original text of works by copyists and other scholars who wanted to adapt them to the local prevailing custom; a large part of this literature is still in manuscript in different libraries, at times wrongly catalogued. Among the most important works of this subject are the Sefer ha-She'arim or Sha'arei Dura, called " Issur ve-Hetter, " by Isaac b. Meir of *Dueren (Cracow, 1534), which is seemingly the earliest work of this type; 36 She'arim on laws of issur ve-hetter by Israel *Isserlein, apart from his glosses on the Sha'arei Dura; the laws of issur ve-hetter at the end of the Minhagei Maharil (Sabionetta, 1556) which is an abridgment of the Sha'arei Dura, as is the Torat Ḥattat (Cracow n.d., c. 1570) of Moses *Isserles. The well-known Issur ve-Hetter he-Arokh (Ferrara, 1555), attributed in error to Jonah *Gerondi but apparently compiled by Jonah Ashkenazi, a pupil of Israel Isserlein, contains, besides laws on forbidden foods, laws connected with the duty of saving life.


Ta-Shema, in: Sinai, 64 (1969), 254–7.

[Israel Moses Ta-Shma]