Auction 120 Special
Mar 3, 2020 (your local time)
 3 Shatner Center 1st Floor Givat Shaul Jerusalem
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LOT 14:

Mishneh Torah L'HaRamba"m. Yemen, 14th Century. Many Differences from the Printed Version

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Sold for: $12,000
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Mishneh Torah L'HaRamba"m. Yemen, 14th Century. Many Differences from the Printed Version

Manuscript - Mishneh Torah L'Ramba"m, bundle of leaves from the books of Mishneh Torah, primarily from the books Shoftim and Nezikin. Many differences from the printed version. Yemen, 14th century (approximately 100 years before the invention of the printing press).

In the manuscript before us, written, as mentioned, before the advent of the printing press, there are many differences in comparison to the version printed in current editions of the Ramba"m. Differences appear on almost every one of the leaves! Many of the differences are linguistic, not involving actual differences in the halachah. Yet, they can be used to resolve difficulties and contradictions in the Ramba"m's words. Occasionally, entire edifices built on a single word in the Ramba"m by the Later Authorities collapse due to the version in this manuscript. There are also changes in the numbering of the halachahs, for example, Sefer Shoftim, Hilchot Mamrim, Chapter 9, contains 14 halachahs, and the version before us contains 17 halachahs.

The Ramba"m's original manuscript of Mishneh Torah survives in about 20 draft-leaves, found in the Cairo Geniza. The text of Mishneh Torah underwent many changes and errors over the years, both in the text of the halachahs, and in their divisions. The source of these changes is copying errors set in print, edits by copyists who "corrected" to what they saw as appropriate in their opinions, and the Christian censor, who changed the original text. In addition to these, the Ramba"m himself corrected the text several times in the copy of this book in his possession. As such, the version extant in the prevalent prints over the generations is not the conclusive, precise text produced by the Ramba"m. Scholars use ancient manuscripts and remnants of ancient prints to clarify the precise text. Rabbi Yosef Kapach maintains that the Yemenite manuscripts, such as the one before us, are the true and correct version.

[104] p, 20x27 cm. Ink on thick, high-quality dark paper. Fluent Yemenite scribal script. The chapter headings are highlighted in red ink.

Moderate-fine condition. Minimal aging stains. Professional completion of the margins, with damage to text on individual leaves. New leather binding. 

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