Terumas Hadeshen, by Rabbi Israel Isserlein, printed in Furth, 1778.


This is from my antique book collection, not my Anglo-Judaica collection, although, according to the Geni website the author, Rabbi Israel Isserlein was my 17th great grandfather.

Rabbi Israel Isserlein was a very important late medieval rabbi, active in the mid-1400s.  The book’s name comes from the practice in the Temple in Jerusalem of removing part of the previous days’ ashes from the furnace.  We can discuss whether it is about removing the waste or about keeping the fire going.  The word Deshen has the numerical value of 354, and the book is written in the form of 354 questions and answers.

This book is an important source of the minhagim or practices of Ashenazi Jews.  My question is that if there were 354 questions included, so as to equal the word Deshen, did he stop at 354 just for this reason, and have we lost some customs because they were not included?

The book includes verses and writings from the most famous books of halacha (Jewish law), serves as a source for many minhagim (customs) and is referenced thousands of times in other books. The Rama (Moses Isserles) quotes it many times in his work HaMapah, the part of the Shulchan Aruch with differences between Ashkenazic and Sephardic customs.  The second section is called “Psakim and Ketavim.  My copy was printed by Rav Itzik bar Leib in 1778.

Here are the approbations (haskomos), followed by the beginning of the section on Shabbos.  The book ends with an advertisement that it and other books are for sale by the printer, Isaac the son of Leib in the new street called Aleksanders Street in Furth.  This is followed by the signatures (in print) of the typesetters and printers:












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