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

Deshen01

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:

Deshen02

Deshen03

Deshen04

Deshen05

Deshen06

Deshen07

Deshen08

Deshen09

Deshen10
242

Deshen11

Deshen12

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s