Talmud: Moed Katan, Frankfurt Am Main, 1720.

1720MoedKatan1This is not the Anglo-Judaica that I usually write about, but a book from my  antique Judaica collection. It is a copy of a small tractate (massechet in Hebrew) of the Talmud, called Moed Katan (Little Festival), and was printed in Frankfurt Am Main in 1720.  It deals with the laws that pertain to the intermediate days of the festivals of Pesach (Passover) and Succos (Tabernacles).

But first I should explain why I have chosen to write about this book now.  It is because thousands of Jews around the world learn the 2,711 pages of the Talmud, one page every day.  This is not the only way to study – there are many others, but there are many learning Daf Yomi (which means daily page).  Each sheet of the Talmud has a number and two sides of the the sheet, referred to as A and B, so that, for example the first side of sheet 29 is called 29a (remember that we read Hebrew from right to left).  And page 29a of this book, Moed Katan, shown below, is the last page – the one that everyone who is systematically studying a page a day has just finished.  The completion of each tractate (called a Siyum – completion) is celebrated, and I think that it is appropriate to celebrate the completion of this tractate by writing about this book.

This particular edition of the Talmud was printed by Dayan (rabbinical judge) Yehuda Arieh Leib, the son of Yosef Shmuel of Krakow.  He began printing it in Amsterdam from 1714 to 1717.  Printing was interrupted, and resumed in Frankfurt Am Main in 1720. When he had completed the entire Talmud he went back and reprinted the volumes that had first been printed in Amsterdam.

If you look at the very small print in the middle of the title page (the first page below), you can read that the publisher thanks Rabbi Yissachar Berman of Halberstadt for allowing him to print this edition, even though the copyright term of Rabbi Berman’s edition (Frankfurt in the Oder, 1697-99) had not lapsed.

In the scans below you can see that my copy, which is printed on good quality rag paper, has a little moth damage.


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