||Megillat Taanit is a chronicle which enumerates thirty-five eventful days on which the Jewish nation either performed glorious deeds or witnessed joyful events. These days were celebrated as feast-days. Public mourning was forbidden on fourteen of them, and public fasting on all. In most of the editions this chronicle consists of two parts, which are distinct in language and in form, namely: (1) the text or the Megillat Ta'anit proper, written in Aramaic and containing merely brief outlines in concise style; (2) scholia or commentaries on the text, written in Hebrew. The days are enumerated, not in the chronological order of the events they commemorate, but in the sequence of the calendar, the Megillat Ta'anit being divided into twelve chapters, corresponding to the months of the year. Each chapter contains the memorial days of a single month, the first chapter dealing with those of the first month, Nisan, and so on to the twelfth chapter, which treats of those of the twelfth month, Adar.
In an old baraita (Shab. 13b) the question as to the authorship of the work is answered as follows: "Hananiah b. Hezekiah of the Garon family, together with a number of others who had assembled for a synod at his house, compiled the Megillat Ta'anit." According to an account in the "Halakot Gedolot, Hilkot Soferim" (ed. Vienna, p. 104; ed. Zolkiev, p. 82c), the members of this synod were the "Zikne Bet Shammai" and "Zikne Bet Hillel," the eldest pupils of Shammai and Hillel. The Megillat Ta'anit must have been composed, therefore, about the year 7 of the common era, when Judea was made a Roman province to the great indignation of the Jews (comp. Schmilg, l.c. pp. 20-36). This calendar of victories was intended to fan the spark of liberty among the people and to fill them with confidence and courage by reminding them of the victories of the Maccabees and the divine aid vouchsafed to the Jewish nation against the heathen.
This edition has two title pages. The first is brief and is colored in red and green inks. The reverse of this title page has illustrations of a menorah and other Jewish symbols such as the Western Wall, the Ma’arat HaMachpela, etc. and a warning in Hebrew against “Hasagat gevul” in terms of using the material in the book that is “copyrighted”, so to speak. This edition of Megillat Taanit contains two commentaries. The first by the famous Rabbi Jacob Emden (1697-1776) is called Perush Yavetz. Jacob Emden was regarded as one of the outstanding scholars of his generation. He disapproved of the pilpul method of Talmud study. He was interested in secular works (he knew German, Dutch, and Latin), but he was a fiery opponent of the Shabbateans. Except for a brief period of time when he served as the rabbi of Emden, he was never an elected Jewish authority. This gave him the time to write sharp, critical pamphlets about his society. His main historical importance lies in his campaigns against the Shabbateans. He relentlessly examined and investigated every suspicious phenomenon pertaining to the sect. He called upon the contemporary rabbis to publish excommunications and mercilessly attacked anyone suspected of supporting or showing sympathy to the Shabbateans.
The second commentary, by R. Abraham Moses ben Asher ha-Levi of Krakow, is called Perush Mahara Ha-Levi. A third commentary that is added to these two (coined the Hut Ha Meshulash - the third string which makes the others unbreakable) is by Abraham Elijah(Elja) son of R. Yehiel Michel Bornstein (the av beit din of Trestina) and is called Perush Ha-Eshel.
The introduction includes approbations of many Rabbis of Jerusalem, such as R. Hayyim Berlin, R. Yosef Hayyim Sonnenfeld, R. Moshe Nachum Wallenstein, R. Aryeh Lev son of R. Elimelekh Dov Friedman, R. Zvi Pesach Frank and R. Azriel Ha-Levi Landau.
||... עם שני ביאורים... האחד [מאת]... ר' יעקב עמדין זצ"ל נקרא בשם פי' הר"ר יעב"ץ. והשני... פי' (וחי') מהר"א הלוי. והחוט המשולש... אשר חנני החונן לאדם דעת... קראתיו בשם פירוש האשל... אברהם אליהו [בורנשטיין] בן... ר' יחיאל מיכל זצ"ל
אבד"ק טרעסטינא... שנת ו'נ'ח'מ'ד' ה'ע'ץ' ל'ה'ש'כ'י'ל'
שני שערים. הראשון קצר, מצוייר בצבעי אדום-ירוק.
מתוך ההקדמה: "יגעתי ומצאתי... המגלה העתיקה של הר"ר יעב"ץ". הוא ספר סדר עולם רבה וזוטא ומגלת תענית, מוגהים ומבוארים [על ידי ר' יעקב עמדין], Hamburg תקי"ז, "והלכתי אחר נוסחא של דפוס קארץ [תקמ"ה] ודפוס מנטובה [רע"ד]".
"פי' וחי' מהר"א הלוי" על-פי ברלין תצ"ד, בשינויים קלים. הסכמות רבני ירושלים: ר' חיים ברלין, ה משפטים תרס"ח;
ר' יוסף חיים זאננענפעלד, ו לימ"ת [לימי תשובה, תשרי] נ'ע'ל'ם' ג'ל'י'ת'ה' ל'ו' לפ"ק [צ"ל: לפ"ג, תרס"ט];
בית הדין של אשכנזים: ר' משה נחום וואלענשטיין, ר' ארי' ליב בהרא"ד [ר' אלימלך דוב פריימאן] ור' צבי פסח פראנק, ד בהעלותך תרס"ח;
ר' עזריאל הלוי לאנדא, יאבלאנאב, כז מנחם-אב תרס"ח.