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Bidding Information
Lot #    34112
Auction End Date    4/24/2012 12:43:30 PM (mm/dd/yyyy)
Title Information
Title (English)    Song of Songs, Ruth, Ecclesiastes
Title (Hebrew)    שיר השירים, רות, קהלת
Author    [Ms. - Bible - Liturgy]
City    [Yemen]
Publication Date    mid 19th c
Collection Information
Independent Item    This listing is an independent item not part of any collection
Description Information
   [34] ff., 230:158 mm., light age and use staining, corners rounded, ink on heavy paper, Bible text in neat square block letters, Targum with pointed letters in column on inner margin, Rashi in neat Yemenite rabbinic script letters on the lower part of each page, bound in recent boards.
   The tree holiday scrolls with points and cantillation symbols, Targum with"Nikud Elyon" (cantillation symbols and points on top of the letters), and Rashi commentaries. Nikud Elyon can be traced to the Babylonian Geonim.

Song of Songs is read in the Sephardi ritual before the Minhah service on the afternoon of the seventh day of Passover (eighth day outside Israel). In certain communities, the Song of Songs is also read after concluding the Passover Haggadah on seder night. The association of the Song of Songs with Passover is thought to be due to the traditional rabbinic exegesis which interprets the Song as an allegory of the love between G-d and Israel; Passover is the springtime of this love (Song 2:11–13) and the "honeymoon" of G-d and Israel (Jer. 2:2). In many congregations the Song of Songs is also read on Friday evenings before the Kabbalat Shabbat service, at which the "bride," the Sabbath, is welcomed.

Ruth, one of the five scrolls incorporated in the Ketuvim (Hagiographa) section of the Bible. In the synagogue it is customary to read the Book of Ruth on Shavuot. Among the reasons given are that the events recorded in Ruth took place at harvest time (Ruth 2:23); that Ruth was the ancestor of David (Ruth 4:17) who, traditionally, died on Shavuot; that Ruth's "conversion" to Judaism is appropriate reading for the festival which commemorates the giving of the Torah; and that Ruth's loyalty is symbolic of Israel's loyalty to the Torah.

Ecclesiastes is read in the synagogue on the intermediate Sabbath of Sukkot or, when there is no intermediate Sabbath, on Shemini Azeret. In some Oriental rites, it is read in the sukkah. Ecclesiastes (11:2) has been interpreted by some commentators as an allusion to the duty to rejoice during the eight days of Sukkot (cf. Deut. 16:15). The warning (Eccles. 5:3–4) not to defer the fulfillment of vows (including donations to the poor and to the sanctuary) was also thought to be particularly appropriate at the last festival of the annual cycle. Others have suggested that the somber and pessimistic outlook of Ecclesiastes fits the atmosphere of autumn.

For hundreds of years the Yemenite Jewish communities followed their traditional ways of secular and religious life, not being influenced by external trends and currents. Some customs in the Yemenite prayer rites go back to the prayer book of R. Saadiah Ga'on. From the 16th century on the Kabbalah and especially later its Lurianic school and system found its way to Yemen and influenced Jewish literary production in the areas of commentaries to the Bible, prayers, and liturgical poetry. All of this rich history is reflected in this work.

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Listing Classification
19th Century:    Checked
Other:    Yemen
Bible:    Checked
Liturgy:    Checked
Language:    Hebrew
Manuscript Type
Other:    Book
Kind of Judaica