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Bidding Information
Lot #    5516
Auction End Date    9/16/2003 11:42:00 AM (mm/dd/yyyy)
Title Information
Title (English)    Midrash Ha'Gadol Part I
Title (Hebrew)    -
Author    [Ms.] R. David b. Amram Adani
City    [Yemen]
Publisher    17-19th cent.
Collection Information
Independent Item    This listing is an independent item not part of any collection
Description Information
   (31), [28], (1), [61], (2), [57], (1), [1], (11) ff., 290:210 mm., age stained, corners rounded occasionally affecting text. Page count in prentices ( ) are in 19th century hand completing the pages lacking in the original 17th century hand. Beautiful Yemenite block letters in two columns, bound in modern half leather boards.
   Consisting mainly of excerpts of older rabbinic texts of the talmudic period. The Midrash is anonymous, but it is now certain that it was written by a native of Aden, R. David b. Amram Adani. Adani writes in clear, limpid Hebrew prose, introducing each weekly portion with a proem in rhymed verse. His work is of importance not only because of the author's original contributions to the literature of halakhah and aggadah, but also because of the multitude of extracts which he incorporates from ancient tannaitic Midrashim either unknown, or only partially known, from other sources. Thus, for instance, the Midrash ha-Gadol has enabled scholars to reconstruct large portions of the lost Mekhilta of R. Simeon b. Yohai, the Sifrei Zuta, and the Mekhilta of R. Ishmael on Deuteronomy. In addition, the Midrash ha-Gadol is valuable for the accuracy of its quotations from known sources, such as the Talmud and the Midrashim. Its readings have made it possible to correct the texts of older works which have survived in garbled form. The Midrash ha-Gadol is also notable for its contribution to the study of the code of Maimonides, as it preserves many sources available to Maimonides but otherwise unknown. Not only does Adani frequently quote the code on which the Yemenites largely, if not exclusively, base their religious rulings, but his work enables students to reconstruct the older authorities on whom Maimonides had based his rulings. As a result, many difficulties which had puzzled students of Maimonides over the generations have been solved. The Midrash ha-Gadol first came to the notice of European scholars in the 19th century. The text was brought to Europe in manuscript in 1878 and sold to the Royal Library in Berlin by M. W. Shapira, whose name is associated with the alleged forgery known as the Shapira fragments. Since then, other manuscripts have been acquired by the major libraries in the western world. There exist two Yemenite commentaries on the Midrash, one entitled Segullat Yisrael ("The Treasure of Israel"), dated 5440 (i.e., 1680) by R. Israel b. Solomon ha-Kohen, containing only a few interpretations and these of only slight value, and the other (anon.), the Sefer ha-Margalit ("Book of the Pearl"), containing explanations in Hebrew and Arabic of difficult words. The Midrash ha-Gadol is still a standard work of rabbinic homily for the Yemenite community and circulates widely in manuscript.

R. David b. Amram Adani (13th or 14th century), Yemenite rabbi and scholar. An ancient source calls him David b. Amram, the nagid from the city of Aden." It is not clear whether the title referred to David or his father. Nagid, however, was a title borne by the leader of the Jewish community of Aden from the 12th century. Adani was a renowned scribe whose copies of the Pentateuch were much sought after because of their exactness.

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Listing Classification
17th Century:    Checked
18th Century:    Checked
Other:    Yemen
Other:    Midresh
Language:    Hebrew
Manuscript Type
Other:    Book
Kind of Judaica