the Fifth Week of Lent
Zedekiah ben Abraham
The 1901 Jewish Encyclopedia
Author of ritualistic works; younger brother of Benjamin b. Abraham Anaw; lived at Rome in the thirteenth century; received his Talmudic training not only in Rome, but also in Germany, where he was the pupil of R. Jacob of Würzburg, and possibly also of Abigdor Cohen of Vienna. He owes his great reputation not to any original research, but to a compilation on the ritual to which he gave the title "Shibbole ha-Leḳeṭ" (Ears of Gleaning). It is divided into three hundred and seventy-two paragraphs, included in the following twelve sections, treating of the laws, regulations, and ceremonies relating to prayers, Sabbath, benedictions, new moon, feast of dedication, Purim, Passover, semi-holy days, fasts, New-year, Day of Atonement, and Tabernacles. Appended to the work are several treatises and responsa on miscellaneous religious and legal matters, such as circumcision, mourning rites, fringes, slaughtering, inheritance, and interest. As the title indicates, and as the author never fails to point out, the work was culled from many older authorities, such as "Halakot Gedolot," "Pardes," Alfasi, Isaac b. Abba Mari, Zerahiah ha-Levi, Isaiah di Trani, etc. To these extracts from other authorities the work owes its vogue. The preface, written in a pure and vigorous Hebrew, is introduced by a short acrostic.
But Zedekiah did not restrict himself to the mere work of a compiler. He systematized his material skilfully, gave it a concise as well as popular form, and judiciously discriminated between conflicting opinions and decisions, giving preference to those that seemed to him true. For this procedure he apologized modestly in his preface with an anecdote, in substantially the following terms: A philosopher, when asked how he dared to oppose the great men of the past, answered, "We fully acknowledge the greatness of our old authorities and the insignificance of ourselves. But we are in the position of pygmies that ride on the shoulders of giants. Pygmies though we are, we see farther than the giants when we use their knowledge and experience."
Additions to the "Shibbole ha-Leḳeṭ" were made by Zedekiah himself, in a work the title of which is no longer known: these additions also contain a large number of responsa. It is usually cited, however, as "Issur wa-Hetter" (Things Forbidden and Allowed), and has not yet been printed.
A complete edition of the "Shibbole ha-Leḳeṭ" was published by Solomon Buber in 1886 at Wilna. The editor wrote a comprehensive introduction to it, containing an analysis of the work. Abridgments of it were published much earlier: Venice (Daniel Bomberg), 1545; Dubnov, 1793; Salonica, 1795. Furthermore, it was plagiarized and published in a condensed form under the title "Tanya," or "Tanya Rabbati," which went through four editions: Mantua, 1514; Cremona, 1565; Zolkiev, 1800; Szydlikov, 1836. A third abridgment, entitled "Ma'aseh ha-Geonim" (The Work of Old Authorities), circulated in manuscript and is extant in the Bodleian Library, Oxford.
Anaw was in correspondence with Abigdor Cohen, Meir of Rothenburg, and Abraham ben Joseph ofPesaro. Very often he mentions his senior contemporary, Isaiah di Trani (the Elder), to whose Bible commentary Anaw in 1297 wrote glosses.
- Buber's Introduction to Shibbole ha-Leḳeṭ, Wilna, 1886;
- Schorr, in Zion, 1:93 et seq.;
- Vogelstein and Rieger, Gesch. d. Juden in 1:382 et seq.;
- Berliner, Gesch. d. Juden in 2:55;
- Steinschneider, Cat. Bodl. No. 7449;
- Michael, Or ha-Ḥayyim, No. 1169;
- Güdemann, Gesch. des Erziehungswesens d. Juden in Italien, pp. 192, 193.
These files are public domain.
Singer, Isidore, Ph.D, Projector and Managing Editor. Entry for 'Zedekiah ben Abraham'. 1901 The Jewish Encyclopedia. https://www.studylight.org/​encyclopedias/​eng/​tje/​z/zedekiah-ben-abraham.html. 1901.