Page 89 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 43

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pupil Georges de Selve, bishop of Lavaur, who then served as
French ambassador to Venice, was completed in 1536. Levita says
in the dedication that he had worked on a large part of the manu­
script in Rome but that most of it was destroyed in the sack of
Rome in 1527, whereupon he fled to Venice, taking with him
only a few salvaged pages. De Selve not only sustained Levita
throughout the years during which he worked on the concord­
ance “by day and by night” but evidently intended to have it
printed in Paris. But nothing came of these plans, and the second
edition also remains in manuscript form in the Bibliotheque
Nationale. Only the dedication, introduction and the first few
pages were edited and published in 1875.31
While Levita was still working on the second edition of his
concordance, another one was being compiled in Cracow and
published in 1534 under the title
Mirkevet hamishneh
.32 It has not
been possible to establish the authorship: the colophon of the
first edition names a certain Shemuel ben Hayim Helits (or
Halicz?) who may have been the printer, and a second edition,
also published in Cracow in 1584, had the title
Sefer shel R. Anshel
(The book of Rabbi Anshel) but no person by that name has been
identified. The introduction states that this concordance, too,
was primarily intended to be an aid to Jews in theological disputa­
tions. Whether the compiler had any knowledge of Levita’s first
bilingual concordance is not known, but it fell far short of it, list­
ing only a selection of nouns and verbs, each with a translation
into Yiddish and followed by a citation of only one representative
verse. The work is remarkable only because it happens to be the
first printed item in Yiddish of which a copy has survived.
For more than 300 years after Levita and the unknown author of
Mirkevet hamishneh
no other Jewish scholar undertook the compila­
tion of a concordance, except for an abridgment of
Me’ir nativ
jtmspM re JTUTDT .irrVx
28 p. The title page has a note in
Hebrew: “Published from the manuscript in the library of Paris by me, Dov
Goldberg. First fascicle.” No more was published, however.
,Kj?tnp . ..ruun an r o a m .
The title means literally “The second chariot,”
referring to a verse in Gen. 41:43. A metaphorical meaning is, however, im­
plied: the word mam [merkavah] is also used to signify the revelation of Eze­
kiel (Ezek. 1) and his vision of four wheels; natPO [mishneh] means both “sec­
ond” and “double,” hence, “the double revelation,” alluding to the fact that the
book reveals the words of the Bible in two languages. The second edition has
the title
[1584] r r t o :xpxnp> . . . rp ym ip J ip * ? m u /ra n n n a m K im VnwN m
i q d .
33 ...KrttKTnpnp *opan ...
» “isorr ny>p Kim uniu/ .’as p pnr.