Page 178 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 46

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JEWISH BOOK ANNUAL
o f Johanan Hyrcanus’ rule. A short time thereafter the entire
library went up in flames and the manuscript was irretrievably
lost. Schiirer doubts the account, since it is improbable that such
a manuscript was preserved until the sixteenth century. He be­
lieves that it was a manuscript o f Josephus’ history in which
Sixtus Senatus read the chapter on Johanan Hyrcanus.
SEFER YUHASIN—BARA IT A OR M IDRASH TO CHRONICLES
“Rami the son o f Rabbi Judah said: Since the day that the
Sefer
Yuhasin
[Book o f Genealogies] was hidden, the strength o f the
Sages has been impaired and the light o f their eyes has been
dimmed.” (Pesahim 62b)
Rashi explains the term “hidden” to mean forgotten. Rav
Amram Gaon states that the book was known as
Sefer Yuhasin
because it presented data on each family, its chiefs, leaders and
heads. It recorded any impurities o f descent so that marriages
could be entered into with worthy families. When it was hidden
away, the strength o f the Sages was impaired and the light o f
their eyes was dimmed since they did not know which families
to link up with. They were apprehensive regarding the state­
ment o f the Sages, “ He who takes a wife who is not fitting for
him, the Writ stigmatizes him as though he had ploughed the
entire world and sown it with salt.”
(Kiddushin
70a)
GENEALOGICAL SCROLLS
This is a special genre o f our literature which is found in
the Bible beginning with the table o f nations in Genesis down
to the genealogical chapters in I Chronicles 1-9. This literature
developed especially during Second Temple days. With the
destruction o f Jerusalem and the burning o f the archives and
the Temple it was lost to us. We have only two fragmentary
references to it:
“R. Simeon ben Azzai said: I found a family register in Jer­
usalem and in it was written, ‘Such-a-one is a bastard through
[a transgression o f the law of] thy neighbor’s wife.’” (Mishnah
Yebamot
4:13)
2. “R Levi said: A genealogical scroll was found in Jerusalem,