Page 81 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 46

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RICHLER/HEBREW MANUSCRIPT COLLECTIONS
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tional L ib ra ry in J e ru sa lem ) , an d th e L eyden Un iversity L ib ra ry
w ith its u n iq u e MS o f th e T a lm u d Y erushalm i.
S ign ifican t collections o f H eb rew m anu sc r ip ts a re fo u n d in
m any o th e r lib raries in W es te rn E u rop e . M en tion may be m ade
o f th e Royal L ib ra ry in C o p en h ag en , which houses th e David
S imonsen collection, th e Royal L ib ra ry in S tockholm an d the
Un iversity lib ra ry in U ppsa la , Sweden. In Sw itzerland th e re a re
collections in Zurich , Basel, B e rn an d Geneva, in c lud ing mostly
post-m ed ieval books.
T h o u s a n d s o f H eb rew MSS a re fo u n d in E as te rn E u ro p e an
libraries, b u t only a p o r t io n o f them a re available fo r use by
scholars. T h e K au fm ann collection in th e A cademy lib ra ry in
B ud ap e s t has 650 MSS an d a sim ilar n um b e r o f Gen izah f ra g ­
men ts. Most fam ous is th e o ldest M ishnah codex in ex istence
a n d the illum ina ted H agg ado t an d M ishneh T o ra h . T h e library ,
which is pa rticu la rly rich in 17 th -cen tu ry Ita lian ha lakh ic MSS,
was m icro fiched an d copies o f th e m icrofiches exist in many
lib raries in the U n ited States, Israe l an d elsewhere . In Warsaw
a collection o f over 1,000 MSS, few o f th em medieval, was com ­
p iled from the books con fiscated by th e Nazis an d fo u n d in
various s to rehou ses a f te r th e War. T h e MSS w ere hou sed in
the Jew ish H istorical In s t i tu te an d m icrofilm s were sen t to Is­
rael. L arge collections exist in P rague an d in East G erm any ,
notably in Leipzig an d Rostock, b u t few o f these MSS a re avail­
able on m icrofilm in th e West.
IN SOV IET RUSSIA
T h e la rgest collections o f MSS in th e East a re fo u n d in the
Soviet Un ion . T h e r e a re p robab ly ove r 2 ,000 H eb rew MSS an d
several th o u san d choice Gen izah f ragm en ts in th e F irkovitch
collection in L en ing rad , ove r 1,100 MSS in the O r ien ta l In s titu te
(fo rm e rly the Asiatic Museum ) in L en in g rad an d close to 2,000
in the G u en zb u rg collection in Moscow. All th e adjectives we
have used to describe the collections we have en um e ra te d app ly
to the Russian collections: im p o r tan t , rich , ra re , un ique , etc.
T o these we can only add “tan ta liz ing ,” because we do no t know
exactly what tre a su re s exist in these libraries. No com p le te o r
au tho r ita tiv e catalog o f the MSS has been pub lished and the
b r ie f hand lists which a re available supp ly m erely the b a re s t in ­
fo rm a tion a n d only whet o u r appe tite . Only a small frac tion