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Bidding Information
Lot #    26834
Auction End Date    6/15/2010 10:40:00 AM (mm/dd/yyyy)
Title Information
Title (English)    Pesikta de-Rav Kahana [Pesikta Rabbati]
Title (Hebrew)    מדרש פסיקתא רבתי דרב כהנא [פסיקתא רבתי]
City    Shklov
Publisher    דפוס ברוך בן אליהו ויצחק בן שמואל
Publication Date    1806
Collection Information
Independent Item    This listing is an independent item not part of any collection
Description Information
   [1], 64 ff., 205:165 mm., wide margins, blue paper, light age and damp staining, corners rounded, minor worming, old hands. A good copy bound in contemporary boards, rubbed.
   This work is not Pesikta de-Rav Kahana but rather Pesikta Rabbati, a medieval Midrash on the festivals of the year. It has been printed several times. The word pesikta means "section," and this Midrash consists of a series of separate sections, on the Pentateuchal and prophetic lessons of festivals, unlike most other Midreshei Aggadah (e.g., some of the Rabbot) which are continuous commentaries to the Bible. It is called Rabbati ("the greater") probably in contrast to the earlier Pesikta (de-Rav Kahana).

The Pesikta Rabbati consists of some 47 sections, but considerably more homilies, as some sections consist of (parts of) several homilies (e.g., section 10). Seven or eight sections deal with Ḥanukkah (2–8 or 9); sections 10–15 (or 16) with the Sabbaths preceding Passover; 17–18 with Passover itself; 20–24 are a Midrash on the Ten Commandments (Shavuot ); 26–37 deal with the Sabbaths of mourning and comforting and the Ninth of Av; while 38–48, bearing the superscription "Midrash Harninu," deal with Rosh Ha-Shanah and the Day of Atonement. Thus this Midrash spans the year from the Day of Atonement, omitting only Sukkot. Probably, in its original form, the Midrash covered the full year, but now the end has been lost.

It has five entire sections in common with the earlier Pesikta (15–18 and 33, and also part of 14), but otherwise is totally different both in style and structure. Thus, while the Pesikta de-Rav Kahana has no halakhic passages, no fewer than 28 homilies of the Pesikta Rabbati have halakhic exordia, many (1–14, 39–45, 47) beginning with the formula *"Yelammedenu" "Rabbenu," followed by proems beginning "Kakh patah R. Tanḥuma." This demonstrates clearly the Pesikta Rabbati's relationship to the Tanḥuma-Yelammedenu literature.

So far it has been discovered that two major sources are represented in the Pesikta Rabbati: (1) the Pesikta de-Rav Kahana, and (2) the Tanḥuma-Yelammedenu. Sections 20–24, which Ha-Meiri calls Midrash Mattan Torah ("the Midrash on the giving of the Torah"), differ in style and structure from the rest of this work, and seem to form one unit. The proem in section 20 is strikingly individual in both its style and content. This work emerges, then, as a composite one, a compilation whose main body of source material is from the Tanḥuma-Yelammedenu.

In the first homily, one of the Yelammedenu sections, 845 is indicated as the date of the composition of the work. (The other date there – 1219 – is clearly the gloss of a later reader or copyist, perhaps *Eleazar of Worms, who made much use of this Midrash.) However, since this work is considered a composite one, possibly reflecting several periods of editing, this date is evidence only for the composition of the Tanḥuma-Yelammedenu stratum. The source material is all Palestinian, and though the precise date and place of compilation have not yet been fixed with certainty, modern scholarly opinion tends to view the Pesikta Rabbati as a Palestinian work of the sixth or seventh century.

The disciples of R. Elijah b. Solomon, the Gaon of Vilna, were influential in Shklov. Between 1783 and 1835 several printing presses operated in Shklov, and about 200 books were published.

Paragraph 2    ... לא הובא ביתה הדפוס זולתי פ"א [פעם אחת] זה קרוב לשלש מאות שנה[!]... הובא עתה פ"ש [פעם שנייה] לבית הדפוס. ואלה מוסיף על הראשונים... פי' על כל מלות זרות... מלוקט מס' הערוך [לר' נתן ב"ר יחיאל] ומתורגמן [לר' אליהו ב"ר אשר הלוי אשכנזי] ויודפס בסוף הספר ע"פ א"ב...

אין זה "פסיקתא דרב כהנא" אלא "פסיקתא רבתי". עיין בהוצאה הראשונה, פראג [תי"ד]. דף סד: "פירוש על איזה מלות"; "ברייתא דר"י (דרבי ישמעאל), [נדפס ב]התחלת הסיפרא... בביאור הי"ג מדות". חלק מ"פירוש מלות" נדפס בפנים. המדפיסים הוסיפו סימני פרשיות, שלא במקומם הנכון, וספירתם משובשת ביותר. בדף ח,ב נשמט קטע של עשר שורות, המשכו וסופו של הדיבור המתחיל: דבר אחר ותשלם כל המלאכה. ראינו טופס שבשערו ומעבר לשער חלו שינויים טיפוגראפיים בסדר-האותיות. הקטע "תחת ממשלת אדונינו... ירום הודו" נדפס בטופס אחד באותיות רש"י ובטופס שני באותיות מרובעות; בטופס אחד מעבר לשער: "נאום יעקב בהרב המאור הגדול מוהרר", ובשני: "יעקב בהרב המאה"ג מו'". עי' גם: א' יערי, הדפוס העברי בשקלאוו, קרית ספר, כב, תש"ה-תש"ו, עמ' 144. ראינו גם טופס שלישי (באוסף פרטי) ובו שער שונה לגמרי, בהדפסה אחרת. השינויים הבולטים: בניגוד לשני השערים הקודמים, בשער זה אין מסגרת; נשמטו שמותיהם של המדפיסים; שם הספר, מקום הדפוס והתאריך באותיות קטנות יותר מבשערים הקודמים.

   W.S. Braude, Pesikta Rabbati (1968), translation and introduction; EJ; JE; CD-EPI 0158664
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Listing Classification
19th Century:    Checked
Russia-Poland:    Checked
Other:    Midrash
Blue Paper:    Checked
Language:    Hebrew
Manuscript Type
Kind of Judaica