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Bidding Information
Lot #    9161
Auction End Date    1/11/2005 4:01:00 PM (mm/dd/yyyy)
Title Information
Title (English)    Seder Targum shel Pesah, Italian Rite
Title (Hebrew)    סדר תרגום של פסח
Author    [Ms. - Liturgy] Menahem Menashe Levi, Scribe
City    Florence
Publication Date    1853
Collection Information
Independent Item    This listing is an independent item not part of any collection
Description Information
   [10] ff., 193:130 mm., light age staining, ink on heavy paper, neath block letters with cantillation symbols, signed and dated, bound in contemporary boards, rubbed.
   Targum Onkelos of the Passover Haphtorot following the Italian rite. The history of Onkelos offers an insight as to why the Targum Onkelos was regarded as so authoritative that the weekly Torah portion is enjoined to be read "twice in the original and once in the Targum" (Ber. 8a).

Onkelos was a native of Pontus and a relative of the emperor Hadrian, who in about 128 appointed him to an office connected with the rebuilding of Jerusalem as Aelia Capitolina. The Midrash (Tanh. 41a, Mishpatim 3) also refers to him as the son of the sister of Hadrian, although the Babylonian Talmud refers to him as "Onkelos the son of Kalonikus [v. Kalonymus] the son of the sister of Titus." He became converted to Judaism, but before doing so he raised the spirits of Titus who confirmed that the people of Israel are held in the highest repute in the world to come (Git. 56b, 57a). According to the Tanhuma, when he formed the intention of converting to Judaism, fearing the anger and opposition of Hadrian, he informed him that he wished to travel (to Erez Israel) on business, and Hadrian offered him all the money he needed to remain in Rome. In any case he must have been a person of wealth, and this lends point to the comment of the Midrash (Gen. R. 70:5), to the effect that he asked R. Eliezer b. Hyrcanus whether there was no greater reward for the proselyte than that stated in the Bible, that G-d "loveth the stranger [ger, in mishnaic Hebrew a proselyte] in giving him food and raiment" (Deut. 10:18), pointing out that he was short of neither of these things. R. Eliezer's brusque reply might have discouraged him, but he went to R. Joshua with the same question and R. Joshua replied that it refers to spiritual benefits. His conversion met with the vigorous opposition of the emperor. According to the Tanhuma he "smote him on the cheek"; according to the Talmud (Av. Zar. 11a) he sent four successive contingents of soldiers to arrest him but he succeeded in converting them all to Judaism. Onkelos was a contemporary of Rabban Gamaliel of Jabneh, and a colleague and pupil of R. Eliezer b. Hyrcanus and R. Joshua b. Hananiah (cf., above). His relationship with Rabban Gamaliel was a close one, and when Rabban Gamaliel died Onkelos arranged a costly funeral for him, such as was usually reserved for royalty (Tosef., Shab. 7 (8):18; Av. Zar. 11a). He conducted himself with the utmost piety and was particularly meticulous in adhering to the laws of ritual purity, surpassing in this respect even Rabban Gamaliel, applying to ordinary food the rules enjoined for partaking of sacrifices (Tosef., Hag. 3:2 and 3). On one occasion he refused to bathe in the ritual baths of Ashkelon (since he regarded it as heathen territory) and made his ablutions in the sea, while Rabban Gamaliel (according to one opinion) was not so particular (Tosef., Mik. 6:3). There is one talmudic statement attributed to him (BB 99a) that the faces of the cherubim were turned sideways "as a pupil taking leave of his master."

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Listing Classification
19th Century:    Checked
Italy:    Checked
Bible:    Checked
Liturgy:    Checked
Language:    Hebrew
Manuscript Type
Other:    Prayerbook
Kind of Judaica