9/16/2008

Adjustments for Eretz Israel in Liturgy, from the Genizah

I
The Common version of certain prayers found in the Jewish Liturgy indicate that they may have originated in the Exile. One example is in Mussaf of Shabbat (Siddur Rambam, Appendix to Sefer Ahahva, Oxford Bodleian Hunt. 80 (Catalogue Neubauer 577), fol. 176a.)
: שתעלינו לארצינו ותטענו בגבולינו ושם נעשה לפניך קרבנות חובותינו
In the context of the complete sentece, "vesham"- is clearly not reffering to Temple specificly, but to "our land" in general, a place in which the composer of this prayer, or the supplicant who prays it, is not found in the present. Even the most revolutionary Zionist Poskim like R. Kasher or R. Goren z"l would not dare tamper with the canonized liturgy, where their Eretz Israeli predecessors did not even raise the issue. Yet it seems reasonable that for one praying in "our land" the term "sham" is not pertainent. It's just a matter of finding an authoritative precedent.
Naturally, the Geniza is the right place to look, having housed the newly exiled Eretz-Israeli Congregation, and practically the only source of remnants the pre-Crusade Eretz-Israeli rite. Unfortunately copies of Musaf for Shabbat are extremely rare in Geniza. There was little need to take down in writing a prayer recited weekly. Mussaf for Shabbat Rosh Hodesh, for example, is easier to find. True to the path of the Genizah scribes, Prof. Fleischer z"l (Tefilah Uminhagei Tefilah Eretz-Israeliim BeTqufat HaGenizah) devoted a whole chapter to Shabbat prayer, but dealt exclusively with the additional Piyut.
One of these rare fragments is Cambridge T-S H5.92, published by R. Simha Assaf (Sefer Dinaberg, 1949. pp 125-126) . Clearly this is an Erez-Israeli version, as the central blessing in the Shaharit Amida reads:
מקדש ישראל ואת יום השבת
As testified in Sefer Hahiluqim 32, this is peculiar to the Erez-Israeli rite, ignoring the Baylonian Talmudic ruling (TB Pesahim 117a) that the sanctity of Sabbath is independent of the Sanctitiy of Israel. The Mussaf here is damaged, but we can make out the following reading :
זכינו י'י אלהינו לבנין ביתך וקבוץ גולתך ושם נקריב לפניך תמידין כהלכתן ומוספין כסדרן
"Vesham" is there, although the context is different than our version. The Temple is the subject before "vesham" so it's pertainent to a supplication from Erez Israel as well. One also should take into account that this Siddur may have been written in the exile, where it was found, and it would be most proper that "vesham" be adopted from the Exilic Siddur.
Cambridge UL Or. 1080.10.14 is also clearly in Erez Israeli rite, as it bears the same indicator as above. Here we find a version much closer to the common one:
יהי רצון מלפניך י'י אלהינו שתעלינו לארצינו ותטעינו בגבולנו ונעשה לפניך את קרבן זובחינו תמידין ומוספין כהלכתן
Notice, no "vesham". The exact same words are found in Mosseri IX 88.2 and JRL G 10.
 Such is also the reading in Siddur of R. Sa'adiah Gaon, (Oxford Bodleian Ms Hunt. 448; Catalogue Neubauer 1096, fol. 85a; publication- Davidson, Assaf, Yoel 1963, p.118). and Siddur Shlomo ben Nathan MiSajelmassa, (Oxford Poc. 262; Cat. 896; ed. Kroizer 1995, p. 35). It seems more logical that this is an exilic prayer tailored for its adaptation in the Erez Israeli Siddur, than to suggest that this is the original version of the prayer and "vesham" was added in the Diaspora version. The theme "sheta'alenu learzenu" indicates that the prayer as a whole is organic to the Exile. An Erez-Israelite composer is more likely to supplicate for the ingathering of his co-religionists from the exile, as found in the abovementioned T-S H5 version.
Worth mentioning; is the "sham" in the blessing after the Passover Haggadah: ונאכל שם מן הזבחים, (R. Akiva in Mishnah Pesahim X 6)) is clearly relating to Jerusalem only, yet is missing in the Eretz Israeli Mishnah (Kaufmann, seen below, and Parma):  לוכל, לאוכל. This version is also recorded in the Mishnah in Alfasi's halakhot Genizah Cambridge T-S G2, 52, and goes as far as Rambam in both Commentary on Mishnah and the very reliable Sutro 117 copy of Mishne Torah (Hametz VIII 5).
II
In the Special, complete, Kadish recited at Siyum or burial (As in Siddur Rambam, ibid fol. 174a; Ramban, Torat Ha-Adam, Ha-evel, Ha-Hathalah)
ולמעקר פולחנא נוכראה מארעא
In the expanded Kadish found in Geniza Budapest DKG 97 p. a-b (published in Mipum Aryivata, 2002, pp. 14-16):
ולמעקר פולחנה נַוכּרִאה מארענא
That is "to uproot idolatry from our land" as opposed to "from the earth" in the common version.
This is more difficult to qualify as an adjustment, as it appears elsewhere, in Mahzor Vitry (par. 279),  and in the Mahzor Ashkenaz ms Paris bn 646, although this European text could also be a vestige of an Erez-Israeli version.
Mahzor Paris BN Heb. 646 fol. 243a

This is apparently not only an alteration for geographic context, but justified both by content and source text. There is no commandment to abolish idolatry outside of "our land" (Sifri on Duet. XII 3) thus the blessing upon seeing a demolished site of idolatry is perscribed in Mishna Berakhot IX 1 (and Tosefta Berakhot VI ) הרואה מקום שנעקרה ממנו עבודה זרה מברך ברוך שעקר עבודה זרה מארצנו
This passage in kaddish is can be traced to the above Blessing, and thus reflects its emphasis on "our land".
III
In the common version of the contracted Grace after meals "me'ain shalosh", wine produced in Eretz Israel is specified: על פרי גפנה, yet no special blessing is specified for grains of Eretz Israel. The 13nth cent pilgrim Ashtorai HaFarhi (Kaftor VaPerah chap. II) suggests such a variant in the complete Grace ועל מזונותיה and in the short version: ועל מחייתה.
although he raises this suggestion from logic- "mistavra", indicating that he knows of no such tradition. In the Geniza fragment London BL Or. 5563 A5 (fol. 9), in a Judea- Arabic version of Halakhot Pesuqot (parallel to, in the Sassoon ms p. 295, in the printed edition p. 192 ) we find precisely this reading at the end of the short blessing- ועל מזונותיה. See also Peat Hashulkhan, Hilkhot Eretz Israel II 14; Responsa Tzitz Eliezer vol. XI no. 12.

See important comments and addtions to this article in the MenachemMendel blog- here.
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7/07/2008

Hebrew Manuscript Findings in the Bindings in Biblioteca Estense Universitaria, Modena

Modena Estense 74b, (original and inverted image) Sifri Bamidbar Pisqa 4,
Ezra Chwat
In the last winter, we received images from Prof. Mauro Perani of the exterior bindings from 383 books found in the Biblioteca Estense Universitaria, Modena, Italy. The Hebrew Manuscript Institute, as well as the field of Rabbinic scholarship in general, owe Mauro a great deal of thanks for his tireless efforts over the past decade, which have yielded one of the most prolific sources of new manuscript material.

The Estense bindings have a few unique features.

• The structure of the bindings is almost uniform. Three manuscript bifolia construct the binding- two covering the external sides of the plates, and one- pasted on top of them, covering the internal side of both plates and the spine, which is covered by a red cloth re-enforcement. In the few cases where large manuscripts were used, two folios are sufficient.

• Most of the bindings are not the original manuscript, rather the inverted imprint of the manuscript on the page. As a result only one side is available of each folio. Nevertheless, the image of the Hebrew manuscripts were imprinted on the folios before they were used for binding, so in most cases, if the interior folio were to be removed, it is likely that three complete bifolia would be visible. In many cases there are both a positive and inverted images of different pages on the same folio.

• In most cases the entire written area of the page is extant, undamaged by the cutting that we are used to seeing, from the stage of reuse as bindings. Unfortunately, as is the nature of imprints, much of the inscription faded and difficult to read. Images of higher resolution would likely to be helpful in enabling more readable text at greater enlargement.

• All but three (or possibly four) of the original Hebrew manuscripts are unique (that is- the sole remnant of this particular copy). This is highly unusual, as we are used to finding circulation of folios from particular manuscripts among many locations in Northern Italy and beyond.

We have been able to record 67 distinct Hebrew manuscripts that contribute to construction of these bindings. This figure is not final, as much of the material is too blurred to read enough to reach a qualified identification. In some these cases, we can only suggest that the imprint is a remnant of one of these manuscripts, basing the suggestion on the general paleographic features visible in remnant. The signature numbers presented here are allotted one per each volume bound, so there are usually between two and six folios per signature.

1-3- Bible, (Esther).

4a- Nathan b. Yehiel of Rome, Arukh (כד-כה).

4b, 53-54, 92, 98, 111, 214, 230, 309, 334, 364, 376- Yeshayah b. Eliyahu of Trani, Pisqey Ria"z, large folios, mostly illegible. The beginning of chap. VII of Shabbat is on no. 99.

8, 51, 63, 86, 88-89, 94, 213, 231- Pentateuch (Gen., Ex.).

9- A Halakhic passage about Passover, that is found both in Rashi's Sefer HaOreh vol. II pars. 21-26, and Simha of Vitry"s Mahzor Vitry 8-12.

11, 16, 17, 26, 27, 34, 41, 49, 55, 61, 65, 66, 78, 82, 102, 109, 113, 114, 116, 138, 163, 203, 211, 213, 215, 217,218, 222, 232, 237, 248, 251, 252, 254, 267, 270, 275, 282, 294, 295, 298, 312, 316, 342, 351, 356, 357, 359, 362- Pentateuch with Onqelos alternating after each verse, Masora Magna.

14, 65, 226, 330, 336, 346, 358, 361- Rashi on Pentateuch.

23, 271, 331, 337- Bible (Psalms, Proverbs).

24- An unidentified treatise on Deeds, mostly illegible. A passage here is identical to a parallel to Moshe of Coucy's SeMaG and Barukh of Worms' HaTerumah.

29, 40, 84, 180, 243, 262, 267, 292- Bible (Ruth Psalms, Job) with Aramaic Translation in the margins. No. 202 may also be from this manuscript. It also includes the first page of Pentateuch, and the last page of prophets from a printed Hebrew Bible.

30- Maimonides, Mishne Torah (Introduction, List of Positive Commandments), a small fragment found inside the spine of the binding.

31-371- Commentary on Piyyut. .

22, 32, 52, 60, 106, 227, 289, 293, 302, 326, 352, 366- Nahmanides, Commentary on Pentateuch (Nu., Deut).

37, 50, 228- Nathan b. Yehiel of Rome, Arukh (ז, כ).

38, 56, 74, 75, 204, 220, 237a, 256, 260, 276-278, 282, 304, 338- David b. Joseph Kimhi, Commentary on Prophets, including fragments from Jer., Ez., Mi., Am., Zech.

44- Moshe of Coucy, SeMaG (Positive Commandments, 123).

69-72, 74, 145-146, 257- Sifri (Bamidbar- D'varim.) Probably the most important finding in this collection, manuscripts of this Midrashic canon are extremely rare, only four complete ones are known . Until now, only one manuscript has been found among the Italian bindings (Perani & Sagradini, Talmudic and Midrashic Fragments, 2004, pp. 150-154, no. M.VI). The Estense manuscript is in square Sephardic hand, probably 12-13nth cent. Approx. 30-34 lines per page. The readable remnants of this mss. include Bamidbar Pisqaot 3-4,16, 26-28, 32-35, 37-38, 42-43, 49-50, 75, 77-78, 111-113, 120, 122, 131, 132, 134. D'varim Pisqaot 48-49, 50-51, 249, 333, 335-336. Bindings of nos. 173-174 may also be from the same manuscript.

75- Commentary on Prayers(?).

76a, 81, 83, 96-97, 108, 117, 141, 148, 155, 177, 186-187, 195, 197b, 199, 213a, 221-222, 311, 315, 332, 365- Abraham Ibn Ezra's Commentary on Pentateuch (Ex. 7,8; Lev. 11, 12, 14, Nu. 4). Bindings 96, 186, and 199 bear headings from the beginning of Parashot.

87, 249, 270, 275, 318 – Selihot.

90, 317, 319, 348- Nathan b. Yehiel of Rome, Arukh (ס-ע). No. 162, a fragment from ר, may also be from this manuscript. Bindings with similar features are also found in Vatican Apostolica 614 item 7; Jerusalem, Krupp collection 4115 items 2,8.

90- Maimonides, Mishne Torah (Book of Mada'- Yesodei HaTorah 4-5; Talmud Torah 1) 101- (Piyyut?).

102, 140, 149, 151, 156, 159, 166, 176, 178, 179, 185, 188, 192, 196, 197a, 223, 225- Perez b. Elyahu of Corbeil, Comments on SeMaQ (Sefer Mitzvot Qatan by Isaac of Corbeil). One of the few legible passages in this manuscript, in bindings 102 and 140, includes the comment on Positive Commandment 193 par. no. 13 on the Blessing of the Lulav; binding 179 on the Halizah ceremony (Pos. 185).

103-105, 107- An Unknown Commentary on Psalms .

112, 299a, 310a- Rashi on Pentateuch (Gen. 26-26; Ex. 31). Includes an extensive addenda at the beginning of Gen. 26.

116- Haftarot (Ki Tisa, from I Kings 19).

122- Yaakov b. Asher, Tur (Orah Hayim 229-230).

123- Onqelos on Lev. 13-14.

124- Index- An enumerated list of items, some are subjects, some are books. The numbers are not in sequence. The Titles include : "הלכות ראש השנה תשב"ץ" by Shimshon b. Zemah; ""הלכות שמחות ממרדכי", Mordecai b. Hillel on Laws of Mourning.

124 external- Pentateuch with Onqelos in parallel columns (Deut. 27).

125, 126, 200, 247, 301- Maimonides, Mishne Torah, Fragments from Books Haflaah, Qedushah, 'Avodah, Mishpatim. Bindings no. 175, 183, and possibly 313 (external) include folios that also appear to be from this manuscript, but are completely illegible.

130- Maimonides, Mishne Torah, Book of Ahavah, (Hilkhot Tefilah 10).

132- Maimonides, Mishne Torah, Book of Ahavah, (Hilkhot Tzitzit 1-2).

147, 168- Maimonides, Mishne Torah, Book of Zmanim, (Hilkhot Hannuka 3-4; Hilkhot Matzah). The latter folio is from the Hagadda for Passover text, an appendix to Hilkhot Matzah, yet the text clearly reflects the European tradition more than Maimonides'.

153- Mahzor. Small fragments from the spine of the binding.

157- An Unknown Halakhic Treatise- Laws of mixtures.

158- Talmud Bavli. Shabbat. Parallel to, in the common printed edition- 138b ll. 4-37.

184- Maimonides, Mishne Torah, Book of Zmanim, (Hilkhot Qiddush HaHodesh 3).

190- Pentateuch (Nu. 4).

205- David b. Joseph Kimhi, Commentary on Prophets (I Samuel 23).

206-209- Fragments from a Torah Scroll.

212- Commentary on Piyyut.

218, 238, 241a, 242, 256b- Commentary on Psalms. Binding 218 appears to be a fragment from an Introduction to Psalms. It's possible that this is a commentary on Piyyut.

219- Commentary on Talmud Bavli 'Eruvin (26-27). Includes articles on the end of chapter 2 and beginning of chapter 3.

240, 256, 268b, 322- Nathan b. Yehiel of Rome, Arukh. Binding 240 includes a fragment of ט; 322 from פז.

241- Yaakov b. Asher, Tur (Orah Hayim 423-425).

246, 266, 268, 291, 293, 360b- Nathan b. Yehiel of Rome, Arukh. Binding 266 includes fragments from מפ and חט; 268 from חב; 291 from א.

255, 261, 263-265, 272, 275b- Commentary on Yom Kippur Liturgy . Bindings 258 and 287 may also be from this manuscript.

268, 374- Isaac b. Aba Mari: Ittur Soferim. Apparently from the same manuscript remnant in Nonantola - Archivio Comunale 63.

269- Piyyut.

270b, 271b- Psalms (137).

273, 335b, 365- Maimonides, Mishne Torah (Introduction, List of Positive Commandments).

274- Pentateuch with Onqelos in parallel columns (Ex. 39). Other remnants of this manuscript, two bifolia from Genesis, have survived in Modena - Archivio di Stato 155, and Nonantola (7 kms. from NE of Modena) Archivio Comunale 91, listed in Perani, Frammenti di manoscritti e libri ebraici a Noanantola, 1992 p. 94 no. B.XLVII

279-281- Moses of Coucy, SeMaG (Negative Commandments). The front binding of 280 includes commandments 215 , the rear binding is from 236-237. On binding 281 are commandments 208 and 199. Binding 384 may also be from this manuscript.

284-286- Talmud Bavli (Moed). The front binding of 284 contains Besa 11b-12a, the rear is from 14b. 285 is illegible, but likely to be from this same manuscript. 286 is from Pesahim 78a-b and the rear binding there, ibid. 93b-94a. Similar paleographic features are found in the Talmud fragments in Vatican Rossiani 1169/2 (Perani & Sagradini, Talmudic and Midrashic Fragments, 2004, p. 108 no. T. CXXXVI, facsimile ibid. p. 314), including the end of Tractate Megilla and the beginning of Ta'anit.

296, 297 (internal), 303- A Numerated List of Biblical Laws. The numbers are low so the numeration is likely to have been subdivided. Includes laws that are not in the common lists of Biblical Commandments, such as: שלמים מן הדקה. 305- Maimonides, Mishne Torah, Book of Ahavah, (Tefillin 2) or possibly Moses of Coucy, SeMaG (Positive Commandment 22), only a small area is legible. It contains a text that is common to both of these sources. 325, 329 335 340, 353- Commentary on Liturgy. Binding 325 has incipits from the Daily Prayers.

341- Pentateuch with Onqelos alternating after each verse (Ex. 29-30). Vocalization, including the Targum verses.

347- Onqelos (Deut. 10).

349-350- Maimonides, Mishne Torah, Book of Shofetim, ( Edut 7-8, 11 ; Milakhim 3-6).

367- Index. Only the red ink Incipits are extant, these are sequential numbers (128-140), as is common among manuscripts of collected Responsa. A small fragment in Sephardic semi-cursive hand is also imprinted here, possibly from a different manuscript. This is likely to be from a Rabbinic treatise, as פסח שני is mentioned. 375- Maimonides, Mishne Torah, Book of Q'dusshah, (Shehita 7; 13-14).

377- Maimonides, Mishne Torah, Books of Ahavah, Zmanim. The first folio contains Hilkhot Berakhot end of chap. 9- beginning of chap. 10. The second folio contains the standard liturgy text from the Evening prayer of Sabbath Eve, presumably from the Liturgy texts that are the appendix to the book of Ahava, as it is followed by the excipit of the Book of Ahava, although no known version of this appendix ends here. Immediately following is the Title of the Book of Zmanim, including the Title of the list of Commandments of Hilkhot Shabbat).

379- Medical Treatise.

380-383- Yaakov b. Asher, Tur. Of the few legible passages, Even HaEzer 141 can be identified on 383a.

Update: 4.10- Prof. Mauro Perani has published an extensive survey of the Estense bindings, with many important historic and bibliographic details on the process of reuse of the Hebrew manuscripts, including a table of the 385 printed books in which these Hebrew manuscripts served as binders. 'Genizat Germania' (ed. Andreas Lehnardt), Studies in Jewish History and Culture 28, Brill, 2010, pp. 217-275.

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3/05/2008

Dr. Binyamin Richler: Mahral on Tur in Oxford Opp. 262

At the end of the volume of Even ha-Ezer in the El ha-Mekorot edition of the Tur Jerusalem 1958) , Rabbi S.B. Werner published חידושי מהר"ל מפראג novellae by Rabbi Judah Loewe b. Bezalel of Prague (Maharal). In the introduction Rabbi Werner wrote that he was editing the text from a manuscript in Cambridge[!] and he copied the scribe’s colophon dated 5355=1595. In fact, the colophon belongs to MS Oxford, Bodleian Library Opp. 254 (Catalogue Neubauer 752), a copy of glosses on the Tur Yoreh Deah by a grandson of the Maharal, probably either Naftali b. Isaac ha-Kohen Katz or his brother Hayyim, that incorporates most of Maharal’s novellae that were later printed in Sulzbach 1775. The text published by Rabbi Werner was not copied from that MS but from MS Oxford, Opp. 262 (Catalogue Neubauer 753). However, for some reason, Werner omitted all of the novellae on sections 1-27 and many of those on section 28. One can only surmise that he had not examined the original manuscript but consulted only an incomplete set of photocopies.

The novellae on Even ha-Ezer are preceded by novellae on Tur, Yoreh Deah, headed ביאורים נחמדי' ונמוקי' ממו' הגאון המופלג מוהררי"ל. Another contemporary hand confirmed the identity of the author adding in Hebrew מהר"ל פראג, indicating that the author was in fact the Maharal of Prague. The text breaks off after section 174. These novellae are not found in the other manuscripts or in the editions. In the novellae on Tur, Yoreh Deah by Maharal’s grandson in MS Oxford Opp. 752 in which most of the printed novellae of Maharal are quoted verbatim, none of the passages from this copy are quoted. This suggests that Maharal reviewed Yoreh Deah and added additional glosses and notes after MS Opp. 752 was written in 1595. Support for this theory may be found in the novellae on Even ha-‘Ezer copied in this manuscript in which the responsa of R. Joseph Karo, first printed in 1598, are quoted. This proves that Maharal continued to add glosses to the Tur long after he completed the printed novellae.

Due to his confusing the two manuscripts, Rabbi Werner was led to make additional mistakes and had to struggle to reconcile inconsistencies that he invented. He wrote that the novellae on Yoreh Deah copied in the MS agree with the editions, when, in fact, they are different. He has to resort to dubious pilpul to reconcile the fact that the manuscript. ostensibly written in 1595, quotes the responsa of the Beit Yosef published in 1598 and that the scribe added a note referring to the Bayyit Hadash by R. Joel Sirkis, first printed in 1638.

Rabbi Werner edited the novellae by Maharal before the Institute of Microfilmed Hebrew Manuscripts acquired copies of the Oxford manuscripts. Had he been able to consult microfilms of the manuscripts we can be certain that he would have avoided committing these embarrassing mistakes.

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2/25/2008

Ezra Chwat: Rambam's Deliberate Effort to Round Out Mishneh Torah to 1,000 Chapters


A few points I would like to add to Menahem Kahane's excellent article 'The Arrangement of the Orders of the Mishnah', just published in Tarbiz LXXVI pp. 29-40, on the numerological structure of the Mishnah. His point is well taken, that a deliberate effort was made to construct the Mishnah with esthetic or numerological significance.
As would be expected, this has been alluded to in Zohar, Ra'ya Mehimna towards the end of Mishpatim 115a.
In note 44, Kahane raises the issue of the esthetically perfect figure of 1,000 chapters in Mishneh Torah, as part of the Rambam's explicit intention to create an opus that duplicates the historic impact of the Mishnah (and replace it). Menahem Avidah (Sura II, 1955 267-275) was the first to relate to this feat, but omitted the issue of whether this perfect figure was deliberate or not (although stating emphatically that the Divine name formed by the first four words must have been intended). Since, presumably, we cannot read the intentions of the author beyond his explicit statements in the Introduction, this question was apparently not relevant.
Yet in Kahane's statement it must be assumed that round figure of a thousand chapters was not the product of the Rambam's Ruach HaKodesh, (which he never claimed to have), rather a result of an effort to convey an esthetic value (which we didn't know he had).
The Genizah has provided us with numerous pages of autograph draft of Mishneh Torah. The complete collection, with bibliographic details have been assembled by R. SZ Havlin in the appendix to Machon Ofeq's Code of Maimonides, the Authorized Version, 1997 pp. 376-407. All but one of these fragments are from the volume Mishpatim.
In the page Oxford Bodley Heb. D. 32 fol. 48b we are first hand witness to the change in chapter numbers from the draft of Hilkhot Skhirut to the published edition in which the number at the heading was originally 8, has been crossed through and changed to 11. Subsequently on fols. 51-53 of the same quire we find a chapter numbered "9", whose content appears in the published edition as two chapters- 12 and 13. The Great Eagle has clearly rearranged the chapter divisions (somewhere between Skhirut 1 and 11) to create smaller but more numerous chapters. This is no easy task because, true to the rules presented in the introduction, he cannot simply split a chapter in two. Similar to the Mishnah, chapter length in Mishneh Torah is clearly and deliberately uniform, enabling for study and retention in regulated, equal daily units.
Apparently we are witnessing an attempt to create more chapters in order to reach the esthetic (or numerologicaly significant) round figure of 1,000. If so, it's not difficult to imagine why the adjustments would be made in Mishpatim, the second to last volume. Rambam never mentions, in the Introduction or elsewhere, this truly outstanding sign of perfection. (Avidah figures that the Rambam was well aware of the thousand chapters but did not flaunt it out of humility). It's likely that the Rambam did not set out for this goal when he set the blueprint for the Code, or when he projected the scheme of the opus in the Introduction.
But as he reached the end, and the sketches of Mishpatim and Shoftim was already in the draft form, it became clear that to reach the round figure of 1,000 would require only a few alterations. This scenario would have to assume that the volumes of the Yad were composed in an order identical, or close to, the final order of the 14 volumes, leaving Mishpatim near the end.
This finding can shed more light on what we already knew about the critera for chapter division in MT. Here Rambam is clearly duplicating the critera of the Mishnah, in which the primary factor is length, whereas subject is at best a secondary element. In Mishnah, a cursory glance at Eliahu Dordack's subject index tables in the appendix to Mishnah Sdurah, should be sufficient evidence. So too in MT, subjects often cross the boundaries of chapter divisions. In this Rambam differs from the Gaonic monographs where the Qasem or Fasal reflect only the subject matter, allowing one subject per chapter, and one chapter per subject, regardless of length or any other element. This throwback to the literary structure of the Mishanah must have made it possible for the author to rearrange chapter divisions for no better reason than the esthetic 1,000 chapters.
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