Critical editions of the works Ma'aseh Rokeach and Sha'are Shchitah u-Trefot by R. Eleazar of Worms
The two works published here are critical editions of the compositions Ma'aseh Rokeach and "Sha'are Shehitah u-Terefot" by R. Eleazar ben Judah of Worms with two introductions and annotations in Hebrew.
The first composition of R. Eleazar, probably an earlier halakhic work, is to be found in the manuscript anthology called in the colophone: "Sinai" (Jewish Museum Berlin VII..5.26 folios 85d-123c). Another version of the work – which contains much less than the original composition - was printed in Sanik in 1912, based on the edition of R. Efraim Zalman Margaliot, who copied from a manuscript which was burnt in 1791. He entitled it "Ma'aseh Rokeach". The work in the Sinai manuscript is more complete than the printed "Ma'aseh Rokeah", and it has parallels also to the other halakhic works of R. Eleazar, the Sefer ha-Rokeah (first printed in Fano in 1505) and Derashah le-Pesah (edited by Simcha Emanuel and published in 2006). The Ma'aseh Rokeah in the "Sinai" MS has nine parts: Hilkhot Pesach, Hilkhot Hol ha-Mo'ed, Hilkhot Netilat Yadayim, Hilkhot Niddah, Piske Avodah Zarah we-Yayin Nesekh, `Issur va-Hetter, Hilkhot Tzitzit, Hilkhot Shabbat, Hilkhot Trefot. The composition of R. Eleazar in the Sinai MS contains long and short quotations from Halakhot Gedolot, Sefer ha-Ra'avan, Sefer ha-Ra'aviah, Sifre de-be-Rashi, Perush ha-Rashbam le-Avodah Zarah, Sefer ha-Yashar and others. It contains also quotations which parallel the Ma'aseh ha-Geonim and teachings in the name of Isaac ben Judah, the teacher of Rashi, to Hullin. In the rest of the work, which contains the parts written by R. Eleazar (or quoted by his student), there are many references to the teachings or halakhic decisions of his father, R. Judah ben Kalonymos ben Moshe of Mainz, and of other rabbis of the time, from Mainz, Worms and Speyer, as well as to the customs of the Jewish communities in these cities.
The Sinai MS was copied in 1391 by three scribes in gothic script which is difficult to read. The copyist of the part which contains the "Ma'aseh Rokeach" was not a talmid hakham and made numerous scribal errors. The content of the MS was first collected in the second half of the thirteenth century by Abraham ben Baruch, the brother of Maharam of Rothenburg, who gathered in this composition halakhic works of the ba'ale ha-Tosafot – among them the responsa of his brother. His called his anthology "Sinai" because the numerical value of the letters of the word "Sinai" is equal (in truth, less by one) to that of the word "'anavah" (humility, or modesty), a reference to the character of sages whose works are collected in it.
The edition here of Sha'are Shehitah u-Terefot is based on JTS MS Rab. 1923 , folios 46a-69b, which bears the title "Hilkhot Terefot u-Kesherot mi-Sefer ha-Rokeah" and was copied, with glosses completed by the scribe and talmid hakham, Yosef ben Natanel, the grandchild of the sage R. Yosef Kaltzon. This manuscript which is the only complete manuscript of the "Sha'are Terefot" by Eleazar of Worms, contains 25 sections (halakim) and 160 gates (she'arim), and is different from all other manuscripts, which contain only parts of the work, and also because of the additions of the scribe; indeed the version of the composition of R. Eleazar of Worms in this manuscript itself differs from other versions. In my annotations, reference is made to the rabbinical sources and variant readings from the eight other manuscripts which contain parts of the composition of R. Eleazar of Worms. In my introduction, the first part of the work is transcribed from Ms. Cambridge Add. 640 folios 1a-5b, the "Hilkhot Shehitah" from the "Sha'are Shehitah u-Terefot".
Only part of the composition , the "Lamed-waw (36) She'arim shel Terefot ha-Re`ah", was published from Ms. Oxford 696, folios 24b-37a in 1941 in New York by Zeev Bednovitz.
The two compositions, Ma'aseh Rokeah in the Sinai Ms and Sha'are Shehitah u-Terefot in MS JTS, Rab. 1923 were discovered and identified for the first time by Simcha Emanuel, who gave a description of the compositions and the manuscripts together with the other manuscripts which contain the work Sha'are Shehitah u-Terefot, and the early manuscripts which contain quotations of the work Ma'aseh Rokeach in his article published in Te'udah 16-17 (2001), pp. 203-254. My edition makes use of his description.
The edition is available in pdf format in the Giluy Milta site: http://sites.google.com/site/giluymilta/Home, or click here:
Maaseh Rokeach part I
Maaseh Rokeach part II (from Hilkhot Tzitzit onwards)