Zedekiah ben Abraham Anaw

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Zedekiah ben Abraham Anaw (1210 - ca. 1280) was an author of halakhic works and younger brother of Benjamin ben Abraham Anaw. He lived at Rome and received his Talmudic training not only in Rome but also in Germany where he was the pupil of Jacob of Würzburg and possibly also of Abigdor Cohen of Vienna.

Shibbole ha-Leḳeṭ[edit]

He owes his reputation not to any original research but to a compilation on the ritual to which he gave the title Shibbole ha-Leḳeṭ (Ears of Gleaning). It is divided into three hundred and seventy-two paragraphs, included in the following twelve sections, treating of the laws, regulations, and ceremonies relating to prayers, Sabbath, benedictions, new moon, Feast of Dedication, Purim, Passover, semi-holy days, fasts, New-year, Day of Atonement, and Sukkot. Appended to the work are several treatises and responsa on miscellaneous religious and legal matters, such as circumcision, mourning rites, tzitzit, shechita, inheritance, and interest. As the title indicates, and as the author never fails to point out, the work was culled from many older authorities, such as Halakot Gedolot, Pardes, Alfasi, Isaac ben Abba Mari, Zerahiah ha-Levi, Isaiah di Trani, etc. To these extracts from other authorities the work owes its vogue. The preface, written in a pure and vigorous Hebrew, is introduced by a short acrostic.

But Zedekiah did not restrict himself to the mere work of a compiler. He systematized his material skillfully, gave it a concise as well as popular form, and judiciously discriminated between conflicting opinions and decisions, giving preference to those that seemed to him true. For this procedure he apologized modestly in his preface with an anecdote, in substantially the following terms: A philosopher, when asked how he dared to oppose the great men of the past, answered, "We fully acknowledge the greatness of our old authorities and the insignificance of ourselves. But we are in the position of pygmies that ride on the shoulders of giants. Pygmies though we are, we see farther than the giants when we use their knowledge and experience."

Additions to the Shibbole ha-Leḳeṭ were made by Zedekiah himself in a work the title of which is no longer known: these additions also contain a large number of responsa. It is usually cited, however, as Issur wa-Hetter (Things Forbidden and Allowed).

A complete edition of the Shibbole ha-Leḳeṭ was published by Solomon Buber in 1886 at Wilna. The editor wrote a comprehensive introduction to it, containing an analysis of the work. Abridgments were published much earlier: Venice (Daniel Bomberg), 1545; Dubnov, 1793; Salonica, 1795. Further, it was plagiarized and published in a condensed form under the title "Tanya," or "Tanya Rabbati," which went through four editions: Mantua, 1514; Cremona, 1565; Zolkiev, 1800; Szydlikov, 1836. A third abridgment entitled Ma'aseh ha-Geonim (The Work of Old Authorities) circulated in manuscript and is extant in the Bodleian Library, Oxford.

Anaw was in correspondence with Avigdor Cohen, Meir of Rothenburg, and Abraham ben Joseph of Pesaro. Very often he mentions his senior contemporary, Isaiah di Trani (the Elder), to whose Bible commentary Anaw in 1297 wrote glosses.

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