Kol Bo (Hebrew: כל-בו) is a collection of Jewish ritual and civil laws. The meaning of the title is all is in it. Its author has not yet been ascertained. The work in content resembles other codes, as, for instance, the Orḥot Ḥayyim, though in its form it is very different.
Its contents and peculiarities
The Kol Bo does not pretend to any order; the laws that were later arranged in Oraḥ Ḥayyim are found together with those that were later arranged in Yoreh De'ah and Eben ha-'Ezer. Likewise, many laws are entirely missing in the Kol Bo. It is peculiar also in that some of the laws are briefly stated, while others are stated at great length, without division into paragraphs.
After the regular code, terminating with the laws of mourning (No. 115), there comes a miscellaneous collection, containing the "taḳḳanot" of R. Gershom and of Jacob Tam, the Ma'aseh Torah of Judah ha-Nasi I, the legend of Solomon's throne, the legend of Joshua b. Levi, a cabalistic dissertation on circumcision, a dissertation on gemaṭria and noṭariḳon, sixty-one decisions of Eliezer b. Nathan; forty-four decisions of Samson Zadok (TaShBeẒ), decisions of Isaac of Corbeil, and responsa of Perez ha-Kohen, decisions of Isaac Orbil, of the geonim Naṭronai, Hai Gaon, Amram Gaon, Nahshon Gaon, laws of the "miḳweh" taken from Perez's Sefer ha-Miẓwot, responsa, and finally the law of excommunication of Naḥmanides. For this reason it is quoted under the title of "Sefer ha-Liḳḳuṭim" in Abḳat Rokel, No. 13.
As to the author of the Kol Bo, there are different opinions; Joseph Caro, in saying that the words of the Kol Bo are identical with those of the Orḥot Ḥayyim of Aaron ben Jacob ha-Kohen (14th century), seems to have suggested that the Kol Bo is an abridgment of the Orḥot Ḥayyim. This is also the opinion of the Chida, and according to Aaron Schlitzstadt, the epitomizer was a certain Shemariah b. Simḥah, in the 14th century; others think that it was Joseph ben Tobiah of Provence. By some scholars it is attributed to a pupil of Perez ha-Kohen; by others it is identified with the "Sefer ha-Nayyar"; and by Gedaliah ibn Yaḥya it is attributed to Isaac ben Sheshet. Benjacob concluded that the author of the Kol Bo was Aaron ben Jacob ha-Kohen, author of the Orḥot Ḥayyim, and that the Kol Bo was an earlier form of the Orḥot. Its lack of system and the inadequacy of its authorities are due, Benjacob considers, to the youth of the author. Zunz refutes Benjacob's arguments, his opinion being that the Kol Bo is a compendium of the Orḥot Ḥayyim. The oldest edition bears neither place nor date, but Joseph Zedner conjectures that it was published at Naples in 1490; the second edition is dated "Constantinople, 1519".
Jewish Encyclopedia bibliography
- Azulai, Shem ha-Gedolim, ii.;
- Benjacob, Oẓar ha-Sefarim, p. 239;
- David Conforte, Ḳore ha-Dorot, p. 25b;
- Gross, in Monatsschrift, xviii. 444;
- Zunz, Ritus, pp. 32, 179-180;
- M. Schlesinger, in the introduction to his edition of Aaron ha-Kohen of Lunel's Orḥot Ḥayyim, Berlin, 1902.
- See Benjacob, Debarim 'Attiḳim, ii. 9.
- Gedaliah ibn Jechia the Spaniard, Shalshelet Ha-Kabbalah, Jerusalem 1962, p. 133 (Hebrew)
- Compare Sifte Yeshenim.
- Kerem Ḥemed, viii. 167 et seq.
- Ritus, p. 180.
- Cat. Hebr. Books Brit. Mus. p. 191.