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נוסח אנגליה | The Nusaḥ of the Jews of England in 1287

The nusaḥ of the Jews of England before the expulsion is witnessed in a single text written by Jacob Jehudah Hazzan of London in 1287. The text is currently held in the collection of the library of the University of Leipzig. We are grateful to the library for making available to us a scan of just pages in the work containing the seder tefilot — something unavailable to its first transcriber (to which our digital edition is indebted). In April 1962, the former chief rabbi of the British Empire Israel Brodie published his transcription through Mossad haRav Kook, writing “The Etz Hayyim is the most notable and certainly the most voluminous of the literary productions of mediaeval Anglo-Jewry which have survived. It was written in 1287, three years before the Expulsion. The author of whom very little is known, wrote this comprehensive code of religious law based on the Mishneh Torah of Maimonides, on the Sefer Mitzvot Gedolot of Moses of Coucy and of many other rabbinic authorities some of whom are otherwise unknown. Included among his authorities are Talmudists — some of renown, who flourished in England. The Etz Hayyim appears to have been regarded as an authoritative source of Jewish Law, judging by references to it contained in works which will be listed in my full introduction. Though it was not quoted as frequently as other works of a similar nature, it takes its place among the Rishonim. David Kauffman in the Jewish Quarterly Review, Vol. IV, pages 20—63, 550—561, and Vol. V pages 353—374 gave a detailed description and appraisal of the Etz Hayyim. The full publication of the work, will, I am sure, provide scholars with additional and varied data which will justify the labour and time involved in its preparation and editing.” . . .

פסח | The Ritual of the Seder and the Agada of the English Jews Before the Expulsion.

Jacob b. Jehuda of London, the author of that valuable contribution to the literary side of Anglo-Jewish history, the Talmudical compendium Etz Chaim, so providentially rescued and preserved for us, never dreamt, when he noted down, in the year 1287, the Ritual and Agada of the Seder Nights according to English usage, that he was fixing a permanent picture of what was doomed to destruction, and was recording not a mere portion of the liturgy, but a page of Jewish history. Faithfully copying his great prototype, Maimonides, the English Chazan also embodied in his work the texts of the Recitations on the Seder Nights in the form customary among his countrymen, and appended the correlated rites according to Minhag England. . . .


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