The People in the Books: Hebraica and Judaica Manuscripts from Columbia University Libraries

Communities > Fire in Salonika


DAVID BEN JUDAH, HE-HASID (ca. 1240-ca. 1320).
Alef bet shel Rabi ʻAḳiva.
Manuscript in Hebrew on paper.
17th century
MS X893 K13
Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Salonika, for many years a center of Greek Jewish scholarship, contained many libraries with important collections of Jewish books. On May 17, 1734, a terrible fire raged through Thessaloniki (Salonika). The first leaf of this manuscript describes the death and devastation the ancient Salonika Jewish community experienced in the fire. Many books burned in the 1734 fire; the book this manuscript is attached to, the kabbalistic Alef bet shel Rabi ‘Akiva, survived the great fire of Salonika.

Gift of Congregation Temple Emanu-El, 1892.



Alef bet shel Rabi ʻAḳiva: First leaf


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