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

Life-Cycle > Funeral arrangements


Ḥuke ḥayim ḥelek rishon Mayim Tehorim.
Manuscript in Hebrew and Judeo-German on paper.
France, 1813.
MS X893 J559
Rare Book and Manuscript Library

This book from Strasbourg, France details the laws and customs of ritually purifying a dead body for burial. While the traditional prayers are written in Hebrew, as they would have been recited, the laws and instructions are written in Judeo-German.  Judeo-German was the Jewish vernacular in Strasbourg, which was distinct for its blend of French and German language and culture.  Members of the local burial society would have referred to this book while performing their careful funeral preparations.  The book also includes the precise law for exceptional cases, such as what to do when a community member dies on a religious holiday.

Gift of Messers Benjamin Stern and Charles A. Dunn.





Ḥuḳe ḥayim: Title page.


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