Rabbi Joseph Buxbaum expresses thanks to Dr. Benjamin Richler, director of the Institute for the Microfilming of Hebrew Manuscripts of the Jewish National and Hebrew University Library, Jerusalem, to his colleague Dr. Ezra Shevat, and to other employees of the Institute for their help in the production of this book, as well as to all the libraries which permitted Machon Yerushalayim to make use of the manuscripts in their possession.
Rabbi Buxbaum also expresses thanks and appreciation to Shlomo Eisenberg and to the directors of the Eisenberg Family Fund for their friendship and financial support of the project for the publication of the responsa of early scholars, including the responsa of Rashba, in memory of their noble parents, Yitzhak and Ella Eisenberg, of blessed memory.
Rabbi Joseph Buxbaum’s foreword is followed by an introduction by the editors of the fifth volume. The editors of the fifth volume were the aforementioned Rabbi Aaron Zalasnik and Rabbi Aaron Eisenbach, who served also as editors of the first four volumes.
“In this volume we are fulfilling the pledge we made at the beginning of the first volume of the responsa of our master, which was published by Machon Or HaMizrah-Machon Yerushalayim in Jerusalem in 5757 (1997), to publish all the responsa of our master that have not yet appeared in print and are dispersed in different manuscripts, as well as such responsa which have a different form in manuscript than in print. We partly fulfilled our pledge by printing some of the responsa of our master which had been ascribed to Nachmanides. We corrected these on the basis of manuscripts and added to them much material,” the editors state in their introduction.
This declaration is followed by a description of 26 manuscripts which include responsa by Rashba and have been used by the editors in preparing the fifth volume of the new edition of the Rashba Responsa.
Some of these manuscripts should be mentioned here:
The Parma Manuscript: Written toward the end of the 13th century, it is the oldest manuscript of responsa by Rashba. The manuscript includes
responsa by the Geonim, responsa by Nachmanides, and responsa by Rashba.
The Paris, French National Library Manuscript: It includes responsa by the Geonim and by Rashba. Siman 331 in our volume was copied from it.
The Munich Manuscript: Italian script from the 15th century. Siman 32 in our volume is copied from it.
The Oxford Manuscript – Neubauer 2550: Sephardi script of the 14th and 15th centuries. Simanim 175-177 in our volume were copied from this manuscript.
The Vatican Manuscript: Simanim 227 and 228 in our volume were copied from there.
The Oxford Manuscript – Neubauer 2550 and 2240: Siman 366 in our volume was copied from there. For this Siman we also used the Budapest Manuscript, Kaufmann 298.
After enumerating the various manuscripts, the editors state that part of the responsa which were printed in the new (fifth) volume were printed in various forms in different collections and memorial volumes. Certain responsa were printed in Hiddushei U’Teshuvot HaRashba (Hotza’at Oraita) and in Rabbi S.Z. Havlin’s Teshuvot HaRashba.
As mentioned earlier, the fifth volume of the Rashba Responsa contains indices for all the volumes. The volume also features photographs of several manuscripts as well as a map of Spain showing the localities mentioned in the responsa.
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Correction: In last week’s column, at the end of the second paragraph, it should have stated: “(Rabbi Yehuda Zerahia Azulai, the corrector of the responsa of Radbaz, in the additions he wrote to the Responsa of Radbaz, Siman 2095).”