while the latter has neither. Sefer Óavakbuk is dated Adar
I, Massekhet Purim is dated Adar, suggestive of Adar II. The signatures also start anew in Sefer Óavakbuk. The
title page of Sefer Óavakbuk, lacking almost all of the
information one would expect there from experienced
printers, the colophon not withstanding, would seem to mitigate against the argument for a separate printing.
Composed by Kalonymus ben Kalonymus (c. 1286– These parodies have been the subject of rabbinic disap-c. 1328), this Purim parody in the form of a talmudic trac- proval, most notably by R. Samuel Aboab (1610–1694) tate was printed together with Sefer Óavakbuk ha-Navi, and R. Óayyim David Azulai (Óida, 1724–1806). The an anonymous parody of the biblical book Óabakkuk. former harshly condemns parody of the Talmud in his Within the top panel of the ﬂoral border of the ﬁrst title responsa, Devar Shemuel (Venice, 1702), no. 193. He page are the words “Megillat Setarim.” On the verso of prohibits them: the title page is Solomon ibn Gabirol’s humorous verse, Ki-Khelot Yeini. The colophon to the volume dates the
because of moshav latzim and they transgress because of “Do not turn to idols” (Leviticus 19:4), and one who
completion as 13 Adar I, in the year 5312 (February 8,
writes such works, who transcribes them, and it is not
necessary to mention those who print them cause the
Massekhet Purim is designed to read like a talmudic
multitude to sin, etc. . . . [the Torah] clothes itself in
treatise, with Gemara-like discussions on Mishnayot. Its
sackcloth and says “Thy children have made me as a harp
humor is meant to be harmless, mocking drunkards, glut-
upon which the scorners play” (Kallah 1:3).
tons, misers, and idlers. The text is divided into four chap-ters. The ﬁrst chapter deals with preparations for Purim: Israel Davidson, Parody in Jewish Literature (New York, 1907; reprint when they should begin, women’s duties in preparing for New York, 1966), pp. 19–29, 117; A. M. Habermann, The Printer the feast, and the twenty-four dish menu. The second Cornelio Adelkind, His Son Daniel and a List of Books Printed by Them
(Jerusalem, 1980), p. 88 nos. 8, 9 [Hebrew]; idem, “The Editions and
chapter concerns the quantities of food to be eaten and Prints of ‘Massekhet Purim,’” Areshet V (Jerusalem, 1960), p. 139 n.
drunk, and the last two chapters describe Purim customs 3 [Hebrew]; Marvin J. Heller, TheSixteenth Century Hebrew Book of thirteenth-century Italian Jewry, some of which are (Leiden, 2003); Meyer Waxman, A History of Jewish Literature, II otherwise unknown. For example, the text explains that (1933; reprint Cranbury, 1960), pp. 606–608. three pounds of meat should be served per plate, because a glutton once dived into a bowl of soup to determine the amount of meat it contained and almost drowned. Three pounds was deemed a su¥cient amount to be seen to avoid a repetition of this near tragedy. Discus-sions are between tannaim and amoraim with names such as R. Samòan (merry maker), Kamzan (miser), Kazvan (deceiver), and Shakran (liar). Massekhet Purim concludes with a humorous Hadran followed by:
. . . it was written in fun, to amuse people on Purim. One who reads it is none the worse than if he had read books on medicine and other topics that are beneﬁcial to the body but harmful to the soul.
Davidson suggests that Sefer Óavakbuk was printed a month earlier than Massekhet Purim, and some copies were simply bound together. He ﬁnds support for this position in the fact that the former has vowels and accents,
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