Rabbinical tales

This is a large, complicated manuscript written in different hands, on different types of paper between the 16th and 18th centuries. It was probably put together in Iran as edifying reading, or as sermon illustrations for preachers. It contains short tales about the Rabbis in Hebrew, Judeo-Persian and Aramaic, many derived from classic Rabbinic texts, but others of unknown origin.

The manuscript shows how Gaster’s collecting served his scholarship. He used this manuscript as the basis for his collection of Jewish folktales, The Exempla of the Rabbis (1924). He worked on the manuscript at a time when his eyesight was deteriorating, and this probably accounts for numerous miscopyings in the printed text.  

Collection of rabbinical tales

Persia (today Iran), 16th-18th century
Gaster Hebrew MS 66
Folio 1a from Gaster Hebrew MS 66, featuring Gaster's signature twice in the margins.

Gaster’s stamps with his signature in the margins.

Folio 114a from Gaster Hebrew MS 66.

Text copied from the title page of the 1554 Ferrara edition of the midrash collection Ḥibur ha-maʾaśiyot ṿeha-midrashim ṿeha-hagadot (The Book of tales, sermons and legends).

Folio 136b from Gaster Hebrew MS 66.

Beginning of the Maʿaśim ʾal ʿaśeret ha-dibrot (Tales on the Ten Commandments).