TYPE: Book
ITEM ID: 2356
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Compendium of Jewish Ritual

DATE
Year: 1893
Decade: 1890s
Century: 19th (1801-1900)

Sarwasangraha – Compendium of Jewish Ritual. A collection of common benedictions and liturgies with interlinear Marathi translation for members of the Bene Israel community.

It is a Rosh Hashanah Machzor Prayerbook with the signature on free-end of Rabbi Yaakov Moshe Hillel, who grew up in Bombay. The title page states that it was printed with large letters according to the rite of the Sephardic Jews with the prayers of the Ari and from the book [Hemdat Yamim] with the glosses of R. Hayyim Modai and at the end bakashot of R. David Pardo and from the work Ozar Nehmad and with Hattorat Nedarim according to the custom of the Hasidim of Jerusalem. There are also prayers from R. Hayyim Joseph David Azulai (Hida).

The Arabic-speaking Jews in Bombay did not assimilate the language of their neighbors, Marathi, but carried their Judeo-Arabic language and literature with them and continued to regard Baghdad as their spiritual center. They therefore established their own synagogues, the Magen David in 1861 in Byculla, and the Kneseth Elijah in 1888 in the Fort quarter of Bombay. A weekly Judeo-Arabic periodical, Doresh Tov le-Ammo, which mirrored communal life, appeared from 1855 to 1866 Hebrew printing began in Bombay with the arrival of Yemenite Jews in the middle of the 19th century. They took an interest in the religious welfare of the Bene Israel, for whom – as well as for themselves – they printed various liturgies from 1841 onward, some with translations into Marathi, the vernacular of the Bene Israel. Apart from a shortlived attempt to print with movable type, all this printing was by lithography. In 1882, the Press of the Bombay Educational Society was established (followed in 1884 by the Anglo-Jewish and Vernacular Press, in 1887 by the Hebrew and English Press, and in 1900 by the Lebanon Printing Press), which sponsored the publication of over 100 Judeo-Arabic books to meet their liturgical and literary needs, and also printed books for the Bene Israel.

According to scholar Seth Schwartz, “It’s a prayer book with remarkable interlinear translation into–I don’t know but maybe Marathi? The owner identifies himself as ‘the youth Moshe Shelomo Avraham’.”

Scholar Michal Fargo noted, “There’s something written after the name of the owner. at first I thought it might be הי”ד meaning “may god avenge their blood”, but not sure about the last letter. I found this meaning: השם יחיהו וישמרהו meaning Hashem/god will give him life and keep him safe.”

Avi Gold, “Generally, Marathi is the go to language for bi-lingual Jewish liturgical texts from Bombay.”