Auction 92 Part 2 Rare and Important Manuscripts and Items of the Gross Family Collection

Illustrated Manuscript – Pinkas of the Shoemakers' Synagogue – Eastern Europe, 1829/1830

Opening: $6,000
Estimate: $8,000 - $12,000
Sold for: $8,125
Including buyer's premium

Illustrated manuscript, Pinkas of the Ner Tamid society – shoemakers' synagogue. [Eastern Europe, 1829/1830].
Ink and paint on thick, high-quality paper, with many illustrations.
The title page states: "This Pinkas belongs to the Ner Tamid society in the shoemakers' synagogue, in this merit they shall be worthy of lighting candles in the Temple, speedily in our times" (chronogram indicating the year 5530 – 1829/1830).
Leaves 2-3 were set aside for inscribing the names of the society members. The first two pages indeed contain a handwritten list of names (in a different hand to that of the scribe).
The following leaves contain the society's regulations – a poetic, partially rhyming text. The rest of the Pinkas is mostly empty.
The manuscript includes ornaments and decorative borders, some of which are colored in red, green, brown and yellow. Four pages are framed in architectural borders (leaves 1 and 6), one page features a medallion in a rectangular ornamented border (p. 2a) and another seven pages are framed with rectangular borders in various patterns (pp. 2b-5b). The architectural borders depict an arch resting on a pair of pillars, surmounted by a pair of lions, langued (in the first two borders) and a pair of unicorns (in the last two borders); surrounded by foliate and floral designs. On p. 1b, a large oil jug is seen between the pillars, with a seven-branched candelabra decorated with knobs and flowers.
The purpose of the Ner Tamid society was to provide oil for lighting up the synagogue. One of its customs was to arrange a special meal every year for all its members. Four times a year, on the Shabbatot where lights are mentioned in the Torah reading (Shabbat Chanukah, and Parashiot Tetzaveh, Emor and Behaalotecha), the honors for the Torah reading were reserved for the members of the society. Such societies were established in various communities in Europe, as stated on the final leaf: "The mitzvah of Ner Tamid is a very great mitzvah… the dividends of which a person enjoys in this world, while the principle reward is saved for him for the World to Come. Hence, Ner Tamid societies were established in Jewish communities…".

6 leaves (12 written and decorated pages), and some 45 more blank leaves. 27 cm. Good condition. Stains and wear. Original leather binding, with embossed decorations, damaged.

Exhibition: La Menorà, culto, storia e mito (curators: A. Di Castro, F. Leone, A. Nesselrath), Vatican Museum, 2017. See exhibition catalog, p. 274.
Provenance: The Gross Family Collection, Tel Aviv, EE.011.029.

Pinkasim – Communities and Societies