A Nineteenth-Century Manuscript for the Sefirah Counting

May 20, 2022
Louis Meiselman

Penn Libraries' Rare Judaica Cataloging Librarian examines a manuscript in the Alfonso Cassuto Collection. 

A photograph of a 19th-century book. The left page has typeset Hebrew, while the right has some staining of the Hebrew lettering from the opposite page. The right side also bears the signature of Moses Buzaglo.

A manuscript for the Sefirah counting recently cataloged in the Alfonso Cassuto Collection dates from 1839; it was written by Salamaõ Attias for Moses Buzaglo in Ponta Delgada.

photograph of yellowed page with cursive handwriting with the date 1839This municipality is located on the São Miguel Island in the Azores, a North Atlantic archipelago of volcanic islands governed by Portugal. The Jewish community was founded in the beginning of the nineteenth century, when a number of Moroccan Jews relocated to the São Miguel Island.

This Sefirah calendar was written for one of the members of the community, perhaps the hazzan of the synagogue, to count the Omer daily in the Hebrew liturgical formulation. Every count is accompanied by a translation note in Portuguese; these were meant either as accompaniments to the Hebrew text, or perhaps as announcements in the synagogue every evening during the 49 days of the Counting of the Omer.

View the catalog record here.


photograph of bookplate with the text "Biblioteca Alfonso Cassuto"



About the Author

Louis Meiselman

Louis Meiselman

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