Neil W. Netanel & David Nimmer, From Maimonides to Microsoft: The Jewish Law of Copyright Since the Birth of Print

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Neil W. Netanel & David Nimmer, From Maimonides to Microsoft: The Jewish Law of Copyright Since the Birth of Print (Oxford Univ. Press, forthcoming 2016)

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Chapter 6

From a Yiddish Bible to a German Prayer Book

I.The Yiddish Bible and the Council of Four Lands

Before relocating to Poland, Uri Fayvesh Halevi (1625–1715) had been a leading Ashkenazic publisher in Amsterdam and one of only two Jewish members of the Amsterdam Guild of Booksellers, Bookprinters, and Bookbinders. In 1670, at the height of Amsterdam’s dominance of the Jewish book trade, Fayvesh conceived a plan to publish the first ever complete Yiddish translation of the Hebrew Bible unaccompanied by the usual Hebrew text and commentaries.1 Fayvesh’s Yiddish Bible project took a tortuous path, replete with Christian financers, broken promises, failed partnerships, and litigation in Dutch secular and rabbinic courts. One failed partnership spawned a competing edition of the Yiddish Bible and, in turn, rival rabbinic reprinting bans and secular book privileges. As the saga of what became the two competing Yiddish Bibles vividly illustrates, even at the height of Amsterdam’s Jewish book trade, leading Jewish printers faced perilous financial risks, heavy dependency on Christian financing, and treacherous uncertainties of navigating among overlapping rabbinic and secular authorities in multiple jurisdictions.

To finance his Yiddish Bible project, Fayvesh joined with a silent business partner, Borrit Jansz Smit, a local Christian merchant-bookseller and a publisher of a 1662 edition of the Dutch Bible. On December 14, 1670, the two partners executed a written promise to pay Ḥaim b. Judah Leib of Pila, a Polish rabbi, one thousand guilders for R. Ḥaim to intercede on their behalf to obtain an approbation and reprinting ban from the Council of Four Lands for Fayvesh’s “Jewish German” edition of the Bible. The partners’ contract with R. Ḥaim provided that the Council’s haskama would be in Fayvesh’s name and that its reprinting ban would be of at least four years duration. Fayvesh wanted the Council’s reprinting ban as an assurance of exclusivity in his primary market, the Yiddish-speaking Ashkenazic communities of the Kingdom of Poland, spanning from Poznan to Bratzlav. While the elite rabbinic scholars and academies of Poland would have disdained a Yiddish Bible that did not contain the ancient Hebrew text, for the vast majority of East European Jews, including virtually all women, the Bible was directly accessible only in Yiddish. Fayvesh hoped that the Council of Four Land’s approbation and reprinting ban would assure him a large pool of potential buyers.

R. Ḥaim proceeded to obtain two haskamot from the Council of Four Lands, the first signed in Lublin on April 5, 1671, and the second on May 22, 1671, issued by Yitzḥak ben Avram of Posen during a meeting of the national council of great Poland. In many respects, the Council’s haskamot were exactly what Fayvesh and Smit wanted: the Council granted permission to print and distribute the Yiddish Bible and forbade anyone from printing or buying a competing edition for a period of ten years on pain of excommunication. But the Council’s haskamot were made out in favor of Fayvesh’s translator, Yekutiel Blitz, a rabbi who hailed from Witmund in northern Germany, rather than to Fayvesh himself. Fayvesh accordingly refused to pay R. Ḥaim until he obtained a corrected haskama made out to Fayvesh. In turn, R. Ḥaim refused to hand over the haskamot to Fayvesh. He finally did so in 1672, apparently after receiving full payment in return for his promise to obtain a corrected haskama, a promise that he apparently never carried out.

By the time Fayvesh had the Council’s haskamot in hand, the Dutch Republic was at war with England, France, and the Bishop of Munster and its economy was in turmoil. In the wake of those developments, Fayvesh and Smit went bankrupt, and Fayvesh’s Yiddish Bible project stagnated. When the hostilities and recession ended, they renewed their efforts to publish the Yiddish Bible, but they lacked sufficient financing for the expensive project. Accordingly, on February 10, 1674, they entered into a new contract for the printing of the Yiddish Bible with an additional Christian financial backer, Jan Otto van Van Halmael. Under that contract, Van Halmael was to provide financing to print the Yiddish Bible as well as some Hebrew books.

Soon thereafter, on various dates between October 28, 1674, and August 23, 1675, Fayvesh obtained haskamot from the Ashkenasic and Sephardic rabbinic leadership and lay councils of Amsterdam. The Amsterdam haskamot refer to the Council of Four Lands haskamot, which Fayvesh submitted to the Amsterdam rabbis and councils in support of his petition. And like the Council of Four Lands, the Amsterdam rabbis prohibited other Jewish printers from printing a Yiddish Bible for a period of ten years. Fayvesh also received a haskama, supporting those of the Amsterdam rabbis, from R. Meir Stern, whom Fayvesh had retained as his corrector. Stern’s haskama was given on the condition that all proofs must be submitted to him for correction before the edition went to press.2

Fayvesh’s printing of Yekutiel Blitz’s Yiddish translation began around January 1, 1675. It was supposed to be completed within a year, but by September 1675, less than half the initial print run had come off the press. Dissatisfied with the slow pace and quality of the printing, Van Halmael insisted on bringing yet another partner into the venture: the renowned Sephardic publisher, Joseph Athias, who had been the first Jew to gain membership in the Amsterdam Guild of Booksellers, Bookprinters, and Bookbinders. Athias specialized in books for the non-Jewish world; his Hebrew publications were limited to those that Uri Fayvesh did not publish. But Athias had already achieved great commercial success in publishing editions of the Hebrew Bible in English and Spanish, as well as a Hebrew edition with an introduction and annotations in Latin by the Christian Hebraicist, Johannes Leusden. Van Halmael hoped that Athias would bring his considerable acumen in such endeavors to publishing the Yiddish Bible.3

Athias also agreed to make a substantial financial contribution to the venture. He pledged to pay paper costs and printers’ wages up to a total of 12,000 guilders, of which he borrowed 5,000 guilders from Van Halmael. Newly-printed sheets were to be locked in a “neutral attic” for safekeeping and held as security for Athias’s financial contribution. No one but Athias and Van Halmael were to hold a key. The contract with Athias provided that Athias would receive one third of the net profits and that “around 6,300” copies of the Yiddish Bible would be printed.

That expanded partnership, too, was shortlived. By December 1675, Athias came to be so unhappy with the quality of certain newly-printed sheets that he suspended all payments, and all further printing, until Fayvesh corrected them. Apparently, the text had not been corrected after the first proof and was riddled with typographical errors. Unwilling to take on the cost of further corrections, Fayvesh charged that Van Halmael had harassed him into accepting a disadvantageous agreement and that Athias was now blocking work even under that agreement. Fayvesh threatened to treat the entire contract as null and void, which led Van Halmael and Athias to declare Fayvesh solely responsible for all consequences resulting from the rift. The partnership was official dissolved on February 6, 1676.

Athias then seized the printed sheets that had been deposited in the “neutral attic”and presented them in support his petition for an exclusive book privilege for the Yiddish Bible from the States of Holland and West Friesland. On March 18, 1676, the States issued their fifteen-year exclusive privilege to Athias for the “Old Testament printed in the High German language in Hebrew characters, never before printed this way; which publication had already advanced to the fourth book of Moses, as emerged from the leaves shown to us.” Armed with a book privilege under secular law, Athias and Van Halmael proceeded with their, now rival, edition of the Yiddish Bible. To complete the project, they hired a different translator, Joseph Witzenhausen, a typesetter from Witzenhausen in Hessen, Germany. They also hired away from Fayvesh the corrector and issuer of a haskama in favor of Fayvesh, R. Meir Stern.

Unwilling to cede the venture to his rivals, Fayvesh found yet another group of Christian investors. In April 1676, he entered into a publishing and financing contract with Willem Blaeu, an influential Amsterdam publisher and member of the city council, and the brothers Laurens and Justus Baeck, who were wealthy Amsterdam merchants. Under that contract, the Christian partners would provide the financial backing for the project, while Fayvesh would print the Yiddish Bible and obtain a book privilege from secular authorities to prevent a rival publication of a similar edition. Fayvesh would own one-quarter of the edition, but he could not sell his share until his financiers had sold theirs.

In an attempt to acquire a secular book privilege, Fayvesh and his new partners brought a lawsuit challenging the privilege that the States of Holland and West Friesland had already granted to Athias for the Yiddish Bible.4 They were unsuccessful. After prolonged litigation, the Dutch court apparently accepted Athias’ argument that Fayvesh had bungled the work. It was also convinced that, given Athias’ demonstrated record of success in publishing and selling Bibles, a Yiddish Bible published by Athias would have a much better chance of selling, notwithstanding the rabbinic approbations and reprinting bans that Fayvesh had obtained.

By October 1676, Fayvesh’s financial situation had greatly deteriorated. He was forced to cede title and control over his printing house to Willem Blaeu and Justus Baeck (Laurens had died), who had assumed Fayvesh’s debts. Fayvesh could recover his printing establishment, included his inventory and machinery, only if he repaid his financiers the principle sum of his debt to them, with interest, within one year.

Around this time, Fayvesh also petitioned the Ashkenazic rabbinic court of Amsterdam for a ruling prohibiting Athias’ translator, Joseph Witzenhausen, from continuing to prepare a Yiddish translation of the Bible in opposition to Fayvush’s haskamot. On October 13, 1676, the Ashkenazic rabbis granted Fayvush’s petition. Citing Fayvush’s ten-year rabbinic reprinting ban, they enjoined Witzenhausen from preparing a translation for printing by a certain third party, a thinly veiled reference to Athias.

In the meantime, to further secure the prospects of recovering their investment, Fayvush’s Christian partners, Blaeu and Baeck, petitioned King Jan Sobieski III of Poland for a privilege for the Yiddish Bible. Blaue and Blake were granted a twenty-year royal privilege for their “German Bible with Chaldean Characters,” on October 17, 1677. The privilege made no mention of Uri Fayvesh or his translator, Yekutiel Blitz.

By then, Van Halmael, who had been a partner with both Fayvesh and Athias, had abandoned his rights in both editions, apparently by selling the sheets in his possession to Favyesh’s new financier, Willem Blaeu. Athias, in turn, had a new financier of his own. Until 1672, Athias principal financier had been his paper merchant, Christoffel van Gangelt. But when Van Gangelt himself faced financial difficulties, he sold Athias’ outstanding loans to his son-in-law, Josephus Deutz. Under their agreement, Deutz was also to come into possession of all books that Athias had given to Van Gangelt as security for payment of his debt. These included the Athias’ Yiddish Bible. In an apparent oblique reference to Athias’ unbound copies, Deutz’s records mention the deposit of “6,000 and more High-German Bibles,” each worth three guilders, but still lacking the final sheets, for storage in his attic.

Finally, on September 21, 1677, and April 27, 1678, at its successive meetings at Jaroslaw and Lublin, the Council of Four Lands granted Joseph Athias a haskama prohibiting other printers from printing a Yiddish Bible for a period of sixteen years from the issuance of the haskama. The Council also prohibited any Jew from assisting in any such publication. In its haskama for Athias, the Council lauded Athias’s Yiddish Bible for making it possible for women and young children to learn the Torah during times of leisure in the only language they would understand, while men (the Council supposed) would still study in the “difficult and holy language of Hebrew.”

Athias’ haskama appears to stand in direct opposition to the reprinting ban that the Council had purportedly granted in favor of Fayvesh’s translator, Yekutiel Blitz, just three years earlier. Yet it makes no mention of that earlier haskama. Why would the Council so dramatically reverse course? It is possible that, as Athias charged, the haskamot obtained by R. Ḥaim of Pila on behalf of Uri Fayvesh were out and out forgeries and thus that R. Ḥaim was a swindler. However, that seems unlikely given subsequent laudatory references to R. Ḥaim’s character and his later involvement in the publishing and editing of Hebrew books. The ruling of the Ashkenazic rabbinic court of Amsterdam in Fayvesh’s favor also weighs against that possibility. It appears, rather, that the Council now regarded its earlier hakamot null and void because the Fayvesh/Blitz project had passed into Christian hands and, indeed, those Christians had petitioned the King of Poland for a secular privilege.5

The completed Fayvesh-Blitz Yiddish Bible was published in 1678. It bore the Council of Four Lands haskama that had been issued in Blitz’s name. But as Fayvesh printed it in his Yiddish Bible, the haskama purports to be issued in favor of Fayvesh, even if it still refers to the Blitz translation. Fayvesh, apparently, made that change on his own initiative. In his forward, he sought to explain that, as originally issued, the haskama “contained by mistake an incorrect name, as is attested in the judgments I have obtained from the Amsterdam geonim.” The Fayvesh-Blitz Bible was printed in some 6,000 copies.

The completed Athias-Witzenhausen Yiddish Bible was printed in 1679. It prominently displays the haskama that the Council of Four Lands awarded to Athias, and insists that Fayvesh’s Council of Four Lands haskama was a forgery. The Athias-Witzenhausen Bible also contains thirty-two pages of the translation that Yekutiel Blitz had prepared for Uri Fayvesh. Athias brazenly incorporated into his edition some of the sheets that had been deposited in the “neutral attic” during his partnership with Fayvesh.

Although Athias completed printing in 1679, few copies of his Bible were sold before 1686. It seems that Athias, seeing that most Amsterdam rabbis continued to support Fayvesh, initially decided to wait until the Amsterdam rabbis’ ten-year reprinting ban in favor of Fayvesh had expired before putting his print run on the market. In 1686, however, Deutch’s heirs began to sell their stock of Athias’ Yiddish Bible to retailers. In turn, Athias printed new title pages, dated 1687, for his unbound inventory, and prepared to place his copies on the market as well. Athias apparently hoped to sell his copies in Germany; his new title pages bore a Latin dedication to the Elector of Brandenburg dated 1687.6 But Athias was in such immediate need of cash that he soon offered his 3,000 Yiddish Bibles at auction in Amsterdam for a fraction of the original intended selling price.

Despite a large prospective readership, both editions of the Yiddish Bible were commercial flops. A number of factors contributed to this lack of commercial success. First, the combined 12,000 plus copies of the rival editions far exceeded what must have been the publishers’ estimate of market demand for the Bible’s first printing. Athias knew that Fayvesh and his partners intended to print some 6,300 copies. That was already a very large print run for that time, one expected to satisfy virtually all initial market demand for the Yiddish Bible.7 Athias nevertheless printed a like number of copies of his own edition. He apparently banked on the assumption that he could wrestle market exclusivity out of his Council of Four Lands reprinting bans and Dutch book privilege. Yet as it was, large numbers of both editions of the Yiddish Bible haunted Amsterdam book auctions until well into the eighteenth century.

Second, neither edition was well-suited to an Eastern European Jewish readership. The two translators, Blitz and Witzenhausen, were not great Hebrew scholars. Accordingly, in preparing their Yiddish translations, each made liberal use of Martin Luther’s German translation and of the standard Dutch translation of the Bible. Further, although it was then standard practice to employ West European Yiddish in printing books, the Fayvesh and Athias Bibles contain instances of a distinctly Dutch-Northern German dialect of Yiddish, leaving some passages incomprehensible to Jewish readers in Poland, although this is less the case for the Athias Bible since Athias hired the widely respected scholar, Shabbetai Bass of Prague, to correct Witzenhausen’s translation by eliminating words in use by Dutch Jews that would not be understood by Jews of other countries. Each Blitz and Witzenhausen also sought dramatically to reform the traditional practice of translating Biblical passages into Yiddish; rather than meticulously translating word for word from the Hebrew original into the canonized, archaic Yiddish vocabulary for the Pentateuch known as taytsch, they changed the syntax and paraphrased where they deemed it necessary to produce an idiomatic text. Here, too, Witzenhausen ultimately cleaved closer to the traditional Eastern European practice, but, especially since Athias’ Bible contained thirty-two pages that Athias had appropriated from Fayvesh, both Yiddish Bibles contained passages that would have appeared to their readership as unfamiliar and, possibly, inauthentic.8

Finally, the rival publishers might have been stymied by the conflicting privilege and reprinting bans they obtained. The privilege that Fayvesh’s Christian partners obtained from the King of Poland likely imposed a significant constraint on Athias’ efforts to export his Bibles into that country, as evidenced by Athias plans to sell his copies in Germany. In that regard, Fayvesh’s contract with a bookselling agent for the Polish market provided that the agent was to prevent “any Bibles of Christoffel van Gengelt and Josephus Deutz, printed by Athias here or elsewhere, from being imported and sold in Poland, but on the contrary make buyers and sellers pay the fines that had been specified by the aforesaid royal privilege.” At the same time, the Council of Four Lands reprinting ban in favor of Athias might have severely hindered Fayvesh and his partners in selling their Bibles to Polish Jews, even if we have record that some copies of Fayvesh’s edition – which, after all, bore the Council’s purported haskama in favor of Fayvesh -- were sold in Poland.

* * * * *

As the story of the rival Yiddish bibles makes vividly clear, Jewish publishers faced perilous market uncertainty and heavy dependence on Christian financing, even at the apex of Hebrew and Yiddish printing in Amsterdam. Further, the need to obtain reprinting bans for each title from both the Council of Four Lands and the Amsterdam rabbis and to hire agents for book sales in Poland-Lithuania made the Hebrew and Yiddish book industry all the more precarious. For that reason – and, no doubt, others, Uri Fayvesh relocated to Poland, where he established a new printing house in Zolkiew in 1692 with a privilege from King Jan Sobieski III and the support of the Council of Four Lands. In Poland, as we saw in the last Chapter, the Council strictly regulated competition in the Hebrew book trade to ensure that Fayvesh would enjoy a steady market for his books.

The Fayvesh-Athias dispute also sheds light on both the power and the limitations of the Council of Four Lands in the second half of the seventeenth century, a time at which the Council’s influence was near its height. When Fayvesh and Athias published Hebrew and Yiddish texts, the Jewish community of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth was the largest in the world. Any significant publication that sought to reach that market required a haskama containing at least an approbation from the Council of Four Lands. And we see from the example of the Yiddish bibles that a Council haskama was perceived as a necessity not only for foundational rabbinic texts studied in yeshivot, but also for liturgical works in Yiddish aimed at a broad readership. At the same time, Jewish publishers in the centers of Hebrew printing in the Netherlands and Germany also regularly sought complementary haskamot from their local rabbinic authorities.9 They needed a set of rabbinic approbations and, preferably, reprinting bans in the jurisdiction where they produced their work even if their primary market was elsewhere, in the vast territory governed by the Council of Four Lands.

Jewish publishers also sought privileges from secular rulers, although these were more commonly obtained from authorities in the place the book was printed, not from the King of Poland. In the relatively unusual case in which the King of Poland issued a royal privilege for a book marketed by the Christian partners of a Jewish publisher, that privilege coexisted with any reprinting ban issued by the Council of Four Lands. As we see from the Fayvesh-Athias case, the Council asserted the authority to issue a reprinting ban in favor of the rival of the printer who had obtained a privilege from the King of Poland. Of course, the Council could not countermand the royal privilege. But neither was the Council cowed by the contrary royal privilege issued to Fayvesh’s Christian backers. Significantly, the king’s power was itself circumscribed by the powerful Polish nobility, many of whom were protectors of Jews’ communal autonomy in their respective territories. Hence, at the height of its power, the Council operated with authority over Jewish book distribution that, de facto, overlapped with that of secular powers, rather than being entirely subservient to those powers.

* * * *

A century later, however, that relative communal autonomy under the broad umbrella of the Council of Four Lands was no more. Plagued by increasing debt and division among its constituent local and regional councils, the Council of Four Lands met irregularly during the first half of the eighteenth century.10 Then, on June 1, 1764, the Council was abolished by the Polish Sejm in a measure designed primarily to make tax collection more efficient by removing the mediation of an autonomous body that had expended some of the revenue that it collected to serve the internal needs of Jewish self-governance. Henceforth, taxes and other legal duties would fall directly on each individual Jewish subject, without the intermeddling of a communal authority that had acted as a buffer between Jewish subjects and the state.11

Shortly thereafter – and with even more monumental ramifications for the Jewish community, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth was itself dismembered. Following three successive partitions, the first in 1772 and the last in 1775, the Commonwealth disappeared as an independent state. The heartland of European Jewry was now divided among the territories annexed by the Russian Empire, Austrian Empire, and Kingdom of Prussia.

The significance for Polish-Lithuanian Jewry was not merely that it no longer answered to the same overarching secular regime. Rather the partition of Poland also heralded the end of the semi-sovereign communal autonomy that had been central to European Jewish life throughout the medieval and early modern eras. Seventeenth-century Polish and Lithuanian Jewish communities had operated within a so-called “democracy of the nobility,” characterized by a considerable dispersion of power among feudal magnates and the crown. Although magnates and kings cabined the juridical autonomy of Jewish lay and rabbinical councils to varying degrees, the rights of residence that they granted to Jews generally guaranteed the juridical authority of rabbinic courts and communal governing councils, backed, if need be, by the pertinent secular power. Polish rulers were also dependent on Jewish governing bodies to collect taxes and manage internal affairs.12 But by the end of the eighteenth century, that solicitude towards Jewish communal autonomy had evaporated, together with the “democracy of the nobility” that anchored it – continuing a process begun by the Polish Sejm’s abolition of the Council of Four Lands in 1764. In both the partitioned territories of former Poland and elsewhere, the vast bulk of European Jewry now lived under monarchies that aspired to far more centralized administration and control, and which fluctuated between enlightened and reactionary absolutism.13

Beginning in the late eighteenth century, those monarchies, together with the various states and principalities of Germany and the territories conquered by Napolean, systematically dismantled the juridical authority of Jewish community councils and rabbinic courts. They also eradicated rabbinic and lay authorities’ primary tool of enforcement, the ḥerem, by either forbidding rabbis from issuing such a decree or sharply limiting its use. Joseph II of Austria’s Edicts of Toleration (Toleranzpatente), issued and applied in successive stages to Bohemia, Silesia, Vienna and lower Austria, Moravia, Hungary, and Galicia between 1781 and 1789, formed a model for those decrees. Alongside provisions restricting Jews to “productive” occupations, requiring secular education, and compulsory military service, all designed to transform Jews into “useful subjects,” the Edicts abolished the juridical autonomy of the Jewish community councils in civil and criminal matters and eliminated rabbis’ authority to adjudicate civil cases between Jews. They also prohibited the excommunication of those who flouted rabbinic decrees, the sole exception being the rabbis’ authority to order ḥerem for failure to pay taxes, a vestigial rabbinic power that redounded to the benefit of the royal treasury.14

In Prussia, the 1797 General Regulation for Jews in South and New Eastern Prussia expressly abrogated rabbis’ judicial authority in civil and religious matters. It also provided that no Jew could be punished for any offense he might commit against Jewish belief or ritual law within his own home. The Emancipation Edict of 1812 reiterated the prohibition against Jewish communal authorities, rabbis, or community elders assuming any form of legal jurisdiction.15

In Russia, the statute of 1804 abolished the exclusive jurisdiction of rabbinic courts in civil cases between Jews, providing that Jews “must in all lawsuits have recourse to the general courts.” It also forbade rabbis from imposing ḥerem or similar coercive measures. Jewish lay councils – the last vestige of juridical Jewish community autonomy – were formally abolished in the Kingdom of Poland (a Russian protectorate established by the Congress of Vienna in 1815) in 1822 and in the Polish territories that had been directly absorbed into the Russian Empire in 1844.16

As we will now see, by the early nineteenth century, rabbis called upon to adjudicate disputes among printers of Jewish liturgical and rabbinic texts had to grapple with this stark new reality. As precarious as was the Hebrew book trade when Uri Fayvesh and Joseph Athias were in business, they could at least look to the Council of Four Lands to establish printing rights in the major market for Hebrew and Yiddish books and to exert great influence elsewhere. But nineteenth century publishers and rabbis faced Jewish communities divided among different sovereign authorities – monarchies that imposed import barriers on Hebrew books and abolished Jewish communal autonomy together with rabbis’ state-backed authority to adjudicate civil cases between Jews and enforce rabbinic decrees through excommunication. These developments had a profound impact on Jewish life and – of particular relevance here – Jewish copyright law.

II. Sefer Krovot, the “Roedelheim Maḥzor”

In the early nineteenth century, a set of holiday prayer books, entitled Sefer Krovot, but commonly known as the “Roedelheim maḥzor,” became the subject of reprinting disputes that reached across the borders of German free cities and principalities into both the Habsburg Empire and the Kingdom of Prussia. The disputes erupted at the cusp of the monumental changes that brought the medieval and early modern governing institutions of European Jewry to an end. Signficantly, when the Roedelheim maḥzor was first printed – in Roedelheim, a small town on the outskirts of Frankfurt am Main, Jewish councils and rabbis still enjoyed juridical authority and autonomy, including the power of excommunication, in most of Germany. By contrast, the Habsburg Empire and Kingdom of Prussia – the sites of the subject reprintings of the Roedelheim maḥzor without its author’s permission -- had already abolished those institutional prerogatives.

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