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TANYA:

Collection of ritual laws and customs, published first at Mantua, 1514, then at Cremona, 1565, and later in two other editions. The epigraph of the Mantua edition reads as follows: '"Minhag Abot Sefer Tanya' was terminated in the month of Siwan, 5074 of Creation" (= 1314). This is interpreted by Dukes ("Orient, Lit." v. 219), to mean that the work was originally called "Minhag Abot" and that it was composed in 1314. Buber (introduction to his edition of "Shibbole ha-Leḳeṭ."), however, proves that 1314 is a misprint for 1514, which is the date of the first edition. Steinschneider supposes that the '"Minhag Abot" mentioned by Abraham ha-Levi in his treatise "Ha-Hora'ah (see Oẓar Netiniad," ii. 152) is the same as "Tanya." This book is arranged in the same way as the "Shibbole ha-Leḳeṭ," which, as well as its author, Zedekiah ben Abraham, is often quoted. The author of the "Tanya," besides, frequently cites as his teachers Benjamin b. Abraham (Zedekiah's brother) and Judah b. Benjamin; and in certain places the expression "I, Jehiel the scribe," is found. These details gave rise to a discussion among different authorities as to the authorship of the book, which is variously ascribed to Judah b. Benjamin, to a pupil of his, and to Jehiel b. Asher b. Jekuthiel.

Among the opinions of modern scholars that of Osias Schorr may be mentioned, namely, that the "Tanya" is simply a copy of the "Shibbole ha-Leḳeṭ," called "Tanya" after its initial word, but written in such a way as to make it appear the copyist's own composition; e.g., in many places Schorr declares the copyist ascribes this or that to the "Shibbole ha-Leḳeṭ." to make it appear that he took only so much from that work. Where the author of the "Shibbole" refers to "my brother Benjamin" the copyist of the "Tanya" omits the words "my brother." The copyist for the most part confined his attention to the Law, neglecting the customs. He also added extracts from Maimonides' "Yad."

Bibliography:
  • Azulai, Shem ha-Gedolim;
  • Benjacob, Oẓar ha-Sefarim, p. 657, No. 660;
  • Conforte, Ḳore ha-Dorot, p. 21a;
  • Schorr, in Ẓiyyon, i. 147-148;
  • idem, in He-Ḥaluẓ, i. 103-105;
  • Steinschneider, Cat. Bodl. col. 2771.
W. B. M. Sel.
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