In a previous post we established that the Megillah as it appeared in the Keter Aram Tzovah had both Parashiot Petuhot and Setumot. The same is true of the Leningrad Codex. Here is a facsimile copy of the first two pages of the Megillah as it appears in the original Leningrad Codex. You may "click" on all the following pictures in order to enlarge.
As we all know our current custom is to write the Megillah in its entirety with closed parashot. When seeing the above, one must ask the question: How is it that such a change came about? I have no answers, but have decided to share a bit of my cursory investigation with you.
The oldest documented text alluding to the writing of the Megillah with all of the parashot Setumot (as per our custom today) is from Maharam from Rothenburg who lived in the 1200's in Germany. Here is a printed copy of his halakhot for the Megillah. Does any one know if there is a manuscript copy of the Maharam's Halakhot or his Hagahot Maimoniyot? I'd like to see that instead of a printed copy as it appears in our current texts.
|*Maharam of Rothenburg -All parashot must be SETUMOT|
For some reason, we always assume that writing the Megillah with parashot Setumot has always been our custom, especially in Ashkenaz. However, a cursory investigation of some of our more ancient documented sources reveals a different reality. One of the oldest manuscript copies of the Mahzor Vitry, written by R. Simha b. Shemuel of Vitry, a colleague of Rashi, in the 1100's documents for us the parashot as they should appear in the Megillah, in addition to other writing details. For some reason, I was not able to see this in more modern reproductions of the Mahzor.
|Mahzor Vitry - Parashot Petuchot|
Because of the quality of the facsimile reproduction, it is hard to make out the above text, however I have highlighted to the best of my ability (in red) where the Mahzor Vitry instructs us to write certain Parashot as PETUCHOT. I also, tried to look into the Mahzor Worms, where Maharam lived, however, no such documentation appears there.
I did however find the full text of the Megillah in the Mahzor Nuremberg. This Mahzor was written in the early 1300's about 30 years after the passing of the Maharam. In contrast to the Mahzor Vitry which documents the Western European tradition, the Mahzor Nuremberg documents that of Eastern Europe. I have pictures of the entire section of the Megillah but it is too voluminous to post on this forum.
|Mahzor Nuremberg - 1331|
As we can see from the above, in Europe, the Megillah was also written with open and closed parashot and in consonance with the Tiberian tradition. What ever happened that led to a change needs to be further researched.